Nassim Nicholas Taleb
|Nassim Nicholas Taleb|
|Born||1960 (age 53–54)
|Residence||United States, United Kingdom, Lebanon|
|Fields||randomness, probability and uncertainty|
|Institutions||New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering (current), Oxford University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences|
|Alma mater||University of Paris (B.S & M.S)
Wharton School (M.B.A.)
University of Paris (Dauphine) (Ph.D.)
|Thesis||Dynamic Hedging Under Constraints|
|Doctoral advisor||Hélyette Geman|
|Known for||Applied epistemology|
|Influences||Friedrich Hayek, Karl Popper, Henri Poincaré, Michel de Montaigne, Benoit Mandelbrot, Frédéric Bastiat|
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Arabic: نسيم نيقولا نجيب طالب, alternatively Nessim or Nissim, born 1960) is a Lebanese American essayist, scholar and statistician, whose work focuses on problems of randomness, probability and uncertainty. His 2007 book The Black Swan was described in a review by the Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II.
Taleb is a bestselling author, and has been a professor at several universities, currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering. He has also been a practitioner of mathematical finance, a hedge fund manager, a derivatives trader, and is currently a scientific adviser at Universa Investments and the International Monetary Fund.
He criticized the risk management methods used by the finance industry and warned about financial crises, subsequently profiting from the late-2000s financial crisis.  He advocates what he calls a "black swan robust" society, meaning a society that can withstand difficult-to-predict events. He proposes "antifragility" in systems, that is, an ability to benefit and grow from a certain class of random events, errors, and volatility as well as "convex tinkering" as a method of scientific discovery, by which he means that option-like experimentation outperforms directed research.
- 1 Family background and education
- 2 Finance career
- 3 Academic career
- 4 Writing career
- 5 Philosophical theories
- 6 Praise and criticism
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 Honors
- 10 Quotes
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 External links
Family background and education
Taleb was born in Amioun, Lebanon to Minerva Ghosn and Najib Taleb, a physician and an oncologist and a researcher in anthropology. His parents were Greek Orthodox Lebanese with French citizenship, and he attended a French school there, the Grand Lycée Franco-Libanais. His family saw its political prominence and wealth reduced by the Lebanese Civil War, which began in 1975. During the war, Taleb studied for several years in the basement of his family's home.
Both sides of his family were politically prominent in the Lebanese Greek Orthodox community. On his mother's side, his grandfather, Fouad Nicolas Ghosn, and his great-grandfather, Nicolas Ghosn, were both deputy prime ministers. His paternal grandfather was a supreme court judge; his great-great-great-great grandfather, Ibrahim Taleb, was a governor of the Ottoman semi-autonomous Mount Lebanon Governorate in 1861. Taleb has described himself as Greek Orthodox. The Taleb family Palazo, built in 1860 by Florentine architects for his great-great-great-great grandfather, still stands in Amioun.
Taleb received his bachelor and master in science degrees from the University of Paris. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Management Science (his thesis was on the mathematics of derivatives pricing) from the University of Paris (Dauphine) under the direction of Hélyette Geman, with Marco Avellaneda, Dilip Madan, and Nicole El Karoui as committee members.
A polyglot, Taleb has a literary fluency in English, French, and classical Arabic; a conversational fluency in Italian and Spanish; and can read classical texts in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and ancient Hebrew, as well as the Canaanite script.
Taleb considers himself less a businessman than an epistemologist of randomness, and says that he used trading to attain independence and freedom from authority. Taleb was a pioneer of tail risk hedging (now sometimes called "black swan protection"), which is intended to mitigate investors' exposure to extreme market moves. His business model has been to safeguard investors against crises while reaping rewards from rare events, and thus his investment management career has included several jackpots followed by lengthy dry spells.
He has held the following positions: managing director and proprietary trader at Credit SuisseUBS; worldwide chief proprietary arbitrage derivatives trader for currencies, commodities and non-dollar fixed income at First Boston; chief currency derivatives trader for Banque Indosuez(now Calyon); managing director and worldwide head of financial option arbitrage at CIBC Wood Gundy; derivatives arbitrage trader at Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank), proprietary trader at BNP Paribas, as well as independent option market maker on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; and founder of Empirica Capital, after which Taleb retired from trading and became a full-time author in 2004. Taleb is currently Principal/Senior Scientific Adviser at Universa Investments in Santa Monica, California, a tail protection firm owned and managed by former Empirica partner Mark Spitznagel.
