Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quotes

Most popular Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quotes

A good book gets better on the second reading. A great book on the third. Any book not worth rereading isn't worth reading.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

books

If you don't feel that you haven't read enough, you haven't read enough.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

reading

It takes some humanity to feel sympathy for those less fortunate than us; but it takes honor to avoid envying those who are much luckier.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

envy

If we are the only animal with a sense of justice, it would clearly be because we also are about the only animal with a sense of cruelty.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

justice cruelty

Journalists cannot grasp that what is interesting is not necessarily important; most cannot even grasp that what is sensational is not necessarily interesting.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

journalism

To understand how something works, figure out how to break it.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

understanding

The first, and hardest, step to wisdom: avert the standard assumption that people know what they want.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

human nature

Multiplicative generosity: limit your generosity to those who, in turn, given the circumstances, would be equally generous towards others.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

generosity

The only valid political system is one that can handle an imbecile in power without suffering from it.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

politics society democracy

A heuristic on whether you have control of your life: can you take naps?
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

success life

Electricians, barbers, gardeners, surgeons, tango dancers, are experts. Not economists.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

experts economists

It is a very powerful manipulation to let others win the small battles.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

dealing with people

Never hire an A student unless it is to take exams.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Life is about early detection of the reversal point beyond which your own belongings (say, a house, country house, car, or business) start owning you.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

materialism

Contra the prevailing belief, "success" isn't being on top of a hierarchy, it is standing outside all hierarchies.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

success

People feel deep anxiety finding out that someone they thought was stupid is actually more intelligent than they are.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

intelligence

People tend to whisper when they say the truth and raise their voice when they lie.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

lying

People are much less interested in what you are trying to show them than in what you are tying to hide.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

human nature

Religion isn't so much about telling man that there is one God as about preventing man from thinking that he is God.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

religion

If you get easily bored, it means that your BS detector is functioning properly; if you forget (some) things, it means that your mind knows how to filter; and if you feel sadness, it means that you are human.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

sadness boredom

Trust those who trust you and distrust those who are suspicious of others.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

trust

Failure-resistant is achievable; failure-free is not.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

failure

When people call you intelligent it is almost always because they agree with you. Otherwise they just call you arrogant.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

arrogance human nature

Some ideas are born as you write then down, others become dead.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

ideas writing

Almost all those caught making a logical fallacy interpret it as a "disagreement."
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

disagreement

Thinking that all individuals pursue "selfish" interests is equivalent to assuming that all random variables have zero covariance.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

self-interest

The person you are most afraid to contradict is yourself.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Let us find what risks we can measure and these are the risks we should be taking.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

risk-taking

An idea starts to be interesting when you get scared of taking it to its logical conclusion.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

ideas

If you want strangers to help you, smile. For those close to you, cry.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Envy, like thirst for revenge, is the wicked person's version of our natural sense of injustice.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

revenge injustice envy

Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love.

academics

Just as eating cow meat doesn't turn you into a cow, studying philosophy doesn't make you wiser.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

philosophy

Never take investment advice from someone who has to work for a living.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

investing

It is not possible to have fun when you try.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The first one who uses "but" has lost the argument.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

arguments

It is quite a predicament to be both evil and risk-averse.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

evil risk-taking

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

data

It takes a lot of skills to be virtuous without being boring.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

boring people virtue

If someone is making an effort to ignore you, he is not ignoring you.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
You will never know for sure if someone is an asshole until he becomes rich.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

wealth character

People reveal much more about themselves while lying than when they tell the truth.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

lying

Never take an advice from a salesman, or any advice that benefits the advice giver.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

advice

Your duty is to scream those truths that one should shout but that are merely whispered.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

duty truth

Swearing on occasion, amid a rich vocabulary, is costly signaling that you are self-owned.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Probability is the intersection of the most rigorous mathematics and the messiest of life.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
What counts is not what people say about you, it is how much energy they spend in saying it.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

what others think

Never rid anyone of an illusion unless you can replace it in his mind with another illusion.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

illusion

Remove all empty words from writings, résumés, conversation, except when they aim at courtesy.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

writing advice

In the medical and social domains, treatment should never be equivalent to silencing symptoms.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
You can tell how poor someone feels by the number of times he references "money" in his conversation.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

money

I wonder how many people would seek excessive wealth if it did not carry a measure of status with it.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

wealth status

In real life exams, someone gives you an answer and you have to find the best corresponding questions.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

asking questions

Executive programs allow us to watch people who have never worked lecturing those who have never pondered.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

academics

The problem with academics is that they really think nonacademics find them more intelligent than themselves.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

academics

In your prayers substitute "Protect us from evil" with "Protect us from those who improve things for a salary."
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

bureaucracy

One of life's machinations is to make some people both rich and unhappy, that is, jointly fragile and deprived of hope.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

life

Bureaucracy is a construction designed to maximize the distance between a decision-maker and the risks of the decision.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

bureaucracy

People focus on role models; it is more effective to find anti models - people you don't want to resemble when you grow up.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

role models

The general principle of antifragility: it is much better to do things you cannot explain than explain things you cannot do.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Humans need to complain just as they need to breathe. Never stop them; just manipulate them by controlling what they complain about and supply them with reasons to complain. They will complain but be thankful.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

complaining