Search Results for: taleb

The Definition of a Black Swan

October 10, 2011

A black swan is a rare unexpected event. Black swans can be positive or negative. There are ways to account for this problem including an understanding of The Lucretius Problem, factoring in a Margin of Saftey, and having skin in the game. In The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Nassim Taleb offers […]


Intervention Bias: When to Step in and When To Leave Things Alone

August 18, 2011

Nassim Taleb, author of many books—The Black Swan, Fooled By Randomness, and The Bed of Procrustes— also wrote a book on fragility called Antifragile (antifragile defined). One of the core ideas of Antifragile is around our tendency to intervene in situations regardless of whether that benefit is a net positive. There is a term for this, iatrogenics. Why do […]


Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (109 Models Explained)

August 02, 2011

We wrote a book on mental models. You can pre-order an audible or kindle copy. Mental models are how we understand the world. Not only do they shape what we think and how we understand but they shape the connections and opportunities that we see. Mental models are how we simplify complexity, why we consider […]


Reductionism: Understanding the Parts, Misunderstanding the Whole

June 16, 2011

In 1637 René Descartes changed the course of science forever with the publication of Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One’s Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences. That work lays the foundation to modern science by putting forth two enduring ideas about reductionism: As a way of knowing (“divide each of the […]


Suppressing Volatility Makes the World Less Predictable and More Dangerous

June 15, 2011

I recommend reading Nassim Taleb’s recent article (PDF) in Foreign Affairs. It’s the ultimate example of iatrogenics by the fragilista. If you don’t have time here are my notes: Complex systems that have artificially suppressed volatility tend to become extremely fragile, while at the same time exhibiting not visible risks. Seeking to restrict variability seems […]


Mental Model: Anchoring

August 20, 2009

We often pay attention to irrelevant information. This happens because we develop estimates by starting with an initial anchor that is based on whatever information is provided and adjust from the anchor (sometimes our adjustments are not sufficient). This is called anchoring. More problematic perhaps is that the existence of an anchor leads people to […]