Nassim Nicholas Taleb – A Journey of 100 Steps

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.

“Nobody on this planet represents more vividly the scam of the banking industry,” claims Taleb. “He made $120 million from Citibank, which was technically insolvent. And now we, the taxpayers, are paying for it.”

And no – that’s not the end of his tirade!

“He represents everything that’s bad in America,” Nassim Taleb adds. “The evil in one person represented. When we write the history, he will be seen as the John Gotti of our era. He’s the Teflon Don of Wall Street.”

My god – that’s a lot of hatred directed towards one man! But, hold your horses: it’s not enough – if you ask Taleb.

Be warned: the next part may sound a bit Nazi.

Because, you see, Taleb argues for a systemic solution to this “Bob Rubin” problem. And by systemic he means, in no uncertain words, that the world should be remodeled “so people like him don’t exist” in the future.

Now, that’s not too nice, is it?

But, you know what it is, in the humble opinion of your favorite getnugget writing team?

True. Very true.

Because, you, me, us, – the regular Joes, – we will never ever have the option Bob Rubin had: to be bailed out by benevolent trillionaires. You lost some money too in the financial crisis, right? Well, why didn’t someone write you a check in return like Obama did in the case of Rubin?

To add an insult to injury, the government paid him back out of your taxes. And there was nothing you could do about it. There may have been – but it would have got you into prison.

Now, is that a fair game?

No, it is not. Because some people – says Taleb – don’t have skin in it. They risk losing nothing – and may get everything.

We just told you the last chapter of Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s campaign against everything that’s wrong in the world. And, especially, against what’s wrong in the banking and trading system.

And he should know about it a lot, because he is a former trader, having spent more than two decades at the derivatives market.

However, after closing about 650,000 option transactions and analyzing 200,000 risk reports, in 2006, he decided to change careers and become a philosophical essayist and mathematical researcher.

Since then he has completed his “Incerto” quintet, which, in addition to “Skin in the Game” and the three books summarized below, includes a collection of philosophical and practical aphorisms, titled “The Bed of Procrustes.”

In addition, Taleb has written numerous technical and specialized articles, a complete list of which you can find here.

There, you’ll also discover that, in the past, Taleb has worked as a part-time professor at the London Business School, Oxford, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Currently – and ever since a decade ago – he is a Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at the New York University School of Engineering.

If you scroll a little bit down his CV, you’ll find that he’s fluent in French, English, Arabic, and Levantine, that he has a conversational command of Spanish and Italian, and that he is able to read in Greek, Hebrew, and even Aramaic.

Now, you would expect from such an intellectual to have received numerous honors, wouldn’t you?

Well, he has received none, because as his CV states – in all caps – Taleb has stopped accepting awards, honorary doctorates, listings, etc.

Hell, he has even campaigned for immediate cancellation of the Nobel Prize in Economics, stating that – get this! – economic theories may cause devastating damage, and that academic knowledge is an illusion.

An excellent moment for our concluding quote:

We humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas.

Best Nassim Nicholas Taleb Books

#1. Fooled by Randomness Summary: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

Now, what does this mean?

In other words, what does Taleb, a mathematician, and a scholar, wants to say when he says that we deal with the tension of limited knowledge by “squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas”?

Let us answer you this question with a question: are you capable of staring at the clouds and not seeing some shape?

The truth is that there can’t be elephant-shaped or rabbit-shaped clouds in the sky: it’s all random by definition. However, since you are a human, you can’t help yourself seeing them. This is an excellent example of how you may be fooled by randomness, incidentally the title of Taleb’s first book in his multi-volume “Incerto” series.

An investigation of luck and probability, an analysis of uncertainty and human error, “Fooled by Randomness” was, to many, an eye-opening account of how little we know and can know about the unexplainable world.

And it made Taleb – in the words of Malcolm Gladwell – “Wall Street’s principal dissident.” “Fooled By Randomness,” he added, “is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther’s ninety-nine theses were to the Catholic Church.”

No matter how sophisticated our choices, how good we are at dominating the odds, randomness will have the last word.

#2. The Black Swan Summary: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

The Black Swan SummaryAfter “Fooled by Randomness,” Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winner we mentioned above and the author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” was quick to point out that Taleb “changed the way many people think about uncertainty.”

And describing his most famous book “The Black Swan,” he added that it “is an original and audacious analysis of the ways in which humans try to make sense of unexpected events.”

Because Taleb wasn’t done with merely pointing out that the world is more random than we actually perceive it. In “The Black Swan” he went a step further: not only the world is haphazard, he claims here, but it is also explained away by theories which try to make sense of its most random and least predictable events.

You may have already read about a bunch of these events in Gladwell’s “Outliers.” Because that’s how they are called in statistics. But, after Taleb, most people know them as black swan events.

That is events that are rare, have an extreme impact on the world, and can be only retrospectively rationalized.

You can’t prepare for them. But you can prepare for their impact.

Want to know how?

Read Taleb’s “Ten Principles for a Black Swan-proof World.”

I will repeat the following until I am hoarse: it is contagion that determines the fate of a theory in social science, not its validity.

#3. Antifragile Summary: Things That Gain from Disorder

In 2012, Nassim Taleb seemingly ended his “Incerto” series of books with a book titled “Antifragile.” (Fortunately, this year, with “Skin in the Game,” we found out that he had more things to say on the matter.)

However since – once again – he was explaining a concept barely even touched upon by writers and thinkers before him, he had first to explain what the name was referring to.

“Some things benefit from shocks,” Taleb begins the book. “They thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile.”

“Antifragile” builds upon the idea of a Black Swan-proof world; namely, it states that things should be created in an antifragile manner, so as to not merely resist crises, but be improved by them. Human bones, for example, strengthen when subjected to tension and stress.

