Nassim Nicholas Taleb spent 21 years as a risk taker (quantitative trader) before becoming a researcher in philosophical, mathematical and (mostly) practical problems with probability. He is known for a multidisciplinary approach to the role of the high-impact rare event.
He is also the author of The Black Swan, which the Sunday Times described as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II. It examines the impact of highly improbable events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in science, finance and technology. In this book, he criticised economic and financial models that rely on predicting human behaviour, arguing that this makes the finance industry highly vulnerable to the impact of improbable, but devastating, events. The 2008 financial crisis proved the force of his argument.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is also the author of a multi-volume essay, the Incerto covering broad facets of uncertainty which includes Fooled by Randomness and Antifragile and Skin in the Game.
Previously, Nassim has held senior positions with major banks focusing on the trading and risk management of complex derivatives, and worked independently on the floor of the Chicago exchanges. He went on his own in 1999 and, until 2008, specialised in protecting portfolios against extreme events.
He is currently a visiting professor at the London Business School. He held among other positions that of the Dean’s Professor in the Sciences of Uncertainty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and taught derivatives modelling at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University. He has an MBA from Wharton and a PhD from the University of Paris.
Nassim refuses all honours and anything that “turns knowledge into a spectator sport”.
“If there is something in nature you don’t understand, odds are it makes sense in a deeper way that is beyond your understanding. So there is a logic to natural things that is much superior to our own. Just as there is a dichotomy in law: ‘innocent until proven guilty’ as opposed to ‘guilty until proven innocent’, let me express my rule as follows: what Mother Nature does is rigorous until proven otherwise; what humans and science do is flawed until proven otherwise.”
"Remember that you are a Black Swan." - Nassim
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