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

Whenever I hear work ethics I interpret inefficient mediocrity.

Work hard, not in grunt work, but in chasing such opportunities and maximizing exposure to them. This makes living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters-you gain exposure to the envelope of serendipity.

You have a real life if and only if you do not compete with anyone in any of your pursuits.

You're alive in inverse proportion to the density of the phrases you use in your writings

true humility is when you can surprise yourself more than others; the rest is either shyness or good marketing

We are fragilizing social and economic systems by denying them stressors and randomness, putting them in the Procrustean bed of cushy and comfortable?but ultimately harmful?modernity.

We favor the sensational and the extremely visible. This affects the way we judge heroes. There is little room in our consciousness for heroes who do not deliver visible results?or those heroes who focus on process rather than results.

We need tricks to get us there but before that we need to accept the fact that we are mere animals in need of lower forms of tricks, not lectures.

What America does best is produce the ability to accept failure.

What we need to do is break the financial community's grip on society.

Whenever you hear a snotty (and frustrated) European middlebrow presenting his stereotypes about Americans, he will often describe them as uncultured, unintellectual, and poor in math because, unlike his peers, Americans are not into equation drills and the constructions middlebrows call high culture?like knowledge of Goethe?s inspirational (and central) trip to Italy, or familiarity with the Delft school of painting. Yet the person making these statements is likely to be addicted to his iPod, wear blue jeans, and use Microsoft Word to jot down his cultural statements on his PC, with some Google searches here and there interrupting his composition. Well, it so happens that America is currently far, far more creative than these nations of museumgoers and equation solvers. It is also far more tolerant of bottom-up tinkering and undirected trial and error. And globalization has allowed the United States to specialize in the creative aspect of things, the production of concepts and ideas, that is, the scalable part of the products, and, increasingly, by exporting jobs, separate the less scalable components and assign them to those happy to be paid by the hour.

Writers are remembered for their best work, politicians for their worst mistakes, and businessmen are almost never remembered.

You have family-owned businesses that have been around for 500 years. You cannot name a corporation that survives intact for even a few decades.

True, the Web produces acute concentration. A large number of users visit just a few sites, such as Google, which, at the time of this writing, has total market dominance. At no time in history has a company grown so dominant so quickly?Google can service people from Nicaragua to southwestern Mongolia to the American West Coast, without having to worry about phone operators, shipping, delivery, and manufacturing. This is the ultimate winner-take-all case study. People forget, though, that before Google, Alta Vista dominated the search-engine market. I am prepared to revise the Google metaphor by replacing it with a new name for future editions of this book.

We are not made to view things as independent from each other. When viewing two events A and B, it is hard not to assume that A causes B, B causes A, or both cause each other. Our bias is immediately to establish a causal link.

We favor the visible, the embedded, the personal, the narrated, and the tangible; we scorn the abstract.

We notice what varies and changes more than what plays a large role but doesn?t change. We

What Erasmus called ingratitudo vulgi, the ingratitude of the masses, is increasing in the age of globalization and the Internet.

When a woman screaming that what you did was unforgivable, he has already begun to forgive

While in the past people of rank or status were those and only those who took risks, who had the downside for their actions, and heroes were those who did so for the sake of others, today the exact reverse is taking place. We are witnessing the rise of a new class of inverse heroes, that is, bureaucrats, bankers, Davos-attending members of the I.A.N.D. (International Association of Name Droppers), and academics with too much power and no real downside and/or accountability. They game the system while citizens pay the price.

Writing is the art of repeating oneself without anyone noticing.

You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.

Try the following experiment. Go to the airport and ask travelers en route to some remote destination how much they would pay for an insurance policy paying, say, a million tugrits (the currency of Mongolia) if they died during the trip (for any reason).Then ask another collection of travelers how much they would pay for insurance that pays the same in the event of death from a terrorist act (and only a terrorist act). Guess which one would command a higher price? Odds are that people would rather pay for the second policy (although the former includes death from terrorism). The psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky figured this out several decades ago.

We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck, a remote event, a chance occurrence of monstrous proportions.

We flipped a coin to see who was going to pay for the meal. I lost and paid. He was about to thank me when he abruptly stopped and said that he paid for half of it probabilistically.

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"