35 Brilliant Insights From Nassim Taleb

35 Brilliant Insights From Nassim Taleb


Facebook is the perfect platform for eccentric author Nassim Taleb, whose knack for thinking outside the box and waxing poetic is unparalleled. Here’s how the acclaimed author of The Black Swan describes his account: “This is for philosophical discussions. Please, no finance (or similarly depraved topics), and no journalists.” Oops. Taleb’s Facebook — which boasts 33,000+ followers — is truly a must-like for anyone interested in success, failure, Brooklyn, the modern condition, philosophy, the sordid state of journalism, or all of the above. Here are Taleb’s 35 most important observations. Each is a quote.

  • The artificial gives us hangovers, the natural inverse-hangovers.
  • The only problem with the last laugh is that the winner has to laugh alone.
  • Intelligence without imagination: a deadly combination.
  • There is no more unmistakable sign of failure than that of a middle-aged man boasting of his successes in college.
  • Never trust a journalist unless she’s your mother.
  • One of life’s machinations is to make some people both rich and unhappy, that is, jointly fragile and deprived of hope.
  • [If] someone is making an effort to ignore you he is not ignoring you.
  • The danger of reading financial & other news (or econobullshit) is that things that don’t make sense at all start making sense to you after progressive immersion.
  • It’s a sign of weakness to worry about showing signs of weakness.
  • Friends, I wonder if someone has computed how much would be saved if we shut down economics and political science departments in universities. Those who need to research these subjects can do so on their private time.
  • I trust those who trust me and distrust those who are suspicious of others.
  • A good man is warm and respectful towards the waiter or people of lower rank.
  • Journalists feel contempt for those who fear them and a deep resentment for those who don’t.
  • When someone starts a sentence with the first half containing “I”, “not”, and “but”, the “not” should be removed and the “but” replaced with “therefore.”
  • High Modernity: routine in place of physical effort, physical effort in place of mental expenditure, & mental expenditure in place of mental clarity.
  • The only valid political system is one that can handle an imbecile in power without suffering from it.
  • Journalists cannot grasp that what is interesting is not necessarily important; most cannot even grasp that what is sensational is not necessarily interesting.
  • Never buy a product that the owner of the company that makes it doesn’t use, or, in the case of, say, medication, wouldn’t contingently use.
  • Just realized that to politely get rid of someone people in Brooklyn say “call me if you need anything.”
  • Injuries done to us by others tend to be acute; the self-inflicted ones tend to be chronic.
  • We often benefit from harm done to us by others; almost never from self-inflicted injuries.
  • You will never know if someone is an asshole until he becomes rich.
  • When someone writes “I dislike you but I agree with you”, I read “I dislike you because I agree with you.”
  • A great book eludes summaries. A great aphorism resists expansion. The rest is just communication.
  • For a free person, the optimal – most opportunistic – route between two points should never be the shortest one.
  • What counts is not *what* people say, it is *how much* energy they spend saying it.
  • Used skillfully, a compliment will be much more offensive than any disparagement.
  • I trust those who are greedy for money a thousand time more than those who are greedy for credentials.
  • Just as eating cow-meat doesn’t turn you into a cow, studying philosophy doesn’t make you wiser.
  • It is a great compliment for an honest person to be mistaken for a crook by a crook.
  • Many want to learn how to memorize things; few seek that rare ability to forget.
  • If you have something very important to say, whisper it.
  • The ultimate freedom lies in not having to explain “why” you did something.
  • A book that can be summarized should not be written as a book.
  • Friends, to confirm: for those who happen to be in Rome, let’s meet 6 PM tonite for a short expresso meeting (I buy, I insist) at Sant’Eustachio caffè, Piazza di Sant’Eustachio, 82.

China Museum Shut Down After Exhibits Revealed to Be Forgeries

China Museum Shut Down After Exhibits Revealed to Be Forgeries

Chinese authorities forced the closing of a museum curated by a local Communist Party boss in northern China after determining that almost all of the items in its 50 million-yuan ($8.1 million) collection were fake.

