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Nassim Nicholas Taleb (1960 – ) is a Lebanese-born American citizen with a French PhD in economic philosophy. An idea starts to be interesting when you get scared of taking it to its logical conclusion.

Nassim Taleb - creator ot the theories of The Black Swan, Antifragil

Nassim Taleb – The Antifragile – Black Swan


Quotations from Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Most people are skeptical about the wrong things and gullible about the wrong things.

Antifragile is when something is actually strengthened by the knocks.

Seize any opportunity or anything that looks like opportunity.

People often do not realize that they have a chance, so they miss it.

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

An idea starts to be interesting when you get scared of taking it to its logical conclusion.

They will envy you for your success, your wealth, for your intelligence, for your looks, for your status – but rarely for your wisdom.

No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white; but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.

In the complex world, the notion of “cause” itself is suspect; it is either nearly impossible to detect or not really defined. It’s another reason to ignore newspapers, with their constant supply of causes for things.

A black swan has three attributes: unpredictability, consequences, retrospective explainability.

The wise man listens to the meaning (the signal), the fool only gets the noise.

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 information is obviously more accurate.

Mere absence of nonsense may not be sufficient to make something true.

What I learned on my own I still remember.

It is harder to act as if one were ignorant than as if one were smart…..It is emotionally harder to reject a hypothesis than to accept it….It is very hard for us to just shut up.

If you see fraud and don’t shout fraud, you are a fraud.

The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free.

Never think that lack of variability is stability. Don’t confuse lack of volatility with stability, ever.

The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.

My major hobby is teasing people who take themselves and the quality of their knowledge too seriously and those who don’t have the guts to sometimes say: I don’t know.

A turkey is fed for 1,000 days by a butcher, and every day confirms to the turkey and the turkey’s economics department and the turkey’s risk management department and the turkey’s analytical department that the butcher loves turkeys, and every day brings more confidence to the statement. But on day 1,001, there will be a surprise for the turkey.

Muscles without strength, friendships without trust, opinion without risk, change without aesthetics, age without values, food without nourishment, power without fairness, facts without rigor, degrees without erudition, militarism without fortitude, progress without civilization, complication without depth, fluency without content; these are the sins to remember.

Sources – Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, The Black Swan, web.


COMMENTS

An idea starts to be interesting when you get scared of taking it to its logical conclusion. The logical conclusion it appears that Taleb misses is that the very people he condemns the most vigorously are the bankers. The reason he condemns them is because they have succeeded in rigging the laws of the money game in such a way that they can’t lose, and that is the essence of the antifragile strategy which he has created and promoted. He recommends, Seize any opportunity or anything that looks like opportunity, and that is probably an excellent idea because opportunities are rare enough to have positive black swans associated with them, and conversely don’t take on adventures where there is a big downside for failure and very little payoff for success. Another idea worth considering carefully is, ignore newspapers, with their constant supply of causes for things. People, especially people driven by fear and doubt, need easily understood reasons for why things happen the way they do, and newspapers are happy to fabricate reasons to fit their readers’ fantasies. That idea is congruent with his, Never think that lack of variability is stability. Don’t confuse lack of volatility with stability, ever. Many people crave stability and suppress any form of volatility from their mind, but try as they may, volatility is going to exist, and Taleb’s antifragile techniques lessen injury during difficult times and recover more quickly when times are better. Mere absence of nonsense may not be sufficient to make something true. and a most common nonsense is the fantasy that everything is going to be all right if everything is rigidified the way it is.

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