Taleb reportedly became financially independent after the crash of 1987 and was successful during the financial crisis that began in 2007, a development which he attributed to the mismatch between statistical distributions used in finance and reality. Universa is a fund which is based on the "black swan" idea and to which Taleb is a principal adviser. Some of the separate funds managed by Universa made returns of 65% to 115% in October 2008. Following the economic crisis that started in 2008, Taleb has become an activist for what he called a "black swan robust society" and as of July 2011, Taleb is working with the International Monetary Fund on identifying and mitigating tail risks in financial markets.
Taleb became a full-time scholar and essayist in 2006 as a university professor. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, and Distinguished Research Scholar, Said Business School, University of Oxford. He was Visiting Professor at London Business School and the Dean's Professor in the Sciences of Uncertainty at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at the Courant Institute of New York University, and affiliated faculty member at the Wharton Business School Financial Institutions Center. He jointly teaches regular courses with Paul Wilmott and occasionally on the Certificate in Quantitative Finance. In May 2012, he ranked fourth in terms of the number of downloaded papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).
Taleb's four volume philosophical essay on uncertainty, titled the Incerto covers the following books: Antifragile (2012), The Black Swan (2007–2010), Fooled by Randomness (2001) and The Bed of Procrustes (2010).
Taleb's first non-technical book, Fooled by Randomness, about the underestimation of the role of randomness in life, around the same time as the September 11 attacks, was selected by Fortune as one of the smartest 75 books known.
His second non-technical book, The Black Swan, about unpredictable events, was published in 2007, selling close to 3 million copies (as of February 2011). It spent 36 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list, 17 as hardcover and 19 weeks as paperback,  and was translated into 31 languages. The Black Swan has been credited with predicting the banking and economic crisis of 2008.,
A book of aphorisms, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms, was released in December 2010.
The final book of his Incerto series—Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder—was published in November 2012 by Random House in the United States and Penguin in the United Kingdom. In the introduction of the book, Taleb describes it as follows: "Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better."
Taleb's non-technical writing style mixes a narrative style (often semi-autobiographical) and short philosophical tales together with historical and scientific commentary. The sales of Taleb's first two books garnered an advance of $4 million for a follow-up book on anti-fragility. A mathematical parallel version of the Incerto Quadrilogy is freely available on Taleb's website.
In 2007, in The Black Swan, Taleb warned about the coming crisis:
Globalization creates interlocking fragility, while reducing volatility and giving the appearance of stability. In other words it creates devastating Black Swans. We have never lived before under the threat of a global collapse. Financial Institutions have been merging into a smaller number of very large banks. Almost all banks are interrelated. So the financial ecology is swelling into gigantic, incestuous, bureaucratic banks – when one fails, they all fall. The increased concentration among banks seems to have the effect of making financial crisis less likely, but when they happen they are more global in scale and hit us very hard. We have moved from a diversified ecology of small banks, with varied lending policies, to a more homogeneous framework of firms that all resemble one another. True, we now have fewer failures, but when they occur .... I shiver at the thought.
The government-sponsored institution Fannie Mae, when I look at its risks, seems to be sitting on a barrel of dynamite, vulnerable to the slightest hiccup. But not to worry: their large staff of scientists deem these events "unlikely".
He warned of pseudostability in Syria:
Dictatorships that do not appear volatile, like, say, Syria or Saudi Arabia, face a larger risk of chaos than, say, Italy, as the latter has been in a state of continual political turmoil since the second war.
His book The Bed of Procrustes summarizes the central problem: "we humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas". Taleb disagrees with Platonic (i.e., theoretical) approaches to reality to the extent that they lead people to have the wrong map of reality rather than no map at all. He opposes most economic and grand social science theorizing, which in his view suffer acutely from the problem of overuse of Plato's Theory of Forms.
Relatedly, he also believes that universities are better at public relations and claiming credit than generating knowledge. He argues that knowledge and technology are usually generated by what he calls "stochastic tinkering" rather than by top-down directed research.