Forgeries at the museum in Hebei province included an item billed as a five-color porcelain vase from the Tang Dynasty, even though the artistic technique wasn’t invented until hundreds of years later, the Shanghai Daily said in a story today. Another item was purportedly signed in simplified Chinese by an emperor said to have lived more than 3,000 years before the writing system was invented. Read more of this post

IKEA becomes largest foreign landowner in China

IKEA becomes largest foreign landowner in China

Staff Reporter 2013-07-16

In line with the belief that retail outlets built on its own land is integral for the complete materialization of its business concept, IKEA China has insisted on operating only on property it wholly owns since it entered the country 15 years ago. It is now one of the largest landowners in the nation.

Over the past 15 years, IKEA has changed the interior tastes of Chinese people with its simple yet trendy products. The property ownership of IKEA China actually complies with the consistent global practices of the company. INGKA Holding BV, the parent firm of IKEA group, boasted assets of €44.74 billion (US$58.5 billion) in 2012, of which fixed assets — including property, factory buildings, and equipment — accounted for 45%. Read more of this post

Singapore’s PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives, Technicians) = Pampered, Mediocre, Expensive, Timid

Are Singaporean workers… expensive & entitled?

These are the charges some employers have levelled against locals in a recent debate over wages and skills. Robin Chan investigates. 


A YOUNG university graduate walks into his first job interview at a shipping firm waving a salary survey his school provided for him and demands a starting salary above $4,000. But that is what a more senior employee gets only after three to four years on the job. Another, applying for an analyst position at an investment bank, asks if he will have his own office and secretary. There are others: Singaporean professionals turning down overseas postings, job-hopping with a vengeance or wanting more benefits and less work. These stories of professionals behaving badly have emerged in the wake of a Sunday Times commentary last month in which a multinational corporation (MNC) boss asked: “Do Singaporeans deserve the salaries they are paid?” They lack the skills, and the hunger, he observed. Read more of this post

Persistence Pays: Evidence from Investment Style Dynamics in the Venture Capital Industry

Persistence Pays: Evidence from Investment Style Dynamics in the Venture Capital Industry

Amit Bubna Indian School of Business

Sanjiv Ranjan Das Santa Clara University – Leavey School of Business

Paul Hanouna Villanova University – School of Business

June 20, 2013

We examine style drift in venture capital investing using 344,491 VC firm-financing rounds between 1980 and 2010. We locate each VC financing round in one of twenty styles, and develop a measure of a change in a VC’s styles (“style drift”) that is time consistent and independent of firm size. VC firms that exhibit style persistence outperform those that drift. VCs in the early years of their lifecycle exhibit greater style drift. Style drift hurts performance for seasoned VCs and for VCs that drift in a correlated (herd) fashion with other VC firms. We find evidence for economies of style persistence.

Amar G. Bose, the visionary acoustic engineer, inventor and billionaire entrepreneur, dies at 83; “I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by M.B.A.’s. But I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.”

July 12, 2013

Amar G. Bose, Acoustic Engineer and Inventor, Dies at 83



Amar G. Bose, chairman of Bose, with a Wave radio in 1993.

Amar G. Bose, the visionary engineer, inventor and billionaire entrepreneur whose namesake company, the Bose Corporation, became synonymous with high-quality audio systems and speakers for home users, auditoriums and automobiles, died on Friday at his home in Wayland, Mass. He was 83. His death was confirmed by his son, Dr. Vanu G. Bose. As founder and chairman of the privately held company, Dr. Bose focused relentlessly on acoustic engineering innovation. His speakers, though expensive, earned a reputation for bringing concert-hall-quality audio into the home. And by refusing to offer stock to the public, Dr. Bose was able to pursue risky long-term research, such as noise-canceling headphones and an innovative suspension system for cars, without the pressures of quarterly earnings announcements. In a 2004 interview in Popular Science magazine, he said: “I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by M.B.A.’s. But I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.” Read more of this post

Confronting the Limits of Networks; Business builders should not automatically expect that a network’s value will continue to increase geometrically as new members join

Confronting the Limits of Networks

Magazine: Summer 2002Opinion & Analysis July 15, 2002  Reading Time: 9 min

Andrew McAfee and François-Xavier Oliveau

Around 1980 Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of the Ethernet standard and founder of 3Com, developed a simple but powerful model to describe how networks become more important as they grow. He observed that a network’s value lies in the number of links it enables among members and that the quantity of links increases as the square of the total of the network’s members. Result: The value of a network increases in proportion to the square of the number of people using it. Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: