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

Owing to... misunderstanding of the causal chains between policy and actions, we can easily trigger Black Swans thanks to aggressive ignorance?like a child playing with a chemistry kit.

Political life loves some volatility.

randomness in the end is just unknowledge. The world is opaque and appearances fool us

Remember this maxim: I am not saying that the technologies do not age, but only that the technologies that tended to age are already dead.

Since procrastination is a message from our natural willpower via low motivation, the cure is changing the environment, or one?s profession, by selecting one in which one does not have to fight one?s impulses. Few can grasp the logical consequence that, instead, one should lead a life in which procrastination is good, as a naturalistic-risk-based form of decision making.

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty.

Suckers try to win arguments, non-suckers try to win.

The author cites researcher David Howard's idea of post-traumatic growth. Howard contends that some individuals faced with a traumatic event actually develop new strength.

The central problem is that birds rarely write more than ornithologists.

The fact that people in countries with cold weather tend to be harder working, richer, less relaxed, less amicable, less tolerant of idleness, more (over) organized and more harried than those in hotter climates should make us wonder whether wealth is mere indemnification, and motivation is just overcompensation for not having a real life.

The inability to predict outliers implies the inability to predict the course of history

The overlap between newspapers was so large that you would get less and less information the more you read. Yet everyone was so eager to become familiar with every fact that they read every freshly printed document and listened to every radio station as if the great answer was going to be revealed to them in the next bulletin. People

The same past data can confirm a theory and its exact opposite! If you survive until tomorrow, it could mean that either a) you are more likely to be immortal or b) that you are closer to death.

The very idea of exercise is to gain from anti-fragility to workout stressors?as we saw, all kinds of exercise are just exploitations of convexity effects.

There is a simple test to define path dependence of beliefs (economists have a manifestation of it called the endowment effect). Say you own a painting you bought for $20,000, and owing to rosy conditions in the art market, it is now worth $40,000. If you owned no painting, would you still acquire it at the current price? If you would not, then you are said to be married to your position. There is no rational reason to keep a painting you would not buy at its current market rate?only an emotional investment. Many people get married to their ideas all the way to the grave. Beliefs are said to be path dependent if the sequence of ideas is such that the first one dominates.

They think that intelligence is about noticing things that are relevant (detecting patterns); in a complex world, intelligence consists in ignoring things that are irrelevant (avoiding false patterns).

This makes living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters ? you gain exposure to the envelope of serendipity.

One single observation can invalidate a general statement derived from millennia of confirmatory sightings of millions of white swans. All you need is one single (and, I am told, quite ugly) black bird.*

Paris itself was barely controlled by France?no more than the Rio slums called favelas are currently ruled by the Brazilian central state.

Popper introduced the mechanism of conjectures and refutations, which works as follows: you formulate a (bold) conjecture and you start looking for the observation that would prove you wrong.

Randomness works well in search?sometimes better than humans.

respect for the weak being, after intellectual courage, the second most attractive quality to this author,

Since the Enlightenment, in the great tension between rationalism (how we would like things to be so they make sense to us) and empiricism (how things are), we have been blaming the world for not fitting the beds of rational models, have tried to change humans to fit technology, fudged our ethics to fit our needs for employment, asked economic life to fit the theories of economists, and asked human life to squeeze into some narrative.

Somehow it is only when you don?t care about your reputation that you tend to have a good one.

Switzerland is the perfect place where you have volatility at a municipal level that nothing up top - small units competing with each other.

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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"