Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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The curse of modernity is that we are increasingly populated by a class of people who are better at explaining than understanding,
or better at explaining than doing.
Hammurabi’s best-known injunction is as follows: "If a builder builds a house and the house collapses and causes the death of the owner of the house—the builder shall be put to death."
The Golden Rule wants you to Treat others the way you would like them to treat you.
The more robust Silver Rule says Do not treat others the way you would not like them to treat you.
Don't give crap, don't take crap.
More practical approach is:
Start by being nice to every person you meet. But if someone tries to exercise power over you, excercise power over him.
There is always an element of fools of randomness and crooks of randomness in matters of uncertainty; one has a lack of understanding, the second has warped incentives. One, the fool, takes risks he doesn’t understand, mistaking his own past luck for skills, the other, the crook, transfers risks to others.
There is another point: we may not know beforehand if an action is foolish—but reality knows.
You do not want to win an argument. You want to win.
Indeed you need to win whatever you are after: money, territory, the heart of a grammar specialist, or a (pink) convertible car. For focusing just on words puts one on a very dangerous slope, since
We are much better at doing than understanding.
Many kids would learn to love mathematics if they had some investment in it, and, more crucially, they would build an instinct to spot its misapplications.
People who are not morally independent tend to fit ethics to their profession (with a minimum of spinning), rather than find a profession that fits their ethics.
Studying courage in textbooks doesn’t make you any more courageous than eating cow meat makes you bovine.
By some mysterious mental mechanism, people fail to realize that the principal thing you can learn from a professor is how to be a professor—and the chief thing you can learn from, say, a life coach or inspirational speaker is how to become a life coach or inspirational speaker.
Sometimes I would offer something for sale for, say, $5, but communicated with the client through a salesperson, and the salesperson would come back with an "improvement", of $5.10.
Something never felt right about the extra ten cents.
It was, simply, not a sustainable way of doing business. What if the customer subsequently discovered that my initial offer was $5?
No compensation is worth the feeling of shame.
In Canada, when we say bilingual, it is English- speaking, and when we say French-speaking it becomes bilingual.
You cannot steal "a little bit" or murder "moderately" — just as you cannot keep kosher and eat "just a little bit" of pork on Sunday barbecues.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has
Use laws that are old but food that is fresh
The Romans judged their political system by asking not whether it made sense but whether it worked.
Anything that smacks of competition destroys knowledge.
There is this illusion that just as businessmen are motivated and rewarded by profits, scientists should be motivated and rewarded by honors and recognition. That’s not how it works. Remember, science is a minority rule: a few will run it, others are just back-office clerks.
Doing things in the real world, in some professions (such as medicine), bears the name clinical, which is not deemed to be scientific. Many disciplines lack this third dimension, the clinical one.
Men feel the good less intensely than the bad.
(A psychological theory by which a loss is more painful than a gain is pleasant.)
Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations, it is the rule.
Courage (risk taking) is the highest virtue.
We need entrepreneurs.
How much you truly “believe” in something can be manifested only through what you are willing to risk for it.
Not everything that happens happens for a reason, but everything that survives survives for a reason.
As an engineer with an official degree in software engineering, I am primarily interested in science and technology. I enjoy reading literature of many genres, and I especially like those from human behavior, sociology, history, and, should I say, science
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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