He calls for cancellation of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, saying that the damage from economic theories can be devastating. He opposes top-down knowledge as an academic illusion and believes that price formation obeys an organic process. Together with Espen Gaarder Haug, Taleb asserts that option pricing is determined in a "heuristic way" by operators, not by a model, and that models are "lecturing birds on how to fly". Pablo Triana has explored this topic with reference to Haug and Taleb, and says that perhaps Taleb is correct to urge that banks be treated as utilities forbidden to take potentially lethal risks, while hedge funds and other unregulated entities should be able to do what they want.
Taleb's writings discuss the error of comparing real-world randomness with the "structured randomness" in quantum physics where probabilities are remarkably computable and games of chance like casinos where probabilities are artificially built. Taleb calls this the "Ludic fallacy". His argument centers on the idea that predictive models are based on Plato's Theory of Forms, gravitating towards mathematical purity and failing to take some key ideas into account, such as: the impossibility of possessing all relevant information, that small unknown variations in the data can have a huge impact, and flawed theories/models that are based on empirical data and that fail to consider events that have not taken place but could have taken place. Discussing the Ludic fallacy in The Black Swan, he writes, "The dark side of the moon is harder to see; beaming light on it costs energy. In the same way, beaming light on the unseen is costly in both computational and mental effort."
In the second edition of The Black Swan, he posited that the foundations of quantitative economics are faulty and highly self-referential. He states that statistics is fundamentally incomplete as a field as it cannot predict the risk of rare events, a problem that is acute in proportion to the rarity of these events. With the mathematician Raphael Douady, he called the problem statistical undecidability (Douady and Taleb, 2010).
Taleb sees his main challenge as mapping his ideas of "robustification" and "anti-fragility", that is, how to live and act in a world we do not understand and build robustness to black swan events. Taleb introduced the idea of the "fourth quadrant" in the exposure domain. One of its applications is in his definition of the most effective (that is, least fragile) risk management approach: what he calls the 'barbell' strategy which is based on avoiding the middle in favor of linear combination of extremes, across all domains from politics to economics to one's personal life. These are deemed by Taleb to be more robust to estimation errors. For instance, he suggests that investing money in 'medium risk' investments is pointless because risk is difficult if not impossible to compute. His preferred strategy is to be both hyper-conservative and hyper-aggressive at the same time. For example, an investor might put 80 to 90% of their money in extremely safe instruments, such as treasury bills, with the remainder going into highly risky and diversified speculative bets. An alternative suggestion is to engage in highly speculative bets with a limited downside. He asserts that by adopting these strategies a portfolio can be "robust", that is, gain a positive exposure to black swan events while limiting losses suffered by such random events. Taleb also applies a similar barbell-style approach to health and exercise. Instead of doing steady and moderate exercise daily, he suggests that it is better to do a low-effort exercise such as walking slowly most of the time, while occasionally expending extreme effort. He avers that the human body evolved to live in a random environment, with various unexpected but intense efforts and much rest.
Taleb stays in touch using his simple official Facebook page, but reminds readers not to write in it about finance and "similarly depraved topics"
Praise and criticism
In a 2008 article in The Times, the journalist Bryan Appleyard described Taleb as "now the hottest thinker in the world". The Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman proposed the inclusion of Taleb's name among the world's top intellectuals, saying "Taleb has changed the way many people think about uncertainty, particularly in the financial markets. His book, The Black Swan, is an original and audacious analysis of the ways in which humans try to make sense of unexpected events." Taleb was treated as a "rock star" at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos in 2009; at that event he had harsh words for bankers.[clarification needed]
Taleb contends that statisticians can be pseudoscientists when it comes to risks of rare events and risks of blowups, and mask their incompetence with complicated equations.
