50 Fantastic Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quotes

A Lebanon born scholar, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is a scholar and writer that focuses largely on probability and risks. He has written some of the most prestigious risk analyst books in the world and is currently the Editor in Chief of Risk and Decision Analysis. Below is a list of some of his most brilliant quotes of all time.

“A man is honorable in proportion to the personal risks he takes for his opinion.”

“A man without a heroic bent starts dying at the age of thirty.”

“A prophet is not someone with special visions, just someone blind to most of what others see.”

“A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.”

“An option hides where we don’t want it to hide.”

“Charm is the ability to insult people without offending them; nerdiness the reverse.”


“Decomposition, for most, starts when they leave the free, social, and uncorrupted college life for the solitary confinement of professions and nuclear families.”

“Doctors most commonly get mixed up between absence of evidence and evidence of absence.”

“Don’t cross a river if it is four feet deep on average.”

“Forecasting by bureaucrats tends to be used for anxiety relief rather than for adequate policy making.”

“Greatness starts with the replacement of hatred with polite disdain.”

“Half of the people lie with their lips; the other half with their tears.”

“Heroes are heroes because they are heroic in behavior, not because they won or lost.”

“I always remind myself that what one observes is at best a combination of variance and returns, not just returns.”

“If humans fight the last war, nature fights the next one.”

“If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.”

“If you want to annoy a poet, explain his poetry.”

“Intelligence consists in ignoring things that are irrelevant.”

“It does not matter how frequently something succeeds if failure is too costly to bear.”

“It is often the mistakes of others that benefit the rest of us—and, sadly, not them … For the antifragile, harm from errors should be less than the benefits.”

“It is the asymmetry of the bonus system that got us here. No incentives without disincentives: capitalism is about rewards and punishments, not just rewards.”

“Love without sacrifice is like theft.”

“Meditation is a way to be narcissistic without hurting anyone.”

“Mental clarity is the child of courage, not the other way around.”

“Mild success can be explainable by skills and labor. Wild success is attributable to variance.”

“My biggest problem with modernity may lie in the growing separation of the ethical and the legal.”

“People focus on role models, it is more effective to find antimodels – people you don’t want to resemble when you grow up.”

“People used to wear ordinary clothes weekdays, and formal attire on Sunday. Today it is the exact reverse.”

“Probability is a liberal art; it is a child of skepticism, not a tool for people with calculators on their belts to satisfy their desire to produce fancy calculations and
certainties.”

“Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment.”

“Remember that you are a Black Swan.”

“Success is becoming in middle adulthood what you dreamed to be in late childhood.”

“The best way to measure the loss of intellectual sophistication is int he growing disappearance of sarcasm, as mechanic minds take insults a bit too literally.”

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

“The fool generalizes the particular; the nerd particularizes the general; … the wise does neither.”

“The more data we have, the more likely we are to drown in it.”

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

“The weak shows his strength and hides his weaknesses; the magnificent exhibits his weaknesses like ornaments.”

“Things always become obvious after the fact.”

“This is the central illusion in life: that randomness is a risk, that it is a bad thing …”

“This makes living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters — you gain exposure to the envelope of serendipity.”

“Those who do not think that employment is systemic slavery are either blind or employed.”

“Using, as an excuse, others’ failure of common sense is in itself a failure of common sense.”

“We didn’t get where we are thanks to the sissy notion of resilience.”

“We favor the visible, the embedded, the personal, the narrated, and the tangible; we scorn the abstract.”

“We tend to use knowledge as therapy.”

“What I learned on my own I still remember.”

“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.”

“You can tell how uninteresting a person is by asking him whom he finds interesting.”

“You may not be able to change the world but can at least get some entertainment and make a living out of the epistemic arrogance of the human race.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in the video above, discusses the basics of his book, Anti Fragile. He talks about the ways that it should help you live your life and all of the lessons you can learn.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of my favorite Nassim Nicholas Taleb quotes. Be sure to check beck for more quotes from other brilliant authors.

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