Nassim Nicholas Taleb traveled the conventional route of education to real-life and theory to practice in inverse sequence from the common one, moving from the practical to the philosophical to the mathematical. He started as a trader, then got a doctorate in mid-trading career; he wrote literary books before writing technical papers, and his work became progressively more technical and formal with time.

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Nassim Taleb Excerpts with John Boyd (2015). These are excerpts of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book Antifragile. I use Maestro’s words as a skeleton to build upon some ideas synthesized by Col John Boyd and Miyamoto Musashi. Themes include: Knowledge as intuition built from engaging with reality, understanding when an adversary is employing the Art of the Advantage against you and when to call bulls*t, and why it’s important to embrace uncertainty and randomness in order to affirm life and accomplish life’s aim.

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Articles and Videos

Localism in Lebanon (2019). "What’s going on in Lebanon? People just discovered localism; that you don’t want to be managed from the top but from the bottom. You want to manage yourself, or you want to manage yourself as a community with your neighbor, or with the extent the neighborhood, or with the commune. So you extend all the way up… is more of the problem than the solution. The state is not composed of some abstract entity called the State, but civil servants with extremely different interests." (Twitter).

Nassim Taleb on the Current Lebanese Political and Economic Situation (2019). Nassim speaks about Lebanon's reliance on circular bank lending, how the State created incentives that destroyed the local economy, how patronage in the government works as a veil of legality that created roadblocks for local economy, centralization of culture and how Nation-States killed localism in the Ottoman Empire…"that’s why you should have your own corner and then you set up your relations with others as you wish, just like the British are doing with Brexit… in UK, Spain, Italy they’re still a bunch of regions the idea of the Nation-State has still not been applied… they all have their own identifies… they are decentralized communities." (YouTube).

Interview with Nassim Taleb (2019. Interview about localism, and the Beirut Madinati experience. (YouTube).

Learn to Harvest Uncertainty (2019). Nassim Taleb talks about how the real skill in life aren’t skills in handling the known, but how you can handle the unknown and actually "make a buck out of it". Discussion and debate with Dmitry Peskov at the WorldSkills Conference. (YouTube).

Conversation with Harold Hudson Channer (2001). The video highlights Taleb's early thoughts on a range of topics: Skepticism; knowledge about the dynamics of history; inferential claims, stoicism facing random events; theories of non-hedonic happiness; probability theory; statistical physics; opacity & decision making under incomplete information; the mental biases making us "fooled" by randomness. Remarkable is @ (34:27), Taleb described Dawkins as his "master in thinking" and later demonstrating that we all can be fooled. (YouTube).

Commencement Speech at American University of Beirut (2016). Avoid completely: Muscles without strength; friendships without trust; opinion without risk; change without aesthetics; food without nourishment; facts without rigor; degrees without erudition; militarism without fortitude; progress without civilization; complication without debt; fluency without content; religion without tolerance. Nassim Taleb’s commentary on the speech. (YouTube).

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Painting by Luca Giordano: The Death of Seneca.
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