Quotes are all Taleb's. Non-quotes are mine.
“The general and the abstract tend to attract self-righteous psychopaths.”
Why it’s important to keep asking “why” until you reduce the macro to the micro. Reduces the hiding places of fools.
“By definition, what works cannot be irrational…If something stupid works (and makes money), it cannot be stupid.”
Experience discovers wisdom, because many more things sound correct than are correct.
Impossible to separate articulate incompetents from experts without deep fluency and consistent observation over time. Pan flashes rarely endure.
The world is filled with helpers helping those who don’t need help in a way that isn't helpful.
Need this tattooed on the inside of my eyelids —> Winning Arguments ≠ Winning
Complication is the warning sign of impending failure. Perceived complication < than actual complication, so merely its presence should receive immediate attention.
Amen. Never thought I’d find working capital calculations, industry profitability benchmarks, or compensation structures fascinating.
Life should never be boring, b/c life's SITG is death.
YES! Not surprisingly, I find those with assistants to be more disorganized and far less connected to reality. Disconnect feedback loops and outsource judgement at great peril.
Goes far beyond courage. Being well read is table stakes, not accomplishment. Thinking great thoughts is intellectual masturbation without subsequent action.
Incentives for notoriety are whacky. Fame often comes from saying something incorrect with passion and confidence. Pop wisdom ≠ wisdom.
Those who sell hard are often those with the least desirable things to sell. "Once in a lifetime" opportunities come frequently.
Despite loud and persistent rhetoric, regulation usually helps incumbents and harms consumers by removing competition. Big hearts and small minds often harm the very people they're trying to help.
Predictability lowers transaction costs. Especially important in complicated, long-dated situations. Tenure becomes a currency.
Walking scars are beautiful and evidence of hard-fought wisdom and perseverance. Only voyeurs are scar-free.
Most dangerous envy is peer envy. Intense envy is a luxury.
Win = Me; Lose = Luck. The greater the justification, the higher the likelihood of culpability.
Science doesn’t prove. It disproves. Science is a tool of reduction, not addition.
The “odd” one is usually far more skilled. Pay attention to outliers of appearance, manner, and style.
And usually the sucker is the person who has been told to put together the business plan.
Beware of those bearing business plans, or more generally useful narratives.
Because incentives, biases, and politics obscure reality’s feedback loops.
Gatekeepers keep gates far worse than a crowd of buyers.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, comes without opportunity costs, including what the world tells you are the goals.
Opportunity cost of success is invisible until it's deadly.
Amen. See chapter on Karl Marx in “Intellectuals” by Paul Johnson.
But, we're all partially closeted hypocrites trying to bear good fruit.
Capitalism humanizes. Wonder how the ease and anonymous nature of the on-demand economy interferes with this?
Farmer’s market transmits empathy far better than AmazonFresh.
Silent majority of progress is rarely reported.
Yes, but heavily time weighted. Easy to confuse short-lived survivals for success, new business models as revolutionary, and outliers as trends.
The short stack must play suboptimally. Play at the highest stakes table where your ruin is likely to be exceedingly rare.