Simply, one observation in 10,000, that is, one day in 40 years, can explain the bulk of the "kurtosis", a measure of what we call "fat tails", that is, how much the distribution under consideration departs from the standard Gaussian, or the role of remote events in determining the total properties. For the U.S. stock market, a single day, the crash of 1987, determined 80% of the kurtosis. The same problem is found with interest and exchange rates, commodities, and other variables. The problem is not just that the data had "fat tails", something people knew but sort of wanted to forget; it was that we would never be able to determine "how fat" the tails were. Never. The implication is that those tools used in economics that are based on squaring variables (more technically, the Euclidian, or L-2 norm), such as standard deviation, variance, correlation, regression, or value-at-risk, the kind of stuff you find in textbooks, are not valid scientifically (except in some rare cases where the variable is bounded). The so-called "p values" you find in studies have no meaning with economic and financial variables. Even the more sophisticated techniques of stochastic calculus used in mathematical finance do not work in economics except in selected pockets.
This stance has attracted criticism: the American Statistical Association devoted the August 2007 issue of The American Statistician to The Black Swan. The magazine offered a mixture of praise and criticism for Taleb's main points, with a focus on Taleb's writing style and his representation of the statistical literature. Robert Lund, a mathematics professor at Clemson University, writes that in Black Swan, Taleb is "reckless at times and subject to grandiose overstatements; the professional statistician will find the book ubiquitously naive."
Aaron Brown, an author, quant and finance professor at Yeshiva and Fordham Universities, said that "the book reads as if Taleb has never heard of nonparametric methods, data analysis, visualization tools or robust estimation." Nonetheless, he calls the book "essential reading" and urges statisticians to overlook the insults to get the "important philosophic and mathematical truths." Taleb replied in the second edition of The Black Swan that "One of the most common (but useless) comments I hear is that some solutions can come from 'robust statistics.' I wonder how using these techniques can create information where there is none". While praising the book, Westfall and Hilbe in 2007 complained that Taleb's criticism is "often unfounded and sometimes outrageous." Taleb, writes John Kay, "describes writers and professionals as knaves or fools, mostly fools. His writing is full of irrelevances, asides and colloquialisms, reading like the conversation of a raconteur rather than a tightly argued thesis. But it is hugely enjoyable – compelling but easy to dip into. Yet beneath his rage and mockery are serious issues. The risk management models in use today exclude the very events against which they claim to protect the businesses that employ them. These models import a veneer of technical sophistication... Quantitative analysts have lulled corporate executives and regulators into an illusory sense of security." Taleb felt that academics showed "bad faith" by criticizing a literary book that claimed to be a literary book and by ignoring the empirical evidence provided in his appendix and more technical works.
The late Berkeley statistician David Freedman said that efforts by statisticians to refute Taleb's stance have been unconvincing. Taleb wrote in the second edition of The Black Swan that he had a session in 2008 with statisticians in which the hostility changed:
I found out that telling researchers "This is where your methods work very well" is vastly better than telling them "This is what you guys don’t know." So when I presented to what was until then the most hostile crowd in the world, members of the American Statistical Association, a map of the four quadrants, and told them: your knowledge works beautifully in these three quadrants, but beware of the fourth one, as this is where the Black Swans breed, I received instant approval, support, offers of permanent friendship, refreshments (Diet Coke), invitations to come present at their sessions, even hugs(...) They tried to convince me that statisticians were not responsible for these aberrations, which come from people in the social sciences who apply statistical methods without understanding them.
Taleb and Nobel laureate Myron Scholes have traded personal attacks, particularly after Taleb's paper with Espen Haug on why nobody used the Black-Scholes-Merton formula. Taleb said that Scholes was responsible for the financial crises of 2008, and suggested that "this guy should be in a retirement home doing Sudoku. His funds have blown up twice. He shouldn't be allowed in Washington to lecture anyone on risk." Scholes retorted that Taleb simply "popularises ideas and is making money selling books". Scholes claimed that Taleb does not cite previous literature, and for this reason Taleb is not taken seriously in academia. Haug and Taleb (2011) listed hundreds of research documents showing the Black-Scholes formula was not Scholes' at all and argued that the economics establishment ignored the literature by practitioners and mathematicians (such as Ed Thorp), who had developed a more sophisticated version of the formula.
Citing his academic works on the same topics covered in The Black Swan, Taleb said that "Academics should comment on data there, not make technical comments on a literary book". He has said that no direct published criticism has been directed at his ideas, but rather at his person and style. He wrote, "you never win an argument until they attack your person." In an interview on Charlie Rose, Taleb said that he was pleased that none of the criticism he received for The Black Swan had any substance, as it was either unintelligent, ad hominem, or style over substance, which convinced him to "go for the jugular" with a huge financial bet on the breakdown of statistical methods in finance.
