Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas

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

Author Quotes

We tend to treat our knowledge as personal property to be protected and defended. It is an ornament that allows us to rise in the pecking order...we take what we know a little too seriously.

What makes life simple is that the robust and anti-fragile don?t have to have as accurate a comprehension of the world as the fragile.

When you ask people, 'What's the opposite of fragile?,' they tend to say robust, resilient, adaptable, solid, strong. That's not it. The opposite of fragile is something that gains from disorder.

Wit seduces by signaling intelligence without nerdiness.

You can tell how uninteresting a person is by asking him whom he finds interesting.

You want failures to be small and informational. Silicon Valley does very well. It knows how to use failure as a tool for improvement.

To succeed in life requires a total inability to do anything that makes you uncomfortable when you look at yourself in the mirror.

Using, as an excuse, others' failure of common sense is in itself a failure of common sense.

We can simplify the relationships between fragility, errors, and anti-fragility as follows. When you are fragile, you depend on things following the exact planned course, with as little deviation as possible?for deviations are more harmful than helpful. This is why the fragile needs to be very predictive in its approach, and, conversely, predictive systems cause fragility. When you want deviations, and you don?t care about the possible dispersion of outcomes that the future can bring, since most will be helpful, you are anti-fragile.

We ingest probiotics because we don?t eat enough dirt anymore.

We tend to use knowledge as therapy.

What Mother Nature does is rigorous until proven otherwise; what humans and science do is flawed until proven otherwise.

When you beat up someone physically, you get exercise and stress relief; when you assault him verbally on the Internet, you just harm yourself.

With @EmanuelDerman before our lectures making snide comments trying to confuse the speaker while looking serious.

You don't become completely free by just avoiding being a slave; you also need to avoid becoming a master.

You want to be yourself, idiosyncratic; the collective (school, rules, jobs, technology) wants you generic to the point of castration.

To understand how something works, figure out how to break it.

Verba volent, words fly. Never have people who talk and don?t do been more visible, and played a larger role, than in modern times. This is the product of modernism and division of tasks. Recall that I said that America?s

We cannot truly plan, because we do not understand the future--but this is not necessarily a bad news. We could plan while bearing in mind such limitations. It just takes guts.

We know a lot more what is wrong than what is right.

We would not even need a statistician; a second-rate engineer would do.

What organized dating sites fail to understand is that the people are far more interesting in what they don't say about themselves.

When you develop your opinions on the basis of weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new

With a Latin saying that sophistication is born out of hunger (artificia docuit fames).

You exist fully if and only if your conversation (or your scripts) cannot be easily reconstructed with clippings from other conversations

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