Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quotes

nassim nicholas taleb quotes



We are victims of the post-Enlightenment view that the world functions like a sophisticated machine, to be understood like a textbook engineering problem and run by wonks. In other words, like a home appliance, not like the human body.


I'm in favour of religion as a tamer of arrogance. For a Greek Orthodox, the idea of God as creator outside the human is not God in God's terms. My God isn't the God of George Bush.


If I ask you to write down the last 4 digits of your social security number, and then take you out to lunch and ask you how many dentists there are in Manhattan, there's going to be a high correlation between those two numbers. What happens is that the number psychologically makes you feel confident.


Failure saves lives. In the airline industry, every time a plane crashes the probability of the next crash is lowered by that. The Titanic saved lives because we're building bigger and bigger ships. So these people died, but we have effectively improved the safety of the system, and nothing failed in vain.


Banking is a very treacherous business because you don't realize it is risky until it is too late. It is like calm waters that deliver huge storms.


If you are an Arabic-speaking, Greek-Orthodox going to a French school it makes you deeply sceptical if you have to listen to three different accounts of the Crusades - one from the Muslim side, one from the Greek side and one from the Catholic side.


For many people, commuting is the worst part of the day, and policies that can make commuting shorter and more convenient would be a straightforward way to reduce minor but widespread suffering.


Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg didn't finish college. Too much emphasis is placed on formal education - I told my children not to worry about their grades but to enjoy learning.


Never take advice from anyone in a tie. They'll bankrupt you. Don't ask a general for advice on war, and don't ask a broker for advice on money.


People have the problem of denial. This is one of the things I learned in Lebanon. Everybody who left Beirut when the war started, including my parents, said, 'Oh, its temporary.' It lasted 17 years! People tend to underestimate the gravity of these situations. That's how they work.


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.


Globalization has created this interlocking fragility. At no time in the history of the universe has the cancellation of a Christmas order in New York meant layoffs in China.


In social policy, when we provide a safety net, it should be designed to help people take more entrepreneurial risks, not to turn them into dependents. This doesn't mean that we should be callous to the underprivileged.


We know from chaos theory that even if you had a perfect model of the world, you'd need infinite precision in order to predict future events. With sociopolitical or economic phenomena, we don't have anything like that.


The American people will eventually get hurt by this accumulated deficit. That's the problem. We have too much deficit. We have to find a solution.


Individuals should think about the worst-case scenarios and plan for them. The world will be crazier than you think it will be. Put money away, and then you can live with much more freedom.


I no longer care about the financial system. I gave them my roadmap. OK? Thanks, bye. I've no idea what's going on. I'm disconnected. I'm totally disengaged.


The mortgage crisis is a clear instance of consumers who needed protection. There was predatory lending to people who didn't know what they were doing.


I don't read the papers; I stopped reading the papers. I read the papers only during periods of crisis, and I think papers are too long on a regular day and too short days when we have a crisis.


I select a very small number of things to be sceptical about, such as markets, and on these I am hypersceptic. But I want to be fooled by randomness in art. I want the ceremonial of religion; we are made for it.




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