The Penguin book cover writes that Taleb "refuses all awards and honours as they debase knowledge by turning it into competitive sport". Though a non-smoker, Taleb suffered from throat cancer in the mid-1990s, which he overcame. He has stated that his major hobby is "teasing people who take themselves and the quality of their knowledge too seriously and those who don't have the guts to sometimes say: 'I don’t know ...'" Some reporters have commented that information about his personal life is difficult to extract, though Taleb appears to enjoy being in the limelight. Others find him more talkative: Malcolm Gladwell, in What the Dog Saw, wrote: "We would have lunches that would last for hours. The delight I took in his company was offset only by the dread I felt at the prospect of transcribing all those hours of tapes."
Literary and nontechnical books
- Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets. New York: Random House and Penguin. 2001/2005. ISBN 0-8129-7521-9.
- Le Hasard Sauvage. Paris: Les Belles Lettres. 2005. ISBN 2-251-44297-9. The French edition of Fooled by Randomness with revisions and changes to the English version.
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. New York: Random House and Penguin. 2007/2010. ISBN 978-1-4000-6351-2. The book was completed in 2010 with the second edition including a long essay "On Robustness and Fragility".
- Force et fragilité, reflexions philosophiques et empiriques. Paris: Les Belles Lettres. 2010.
- The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms. New York: Random House. 2010. ISBN 978-1-4000-6997-2.
- Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. New York: Random House. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4000-6782-4.
- Silent Risk: Lectures on Fat Tails, (Anti)Fragility, and Asymmetric Exposure (2013)
- “Electronic Book: Collected Scientific Papers (2012)
- Dynamic Hedging: Managing Vanilla and Exotic Options. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 1997. ISBN 0-471-15280-3.
Scholarly and technical publications
- "On the Difference between Binary Prediction and True Exposure with Implications for Forecasting Tournaments and Decision Making Research" with Philip Tetlock (2013)
- "Mathematical Definition, Mapping, and Detection of (Anti)Fragility", Quantitative Finance (2013), with Raphael Douady
- "The Skin In The Game Heuristic for Protection Against Tail Events", Review of Behavioral Economics (Inaugural Issue) with Constantine Sandis
- "No, Small Probabilities are not "Attractive to Sell": A Comment", 2013, Financial Analysts Journal
- Complexity and the Separation of the Ethical and the Legal, in Oxford University Press Handbook on Professional Economic Ethics: Views from the Economics Profession and Beyond, George DeMartino and Deirdre McCloskey, Editors
- "The Problem is Beyond Psychology: The Real World is More Random than Regression Analyses", International Journal of Forecasting (2012) with Goldstein, D.
- "A New Heuristic Measure of Fragility and Tail Risks: Application to Stress Testing" (August 2012). IMF No. 12/216. with Canetti, Elie R.D., Kinda, Tidiane, Loukoianova, Elena and Schmieder, Christian,
- "The Black Swan of Cairo",Foreign Affairs, 90, 3 (2012) with Blyth, M.
- "Option traders use (very) sophisticated heuristics, never the Black–Scholes–Merton formula", Journal of Economic Behavior and Organizations, 77(2), (February 2011). with Haug, E. G.
- "The Risk Externalities of Too Big to Fail" Physica A (2010) with Tapiero, C.
- "Why Did the Crisis of 2008 Happen?", New Political Economy (2011)
- "Random Jump, not Random Walk". In Francis Diebold and Richard Herring (Eds.), The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable, Princeton University Press. with Mandelbrot, B.,2011
- "Statistical Undecidability", (2011). with Douady, R,
- "How to Prevent Other Financial Crises", 2012,SAIS Review of International Affairs with Martin, G. doi:10.1353/sais.2012.0010
- "The Illusion of Thin Tails Under Aggregation (A Reply to Jack Treynor)", Journal of Investment Management (2012) with Martin, G.
- "The Future Has Thicker Tails than the Past: Model Error as Branching Counterfactuals", Mandelbrot Memorial (2012)
- “The Prediction of Action”, in (eds. T. O' Connor & C. Sandis) A Companion to the Philosophy of Action (Wiley-Blackwell). (2010) with Pilpel, A.,
- "Common Errors in the Interpretation of the Ideas of The Black Swan and Associated Papers",Critical Review, Vol 21, No. 4 (2010)
- Errors, Robustness, and the Fourth Quadrant, International Journal of Forecasting , 2009
- "The Six Mistakes Executives Make in Risk Management", Harvard Business Review , (October 2009). with Golstein, D. G., and Spitznagel, M.,
- "Decision making and planning under low levels of predictability", International Journal of Forecasting (2009) with Makridakis, S.
- "Infinite Variance and the Problems of Practice", Complexity, 14(2). (2008)
- "We Don't Quite Know What We Are Talking About When We Talk About Volatility", Journal of Portfolio Management, (Summer 2007). with Goldstein, D. G.
- "Black Swan and Domains of Statistics", The American Statistician, (August 2007), Vol. 61, No. 3
- "Epistemology and Risk Management", "Risk and Regulation", 13, (Summer 2007) with Pilpel, A.
- "The Illusion of Dynamic Replication", Quantitative Finance, vol. 5, 4, (2006) with Derman, E..
- "Bleed or Blowup: What Does Empirical Psychology Tell Us About the Preference For Negative Skewness?", Journal of Behavioral Finance, 5 (2004)
- “These Extreme Exceptions of Commodity Derivatives.” in Helyette German, Commodities and Commodity Derivatives. New York: Wiley. (2004)
- “Roots of Unfairness.” Literary Research/Recherche littéraire. 21(41–42): 241–254. (2004)
- “On Skewness in Investment Choices.” Greenwich Rountable Quarterly 2. (2004)
- "Fat Tails, Asymmetric Knowledge, and Decision making: Essay in Honor of Benoit Mandelbrot's 80th Birthday." Technical paper series, Willmott (March 2005): 56–59.
- "Homo Ludens and homo Economicus." Foreword to Aaron Brown's The Poker Face of Wall Street. New York: Wiley, 2005. ISBN 978-0470127315
Essays in literary journals
- Le cygne noir de Yevgenia in Delicious Paper (Paris) (2009)[dead link]
- Be a gentleman on the treadmill in The Drawbridge (London) (2010)
- Edge article: "The Opiates of the Middle Class" (2006)
- "On Forecasting." In John Brockman, ed., "What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science and the Age of Certainty. (2006) New York: Harper Perennial.
- Edge article: Real Life is Not a Casino, in John Brockman, ed., Edge Question 2008. New York:Harper Perennial. The article explains Taleb's position on global warming and why we need to be green regardless of models.
- Edge Essay: "The Fourth Quadrant: A Map of the Limits of Statistics" (2008)
- Edge article: The Idea of Iatrogenic Science, in John Brokman, ed., Edge Question 2009. New York: Harper Perennial.
- Edge article: AntiFragility Or the Property of Disorder Loving Systems, in John Brockman, ed., Edge Question 2011. New York: Harper Perennial.
- Taleb was collaborating with Benoit Mandelbrot on a general theory of risk management.
- Taleb also works with Daniel Goldstein on a project to test empirically people's intuitions about ecological and high impact uncertainty.
- Inducted into the Derivatives Hall of Fame in February 2001.
- Selected for the Power 30 in Business by SmartMoney in October 2007.
- 2007 getAbstract International Book Award.
- 2008 Frost & Sullivan Visionary of the Year Award.
- 2008 Prospect Magazine Long list for Public Intellectual of the Year.
- 2009 Made the Forbes Magazine list of "Most Influential Management Gurus".
- In 2011, he made the Bloomberg 50 most influential people in global finance.
- If you see fraud and don't shout fraud, you are a fraud
- Read books are far less valuable than unread ones
- Berenson, Alex. "A Year Later, Little Change on Wall St.", The New York Times (2009-09-11): "Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a statistician, trader, and author, has argued for years that...."
- Baker-Said, Stephanie (March 27, 2008). "Taleb Outsells Greenspan as Black Swan Gives Worst Turbulence". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2008-04-21.
