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Nassim Nicholas Taleb – A Journey of 100 Steps

8 min read ⌚ 

Love him or hate him, Nassim Nicholas Taleb is one of “the world’s top intellectuals” and maybe even “the hottest thinker in the world” right now. Notice the quotations: Bryan Appleyard, a noted journalist, remarked the latter, and Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel laureate, claims the former.

‘Nuff said, ha?

Well, we’re just gettin’ warmed up!

Who Is Nassim Nicholas Taleb?

Nassim Nicholas TalebAt the 2009 World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, there were some, well, let’s just say, pretty recognizable faces.

And by “pretty recognizable faces” we mean the leaders of the free and the not-so-free world: Wen Jiabao, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel… You know: the people who basically control your life.

Speaking of which: there were also bankers. Numerous, numerous bankers. It was 2009, after all – the year of the big short, the year after the flood.

However, the real “rock star” of the event was a Lebanese-American statistician and scholar, who, in fact, had all but predicted the financial crisis of 2007-8 in his 2007 book, “The Black Swan.”

His name: Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

His post festum verdict – by the way, uttered in Davos in his recognizable irreverent manner – it was long overdue! “I’m happy that Lehman Brothers collapsed,” he added afterward, inspiring one or two death threats at his address. “irresponsible bankers and reckless Wall Street traders should have been punished long time ago.”

As you know, in the end, they weren’t. Because many were bailed out in the following years by the U.S. Treasury in a “too big to fail” frenzy.

Ever vigorous and sacrilegious – not when it comes to religion, though – Nicholas Taleb hasn’t backed out of his crusade. In his last book, “Skin in the Game” he wags his finger high above his head and then points it in the direction of one person, the synecdoche of evil: Robert Rubin.

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