Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas
Taleb
1960

Lebanese-American Essayist, Scholar, Statistician, Former Trader and Risk Analyst, Author of "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable"

Author Quotes

A good book gets better at the second reading. A great book at the third. Any book not worth rereading isn't worth reading.

A Stoic is a Buddhist with attitude, one who says f*** you to fate.

A good maxim allows you to have the last word without even starting a conversation.

A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.

A good rule of thumb is as follows: If the numbers come from somebody wearing a tie (Wall Street economist or analyst, industry public relations department, captive think tank academic and so on), you ought to be very skeptical. By design messages from these people are intended to move markets, move merchandise and/or move public policy and are not a comment on the state of the physical universe.

A system, artificially stabilized, and of course you have hidden risks under the surface, and you don't know where the risks are.

A half-man (or, rather, half-person) is not someone who does not have an opinion, just someone who does not take risks for it.

A theory is a very dangerous thing to have.

A king, angry at his son, swore that he would crush him with a large stone.

A turkey is fed for a thousand days by a butcher; every day confirms to its staff of analysts that butchers love turkeys with increased statistical confidence.

A lesson I learned from this ancient culture is the notion of megalopsychon (a term expressed in Aristotle?s ethics), a sense of grandeur that was superseded by the Christian value of humility. There is no word for it in Romance languages; in Arabic it is called Shhm?best translated as nonsmall. If you take risks and face your fate with dignity, there is nothing you can do that makes you small; if you don?t take risks, there is nothing you can do that makes you grand, nothing.

A verbal threat is the most authentic certificate of impotence.

A life saved is a statistic; a person hurt is an anecdote. Statistics are invisible; anecdotes are salient.

A very intelligent group of revolutionary fellows in the United Kingdom created a political movement called the Fabian Society, named after the Cunctator, based on opportunistically delaying the revolution. The society included George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Ramsay MacDonald, and even Bertrand Russell for a moment. In retrospect, it turned out to be a very effective strategy, not so much as a way to achieve their objectives, but rather to accommodate the fact that these objectives are moving targets. Procrastination turned out to be a way to let events take their course and give the activists the chance to change their minds before committing to irreversible policies. And of course members did change their minds after seeing the failures and horrors of Stalinism and similar regimes.

Author Picture
First Name
Nassim Nicholas
Last Name
Taleb
Birth Date
1960
Bio

Lebanese-American Essayist, Scholar, Statistician, Former Trader and Risk Analyst, Author of "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable"