35 Important Insights From Nassim Taleb's Facebook Page

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Facebook is the perfect platform for eccentric author Nassim Taleb, whose knack for thinking outside the box and waxing poetic is unparalleled.

Here's how the acclaimed author of The Black Swan describes his account: " This is for philosophical discussions. Please, no finance (or similarly depraved topics), and no journalists."

Oops.

Taleb's Facebook —  which boasts  33,000+ followers  —  is truly a must-like for anyone interested in success, failure, Brooklyn, the modern condition, philosophy, the sordid state of journalism, or all of the above.

Here are Taleb's 35 most important observations. Each is a quote.

  • The artificial gives us hangovers, the natural inverse-hangovers.
  • The only problem with the last laugh is that the winner has to laugh alone.
  • Intelligence without imagination: a deadly combination.
  • There is no more unmistakable sign of failure than that of a middle-aged man boasting of his successes in college.
  • Never trust a journalist unless she's your mother.
  • One of life's machinations is to make some people both rich and unhappy, that is, jointly fragile and deprived of hope.
  • [If] someone is making an effort to ignore you he is not ignoring you.
  • The danger of reading financial & other news (or econobullshit) is that things that don't make sense at all start making sense to you after progressive immersion.
  • It's a sign of weakness to worry about showing signs of weakness.
  • Friends, I wonder if someone has computed how much would be saved if we shut down economics and political science departments in universities. Those who need to research these subjects can do so on their private time.
  • I trust those who trust me and distrust those who are suspicious of others.
  • A good man is warm and respectful towards the waiter or people of lower rank.
  • Journalists feel contempt for those who fear them and a deep resentment for those who don't.
  • When someone starts a sentence with the first half containing "I", "not", and "but", the "not" should be removed and the "but" replaced with "therefore.”
  • High Modernity: routine in place of physical effort, physical effort in place of mental expenditure, & mental expenditure in place of mental clarity.
  • The only valid political system is one that can handle an imbecile in power without suffering from it.
  • Journalists cannot grasp that what is interesting is not necessarily important; most cannot even grasp that what is sensational is not necessarily interesting.
  • Never buy a product that the owner of the company that makes it doesn't use, or, in the case of, say, medication, wouldn't contingently use.
  • Just realized that to politely get rid of someone people in Brooklyn say "call me if you need anything."
  • Injuries done to us by others tend to be acute; the self-inflicted ones tend to be chronic.
  • We often benefit from harm done to us by others; almost never from self-inflicted injuries. 
  • You will never know if someone is an asshole until he becomes rich.
  • When someone writes "I dislike you but I agree with you", I read "I dislike you because I agree with you."
  • A great book eludes summaries. A great aphorism resists expansion. The rest is just communication.
  • For a free person, the optimal - most opportunistic - route between two points should never be the shortest one.
  • What counts is not *what* people say, it is *how much* energy they spend saying it.
  • Used skillfully, a compliment will be much more offensive than any disparagement.  
  • I trust those who are greedy for money a thousand time more than those who are greedy for credentials.
  • Just as eating cow-meat doesn't turn you into a cow, studying philosophy doesn't make you wiser.
  • It is a great compliment for an honest person to be mistaken for a crook by a crook.
  • Many want to learn how to memorize things; few seek that rare ability to forget.
  • If you have something very important to say, whisper it.
  • The ultimate freedom lies in not having to explain "why" you did something.
  • A book that can be summarized should not be written as a book.
  • Friends, to confirm: for those who happen to be in Rome, let's meet 6 PM tonite for a short expresso meeting (I buy, I insist) at Sant'Eustachio caffè, Piazza di Sant'Eustachio, 82.
Words to live by.


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