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About Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Nassim Nicholas Taleb spent more than two decades as a risk taker before becoming a full-time essayist and scholar focusing on practical, philosophical, and mathematical problems with chance, luck, and probability. His focus in on how different systems handle disorder.
He now spends most of his time in the intense seclusion of his study, or as a flâneur meditating in cafés. In addition to his life as a trader he spent several years as an academic researcher (12 years as Distinguished Professor at New York University's School of Engineering, Dean's Professor at U. Mass Amherst).
He is the author of the Incerto (latin for uncertainty), accessible in any order (Skin in the Game, Antifragile, The Black Swan, The Bed of Procrustes, and Fooled by Randomness) plus a technical version, The Technical Incerto (Statistical Consequences of Fat Tails). Taleb has also published close to 55 academic and scholarly papers as a backup, technical footnotes to the Incerto in topics ranging from Statistical Physics and Quantitative Finance to Genetics and International affairs. The Incerto has more than 200 translations in 41 languages.
Taleb believes that prizes, honorary degrees, awards, and ceremonialism debase knowledge by turning it into a spectator sport.
""Imagine someone with the erudition of Pico de la Mirandola, the skepticism of Montaigne, solid mathematical training, a restless globetrotter, polyglot, enjoyer of fine wines, specialist of financial derivatives, irrepressible reader, and irascible to the point of readily slapping a disciple." La Tribune (Paris)
A giant of Mediterranean thought ... Now the hottest thinker in the world", London Times
"The most prophetic voice of all" GQ
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A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.
Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.”
For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb will change the way you look at the world, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, “On Robustness and Fragility,” which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.
Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world.
Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish.
In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better.
Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call “efficient” not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of the Titanic save lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are loud and clear.
Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.
Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb’s message is revolutionary: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it.
Praise for Antifragile
“Ambitious and thought-provoking . . . highly entertaining.”—The Economist
“A bold book explaining how and why we should embrace uncertainty, randomness, and error . . . It may just change our lives.”—Newsweek
In his most provocative and practical book yet, one of the foremost thinkers of our time redefines what it means to understand the world, succeed in a profession, contribute to a fair and just society, detect nonsense, and influence others. Citing examples ranging from Hammurabi to Seneca, Antaeus the Giant to Donald Trump, Nassim Nicholas Taleb shows how the willingness to accept one’s own risks is an essential attribute of heroes, saints, and flourishing people in all walks of life.
As always both accessible and iconoclastic, Taleb challenges long-held beliefs about the values of those who spearhead military interventions, make financial investments, and propagate religious faiths. Among his insights:
• For social justice, focus on symmetry and risk sharing. You cannot make profits and transfer the risks to others, as bankers and large corporations do. You cannot get rich without owning your own risk and paying for your own losses. Forcing skin in the game corrects this asymmetry better than thousands of laws and regulations.
• Ethical rules aren’t universal. You’re part of a group larger than you, but it’s still smaller than humanity in general.
• Minorities, not majorities, run the world. The world is not run by consensus but by stubborn minorities imposing their tastes and ethics on others.
• You can be an intellectual yet still be an idiot. “Educated philistines” have been wrong on everything from Stalinism to Iraq to low-carb diets.
• Beware of complicated solutions (that someone was paid to find). A simple barbell can build muscle better than expensive new machines.
• True religion is commitment, not just faith. How much you believe in something is manifested only by what you’re willing to risk for it.
The phrase “skin in the game” is one we have often heard but rarely stopped to truly dissect. It is the backbone of risk management, but it’s also an astonishingly rich worldview that, as Taleb shows in this book, applies to all aspects of our lives. As Taleb says, “The symmetry of skin in the game is a simple rule that’s necessary for fairness and justice, and the ultimate BS-buster,” and “Never trust anyone who doesn’t have skin in the game. Without it, fools and crooks will benefit, and their mistakes will never come back to haunt them.”
Fooled by Randomness is the word-of-mouth sensation that will change the way you think about business and the world. Nassim Nicholas Taleb–veteran trader, renowned risk expert, polymathic scholar, erudite raconteur, and New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan–has written a modern classic that turns on its head what we believe about luck and skill.
