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Read some interesting notes on Nassim Taleb.

There is a recorded interview here of Nassim Taleb on mp3. Here are the notes.

Here the key points of Nassim Taleb’s interview for me:

  1. Confirmation Bias – We put to much importance on the events we see and not enough on what we don’t see.
  2. Hindsight Bias – we think we predicted the odd event, or we could have predicted it.
  3. 80% of epidemiological studies fail to replicate – If a study says “X is found to give you cancer” or help with weight loss, do not assume that the study is correct. This comes from the mistake of trying to see a pattern out of data where there actually isn’t any.
  4. Long Options – In a world of statistical extremes you want to be buying long options rather than writing short options. The statistical worst case scenario always happens which can wipe out all your many small gains in one hit. The statistical best case scenario can wipe out all your small losses in one hit with much to be gained on the upside. Be a venture capitalist instead of a Insurer or Banker.
  5. Go to parties – because serendipity matters. This can set you up for a good black swan event. If you’re looking to meet people its probably better to meet one exceptional person than lots of mediocre ones.
  6. Just do it – we are not good at planning, we’re not good at knowing, we’re just good at doing. The vast majority of major breakthroughs came by accident.

However, saying that success requires luck is not the same as saying that only luck determines success. Arthur De Vany has a lot articles on randomness and Nassim Taleb.


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