Meditation is a way to be narcissistic without hurting anyone
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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.
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...
I don’t know anyone on Wall Street who goes to work every day thinking of anything but how to increase their bonus.
A mistake is not something to be determined after the fact, but in the light of the information until that point
What we do today has nothing to do with capitalism or socialism. It is a crony type of system that transfers money to the coffers of bureaucrats.
Democracies can’t handle austerity measures very well.
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.
The curious mind embraces science; the gifted and sensitive, the arts; the practical, business; the leftover becomes an economist
Most people are sceptical about the wrong things and gullible about the wrong things.
We humans lack imagination, to the point of not even knowing what tomorrow’s important things will look like.
I’m a private intellectual, not a public one.
The next time someone pesters you with unneeded advice, gently remind him of the fate of the monk whom Ivan the Terrible put to death for delivering uninvited (and moralizing) advice. It works as a...
You have family-owned businesses that have been around for 500 years. You cannot name a corporation that survives intact for even a few decades.
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...
Most so-called writers keep writing and writing with the hope, some day, to find something to say.
If you want to annoy a poet, explain his poetry.
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.
I don’t go to the doctor except when I’m very ill, and when I go to India, I drink a drop of local water.
Suckers think that you cure greed with money, addiction with substances, expert problems with experts, banking with bankers, economics with economists, and debt crises with debt spending
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...
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.
When I trade, I don’t have an agency problem; I have my neck on the line. When a bank or banker trades, it’s not his neck on the line.
When you write, you don’t have the social constraints of having people in front of you, so you talk about abstract matters.
My biggest problem with modernity may lie in the growing separation of the ethical and the legal
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.
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...
What we need to do is break the financial community’s grip on society.
Further, in writing, I feel corrupt and unethical if I have to look up a subject in a library as part of the writing itself. This acts as a filter–it is the only filter. If...
You know, children philosophize more than adults – and they are critical of adults.
I drive a hybrid, moving into an electric car. I only drink tap water, never consume food that’s travelled.
People focus on role models; it is more effective to find antimodels – people you don’t want to resemble when you grow up
If the past, by bringing surprises, did not resemble the past previous to it (what I call the past’s past), then why should our future resemble our current past?
There are two types of people: those who try to win and those who try to win arguments. They are never the same.
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’ve been telling anyone willing to listen that banks have a tendency to sit on time bombs while convincing themselves that they are conservative and nonvolatile.
In poor countries, officials receive explicit bribes; in D.C. they get the sophisticated, implicit, unspoken promise to work for large corporations
The grandchildren should not bear the debts of the grandparents.
A good maxim allows you to have the last word without even starting a conversation.
Writing is sacred, other activities are profane, and I don’t want them to corrupt my writing.
Most info-Web-media-newspaper types have a hard time swallowing the idea that knowledge is reached (mostly) by removing junk from peoples heads
A country’s assets reside in the tinkerers, the hobbyists, and the risk-takers.
I have never had personal debt and never will.
The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free
Just as no monkey is as good-looking as the ugliest of humans, no academic is worthier than the worst of the creators
I hated school because I liked to daydream and the system tried to stop me from that.
Nature builds things that are antifragile. In the case of evolution, nature uses disorder to grow stronger. Occasional starvation or going to the gym also makes you stronger, because you subject your body to stressors...
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...
Someone with a low degree of epistemic arrogance is not too visible, like a shy person at a cocktail party. We are not predisposed to respect humble people, those who try to suspend judgement. Now...
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.
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