This book is about luck–or more precisely, about how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill–the world of trading–Fooled by Randomness provides captivating insight into one of the least understood factors in all our lives. Writing in an entertaining narrative style, the author tackles major intellectual issues related to the underestimation of the influence of happenstance on our lives.
The book is populated with an array of characters, some of whom have grasped, in their own way, the significance of chance: the baseball legend Yogi Berra; the philosopher of knowledge Karl Popper; the ancient world’s wisest man, Solon; the modern financier George Soros; and the Greek voyager Odysseus. We also meet the fictional Nero, who seems to understand the role of randomness in his professional life but falls victim to his own superstitious foolishness.
However, the most recognizable character of all remains unnamed–the lucky fool who happens to be in the right place at the right time–he embodies the “survival of the least fit.” Such individuals attract devoted followers who believe in their guru’s insights and methods. But no one can replicate what is obtained by chance.
Are we capable of distinguishing the fortunate charlatan from the genuine visionary? Must we always try to uncover nonexistent messages in random events? It may be impossible to guard ourselves against the vagaries of the goddess Fortuna, but after reading Fooled by Randomness we can be a little better prepared.
Named by Fortune One of the Smartest Books of All Time
A Financial Times Best Business Book of the Year
The Incerto is an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision making when we don’t understand the world, expressed in the form of a personal essay with autobiographical sections, stories, parables, and philosophical, historical, and scientific discussions, in non-overlapping volumes that can be accessed in any order. The main thread is that while there is inordinate uncertainty about what is going on, there is great certainty as to what one should do about it.
This ebook bundle includes:
FOOLED BY RANDOMNESS
THE BLACK SWAN
THE BED OF PROCRUSTES
SKIN IN THE GAME
By the author of the modern classic The Black Swan, this collection of aphorisms and meditations expresses his major ideas in ways you least expect.
The Bed of Procrustes takes its title from Greek mythology: the story of a man who made his visitors fit his bed to perfection by either stretching them or cutting their limbs. It represents Taleb’s view of modern civilization’s hubristic side effects—modifying humans to satisfy technology, blaming reality for not fitting economic models, inventing diseases to sell drugs, defining intelligence as what can be tested in a classroom, and convincing people that employment is not slavery.
Playful and irreverent, these aphorisms will surprise you by exposing self-delusions you have been living with but never recognized.
With a rare combination of pointed wit and potent wisdom, Taleb plows through human illusions, contrasting the classical values of courage, elegance, and erudition against the modern diseases of nerdiness, philistinism, and phoniness.
“Taleb’s crystalline nuggets of thought stand alone like esoteric poems.”—Financial Times
Watch the professionals. From central banks to brokerages to multinationals, institutional investors are flocking to a new generation of exotic and complex options contracts and derivatives. But the promise of ever larger profits also creates the potential for catastrophic trading losses. Now more than ever, the key to trading derivatives lies in implementing preventive risk management techniques that plan for and avoid these appalling downturns. Unlike other books that offer risk management for corporate treasurers, Dynamic Hedging targets the real-world needs of professional traders and money managers. Written by a leading options trader and derivatives risk advisor to global banks and exchanges, this book provides a practical, real-world methodology for monitoring and managing all the risks associated with portfolio management.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is the founder of Empirica Capital LLC, a hedge fund operator, and a fellow at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University. He has held a variety of senior derivative trading positions in New York and London and worked as an independent floor trader in Chicago. Dr. Taleb was inducted in February 2001 in the Derivatives Strategy Hall of Fame. He received an MBA from the Wharton School and a Ph.D. from University Paris-Dauphine.
En El cisne negro, Taleb planteó un problema (el de las repercusiones que causan las cosas que nadie puede prever…) y en Antifrágil nos ofrece una solución definitiva: cómo obtener beneficios del desorden y el caos, al tiempo que nos protegemos de las fragilidades y de los acontecimientos adversos. Lo que Taleb denomina "lo antifrágil" va más allá de lo robusto, puesto que se beneficia de los shocks, las incertidumbres y del estrés, del mismo modo que los huesos humanos se robustecen cuando están sometidos al estrés y a la tensión. Lo "antifrágil" necesita el desorden para sobrevivir y florecer.