- Appleyard, Bryan. "Books that helped to change the world", The Sunday Times (2009-07-19).
- "Hardcover Business Best Sellers", New York Times (2008-11-02).
- "Mr. Taleb Goes to Washington". The Big Money, The Slate Group. 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2009-10-14. See also "Right Out Of The Blue". Businessworld. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- "The third culture – Nassim Nicholas Taleb". Edge. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- "NASSIM NICOLAS TALEB, Author of the National Bestseller, The Black Swan, JOINS POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE OF NYU", Polytechnic Institute of New York University (2008-10-03)
- "Brevan Howard Shows Paranoid Survive in Hedge Fund of Time Outs", Bloomberg News (2009-03-31): "'black swans' – difficult-to-predict events that can wipe out a fund. The term was popularized by hedge fund manager and author Nassim Taleb."
- "He Said It", Washington Post (2008-10-18): "Nassim Taleb a former hedge fund manager commenting on the performance of accounts run by Universa Investments where he is an adviser...."
- "What I read", USA Today (2006-08-04): "Taleb, a hedge fund manager, warns of trying to predict behavior by analyzing past successes."
- Appleyard, Bryan (2008-06-01). "Nassim Nicholas Taleb the prophet of boom and doom". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- The Risk Maverick, Stephanie Baker-Said, Bloomberg L.P., May 2008
- Dubner, Stephen. "Straight From the Black Swan’s Mouth", The New York Times (2007-05-21).
- Baker, Stephanie (2011-07-14). "'Black Swan's' Taleb to Advise IMF on Risk". Bloomberg.
- Baker, Stephanie. "Taleb’s Universa Bets on Black Swan Deflation, Hyperinflation", Bloomberg News (2009-06-01).
- Patterson, Scott (2008-11-03). "October Pain Was 'Black Swan' Gain – WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2009-10-14.(subscription required)
- Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Uncertainty". IAI TV. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- Wighton, David. "Lunch with the FT: Nassim Nicholas Taleb", Financial Times (2008-03-28).
- Helmore, Edward. "The new sage of Wall Street", The Guardian (2008-09-28).
- Nassim Taleb. "Opacity and a-Platonicity: A Philosophical & Literary Notebook". Retrieved 2007-08-13. "I am Greek-Orthodox"
- "The Taleb Palazzo in Amioun", fooledbyrandomness.com (home page of Nassim N. Taleb). Accessed 16 December 2010.
- "Cynthia Shelton, Business Student, Is Wed in Atlanta – The". New York Times. 1988-01-31. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- "French Thesis Database". Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Home Page of Hélyette Geman".
- Kolman, Joe (December/January 1997). "The World According to Nassim Taleb". Derivatives Strategy magazine. Retrieved 2006-09-19.
- "Where Are You Getting Your Probabilities?", June 11, 2008, Book Review by James Case 
- Stone, Amey (October 24, 2005). "Profiting from the Unexpected". News Analysis (Businessweek). Retrieved 2006-09-19.
- Harrington, Shannon D. (2010-07-19). "Pimco Sells Black Swan Protection as Wall Street Markets Fear". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- "Faculty Biography". NYU Poly. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- Patterson, Scott (2007-07-13). "Mr. Volatility and the Swan – WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- "Taleb Says Business Schools Use ‘Bogus' Risk Models (Update1)". Bloomberg. 2008-11-07.
- "/ UK – Ten principles for a Black Swan-proofworld". Ft.com. 2009-04-08. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- "Mr. Taleb goes to Washington". Slate. 2009-03-26.
- 'Hottest thinker in the world' joins faculty – September 08, 2008, Polytechnic Institute of New York University 
- Useem, Jerry (21 March 2005). "The Smartest Books We Know". Fortune. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- Schuessler, Jennifer. "Hardcover". The New York Times.
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- Interview with Constantine Sandis
- Roberts, Russ. "Nassim Taleb Podcasts". EconTalk. Library of Economics and Liberty.
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb Interview — June 2010 New Statesman
- Video : In conversation with Daniel Kahnemann, New York Public Library, February 2013
- FrankVoisin.com — Summary and review of Fooled By Randomness