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Top 500 Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quotes (2024 Update)
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “I have the fondest memories of time spent in places called ugly, the most boring ones of places called scenic.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “If your private life conflicts with your intellectual opinion, it cancels your intellectual ideas, not your private life.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “If you hear a “prominent” economist using the word ‘equilibrium,’ or ‘normal distribution,’ do not argue with him; just ignore him, or try to put a rat down his shirt.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Success brings an asymmetry: you now have a lot more to lose than to gain. You are hence fragile.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “You know you have influence when people start noticing your absence more than the presence of others.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “A mathematician starts with a problem and creates a solution; a consultant starts by offering a “solution” and creates a problem.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “A washing machine needs constant maintenance. It doesn’t want any harm. It wants tranquility, and you need someone to – you’re not going to harm it by continuously monitoring it and adjusting it.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The worst side effect of wealth is the social associations it forces on its victims, as people with big houses end up socializing with other people with big houses.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market alow you to put there.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “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.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “If you take risks and face your fate with dignity, there is nothing you can do that makes you small; if you don’t take risks, there is nothing you can do that makes you grand, nothing.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “People who are bred, selected, and compensated to find complicated solutions do not have an incentive to implement simplified ones.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The true hero in the Black Swan world is someone who prevents a calamity and, naturally, because the calamity did not take place, does not get recognition – or a bonus – for it. I will be taking the concept deeper in Book VII, on ethics, about the unfairness of a bonus system and how such unfairness is magnified by complexity.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Men destroy each other during war, themselves during peacetime.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Writers are remembered for their best work, politicians for their worst mistakes, and businessmen are almost never remembered.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “I am also realizing the nonlinear effect behind success in anything: It is better to have a handful of enthusiastic advocates than hordes of people who appreciate your work – better to be loved by a dozen than liked by the hundreds. This applies to the sales of books, the spread of ideas, and success in general and runs counter to conventional logic. The information age is worsening this effect.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “This is the central illusion in life: that randomness is risky, that it is a bad thing – and that eliminating randomness is done by eliminating randomness.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “I’ve debated many economists who claim to specialize in risk and probability: when one takes them slightly outside their narrow focus, but within the discipline of probability, they fall apart, with the disconsolate face of a gym rat in front of a gangster hit man.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The IYI subscribes to The New Yorker, a journal designed so philistines can learn to fake a conversation about evolution, neurosomething, cognitive biases, and quantum mechanics.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “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.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “To understand the future, you do not need technoautistic jargon, obsession with “killer apps,” these sort of things. You just need the following: some respect for the past, some curiosity about the historical record, a hunger for the wisdom of the elders, and a grasp of the notion of “heuristics,” these often unwritten rules of thumb that are so determining of survival. In other words, you will be forced to give weight to things that have been around, things that have survived.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Learn to read history, get all the knowledge you can, do not frown on the anecdote, but do not draw any causal links, do not try to reverse engineer too much – but if you do, do not make big scientific claims.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Further, my characterization of a loser is someone who, after making a mistake, doesn’t introspect, doesn’t exploit it, feels embarrassed and defensive rather than enriched with a new piece of information, and tries to explain why he made the mistake rather than moving on. These types often consider themselves the “victims” of some large plot, a bad boss, or bad weather.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The irony of the process of thought control: the more energy you put into trying to control your ideas and what you think about, the more your ideas end up controlling you.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “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.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “You don’t become completely free just by avoiding to be a slave; you also need to avoid becoming a master.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “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.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Clearly, an open mind is a necessity when dealing with randomness. Popper believed that any idea of Utopia is necessarily closed owing to the fact that it chokes its own refutations. The simple notion of a good model for society that cannot be left open for falsification is totalitarian. I learned from Popper, in addition to the difference between an open and a closed society, that between an open and a closed mind.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “If the student is smart, the teacher takes the credit.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Never hire an academic unless his function is to partake of the rituals of writing papers or taking exams.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Self-contradiction is made culturally to be shameful, a matter that can prove disastrous in science.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The problem is that our ideas are sticky: once we produce a theory, we are not likely to change our minds...”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The best way to verify that you are alive is by checking if you like variations. Remember that food would not have a taste if it weren’t for hunger; results are meaningless without effort, joy without sadness, convictions without uncertainty, and an ethical life isn’t so when stripped of personal risks.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The story of the wheel also illustrates the point of this chapter: both governments and universities have done very, very little for innovation and discovery, precisely because, in addition to their blinding rationalism, they look for the complicated, the lurid, the newsworthy, the narrated, the scientistic, and the grandiose, rarely for the wheel on the suitcase. Simplicity, I realized, does not lead to laurels.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “To be genuinely empirical is to reflect reality as faithfully as possible; to be honorable implies not fearing the appearance and consequences of being outlandish.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “You can define a free person precisely as someone whose fate is not centrally or directly dependent on peer assessment.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “It was calculated that actors who win an Oscar tend to live on average about five years longer than their peers who don’t.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Let us call Mithridatization the result of an exposure to a small dose of a substance that, over time, makes one immune to additional, larger quantities of it. It is the sort of approach used in vaccination and allergy medicine. It is not quite antifragility, still at the more modest level of robustness, but we are on our way. And we already have a hint that perhaps being deprived of poison makes us fragile and that the road to robustification starts with a modicum of harm.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The payoff of a human venture is, in general, inversely proportional to what it is expected to be.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The main idea behind complex systems is that the ensemble behaves in ways not predicted by its components.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Engineers and tinkerers develop things while history books are written by academics; we will have to refine historical interpretations of growth, innovation, and many such things.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “This high-yield market resembles a nap on a railway track.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “This is hard to accept in the age of the Internet. It has been very hard for me to explain that the more data you get, the less you know what’s going on, and the more iatrogenics you will cause. People are still under the illusion that “science” means more data.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Characteristically, Samuelson intimidated those who questioned his techniques with the statement “Those who can, do science, others do methodology.” If you knew math, you could “do science.” This is reminiscent of psychoanalysts who silence their critics by accusing them of having trouble with their fathers.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “A word on the display of emotions. Almost no one can conceal his emotions. Behavioral scientists believe that one of the main reasons why people become leaders is not from what skills they seem to possess, but rather from what extremely superficial impression they make on others through hardly perceptible physical signals – what we call today “charisma,” for example. The biology of the phenomenon is now well studied under the subject heading “social emotions.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “I don’t know anyone on Wall Street who goes to work every day thinking of anything but how to increase their bonus.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “The best way to prove the arbitrary character of these categories, and the contagion effect they produce, is to remember how frequently these clusters reverse in history. Today’s alliance between Christian fundamentalists and the Israeli lobby would certainly seem puzzling to a nineteenth-century intellectual – Christians used to be anti-Semites and Moslems were the protectors of the Jews, whom they preferred to Christians. Libertarians used to be left-wing. What.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Anything organic requires some dose of variability so it can adapt all the time, and fixing things is not a good idea.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “It is no secret that large corporations prefer people with families; those with downside risk are easier to own, particularly when they are choking under a large mortgage.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quote: “Rationalism crashes in the tails.”
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