Taleb se centra en la incertidumbre como algo deseable, incluso necesario, y propone que las cosas se construyan de una forma antifrágil. Lo antifrágil es inmune a los errores de predicción.
Sumamente ambicioso y multidisciplinario, nos ofrece un programa sobre cómo comportarnos –y prosperar- en un mundo que no comprendemos, y que es demasiado incierto como para que intentemos comprenderlo y predecirlo. El mensaje de Taleb, documentado e ingenioso, es revolucionario: Lo que no es antifrágil perecerá con toda seguridad.
¿Qué es un cisne negro? Para empezar, es un suceso improbable, sus consecuencias son importantes y todas las explicaciones que se puedan ofrecer a posteriori no tienen en cuenta el azar y sólo buscan encajar lo imprevisible en un modelo perfecto.
El éxito de Google y You Tube, y hasta ell 11-S, son "cisnes negros". Para Nassim Nicholas Taleb, los cisnes negros son parte integrante de nuestro mundo, desde el auge de las religiones hasta los acontecimientos de nuestra vida personal.
¿Por qué no podemos identificar este fenómeno hasta que ya ha sucedido? Según el autor, ello se debe a que los humanos nos empeñamos en investigar las cosas ya sabidas, olvidándonos de lo que desconocemos. Ello nos impide reconocer las oportunidades y nos hace demasiado vulnerables al impulso de simplificar, narrar y categorizar, olvidándonos de recompensar a quienes saben imaginar lo "imposible".
Elegante, sorprendente, y con reflexiones de alcance universal, El cisne negro transformará nuestra manera de mirar el mundo. Taleb es un escritor ameno, ingenioso e irreverente, con un profundo conocimiento de temas tan dispares como la ciencia cognitiva, el mundo de los negocios y la teoría de la probabilidad. De hecho, El cisne negro es auténtico cisne negro en sí mismo.
Wir leben in einer unsicheren Welt, und das System, das sie beherrscht, hat auf dramatische Weise vorgeführt, wie zerbrechlich es ist. Und doch haben wir nichts daraus gelernt und setzen dieser Fragilität keine »Antifragilität« entgegen. Der Bestsellerautor Nassim Nicholas Taleb zeigt uns indes, wie das gehen kann. Er überträgt seine Erkenntnisse aus der Zufallsforschung auf nahezu alle lebenspraktischen Bereiche von der Erziehung über Kultur bis zur Politik. So gelingt ihm eine große, praktisch-philosophische Antwort auf die Herausforderungen unsicherer Zeiten. Denn wir gewinnen nicht, indem wir Zufälle und Ungewissheit um jeden Preis abzuwehren versuchen, sondern indem wir sie zu Stärken ummünzen: Das Antifragile bleibt – alles andere wird verschwinden.
En uno de sus libros más provocadores, el famoso pensador Nassim Nicholas Taleb redefine lo que significa comprender el mundo, tener éxito en una profesión, contribuir a una sociedad justa y equitativa, detectar el absurdo e influir en los demás. Citando ejemplos que van desde Hammurabi a Séneca, o del gigante Anteo a Donald Trump, Taleb demuestra cómo la voluntad de aceptar los propios riesgos es un atributo esencial de héroes, santos e individuos prósperos en todos los ámbitos de la sociedad.
Un desafío a las antiguas creencias sobre los valores de aquellos que dirigen las intervenciones militares, realizan inversiones financieras y difunden credos religiosos.
«Si por la mañana sabes cómo será tu día con alguna precisión, es que estás un poco muerto: cuanta más precisión, más muerto estás.»
Cada aforismo incluido en este libro trata sobre un lecho de Procusto: los humanos, frente a los límites de nuestro conocimiento, lo invisible y lo desconocido, resolvemos la tensión al exprimir la vida y el mundo en ideas genéricas, categorías reductivas y términos específicos. Solo al abrazar lo inesperado y aceptar lo que no sabemos, podemos ver el mundo tal como es.