Why shouldn’t our economic system as well?

“Antifragile” is, as the reviews stated, iconoclastic and revolutionary. So, don’t expect that you can guess any of Taleb’s proposals.

Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.

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“Nassim Nicholas Taleb Quotes”

The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary. Click To Tweet Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking. Click To Tweet Heroes are heroes because they are heroic in behavior, not because they won or lost. Click To Tweet When you develop your opinions on the basis of weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new information is obviously more accurate. Click To Tweet The psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer has a simple heuristic. Never ask the doctor what you should do. Ask him what he would do if he were in your place. You would be surprised at the difference. Click To Tweet

Final Notes

Nassim Nicholas Taleb emerged on the intellectual scene of the 21st century as a sort of a “black swan event.” Antifragile, he seems unshaken by any of the numerous – and some of them even quite rational – criticisms of his work and views.

Maybe it’s because he has had his fair share of skin in the games he talks about. Or, perhaps, because he knows that most of the rules are invented, so he doesn’t let himself be fooled by their inevitable randomness.

Either way, he’s not someone you can just look past; because even his detractors swear by many of his theories.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Skin in the Game Summary | FREE PDF |

Skin in the Game SummaryHidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is one of the foremost thinkers of the modern age, a guy who can change the way you think about the world with almost every book he’s ever written.


Because he has had his fair share of meaningful experience; because he has taken the risks – losing some, but winning as well; in a word, because he has had his skin in the game.

Who Should Read “Skin in the Game”? And Why?

Even in a world of so many things happening, there are few intellectuals so influential that each of their books or speeches is an event. Think Steven Pinker, Sam Harris, Yuval Noah Harari, Malcolm GladwellNassim Nicholas Taleb is certainly part of this very rare group. Though, to be fair to him, he feels as if he’s in an even rarer.

For one, he doesn’t like at all the first half of the aforelisted foursome, comparing the first one to a Burger King drive-in in the national park of science. (Yes, they have debated a bit acrimoniusly in the past…)

Skin in the Game” was published on February 27, 2018 – and it’s already (we’re writing this summary barely a month later) – sold out in most of the bookstores around you! To say that it’s a book which will interest mostly economists and risk analysts would be an understatement. Just as it would be to say that people interested in sociology and social psychology will have a ball!

Just like every other work by Taleb, “Skin in the Game” is a book everyone should have a look at. And a book very few will regret buying.

About Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas TalebNassim Nicholas Taleb is a Lebanese-American scholar and essayist, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and one of the best-known, most profoundly beloved, and universally respected nonfiction authors.

A polyglot, Taleb earned bachelor and master of science degrees from the University of Paris before earning an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Management Science from Paris Dauphine University in 1998. He started his professional career as a statistician and trader, before becoming a risk analyst and a published author.

His books focus mostly on risk management and uncertainty. In fact, in November 2016, four of them were published in a bundle called “Incerto”: “Fooled by Randomness,” “The Black Swan,” “The Bed of Procrustes,” and “Antifragile.”

Skin in the Game” joins the series.

“Skin in the Game Summary”

You may have already heard the story. But, even so, it’s worth repeating.

In Shakespeare’s famous play “The Merchant of Venice,” Bassanio, a young Venetian nobleman, asks his friend Antonio for 3,000 ducats so that he can woo a wealthy heiress called Portia.

Antonio, the guy with the profession from the title, doesn’t have the money at the moment but tells Bassanio that he can be the guarantor if Bassanio finds someone who’ll lend him the sum. Bassanio finds Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, who agrees to give Bassanio the money on one condition: if Antonio can’t pay him back “the pounds,” Shylock will get a pound of Antonio’s flesh.

That, right there, is the literalized version of the phrase “skin in the game.” It means having some part of you at stake; it means risking to lose something yours instead of merely transferring the risks to the others.

Or, in the words of Taleb himself:

Now, if you watched the video carefully, you might have noticed that Taleb mentions Hammurabi; and let’s face it, his laws are not actually considered the paragon of democracy today! But, Taleb’s “Skin in the Game,” nevertheless, sees much more justice in some of them than in the laws – or, the lack of them – we have today.

Bear with us for a second to see this in practice!

You are a client, and you want to buy some fast stocks and earn some fast money. The trader tells you that he has some which are great for your portfolio and which will undoubtedly gain value very soon. You buy them, of course; sometime later, you lose your initial investment.

But, that’s okay – the trader couldn’t have known everything! Win some, lose some – that’s the unofficial rule of the game, right?

Well, that’s the problem! It is for you; It’s not for him.

Either way, he’s going to get his money. And, as Taleb learned while working for an investment bank himself, what you were told when you bought the stocks was probably absolute nonsense. The trader almost certainly had some surplus and wanted to sell the unwanted shares.

And, since he is a seller – he used each and every dirty trick in the book to persuade you and influence your decision.

But, then again, we just said: he is a seller. Meaning: he is also a storyteller. Consequently, he has all the right to do that. In other words: he didn’t do anything illegal; it’s the buyer’s fault – he shouldn’t have believed him.

Well, you’re partly right – if you live in a WEIRD society! Many other cultures, just like Ancient Babylon did, consider this illegal. And, in order to stop it from happening, their laws are based around grabbing some of the stockbrokers’ skin – and putting in the game as well!

Take, for example, the Islamic Shariah law.

Among other things, it includes something called “gharar.” Literally, you can translate the word as “risk.” Interpreters, however, usually, define it along these lines: “the sale of a thing which is not present;” or “the sale of a thing whose consequence is not known;” or the “sale involving hazard in which one does not know whether it will come to be or not.”

Before we spend few sentences explaining this, we will kindly ask you to compare the concept of gharar to Matthew McConaughey’s legendary speech in “The Wolf of Wall Street”:

Now, back to gharar.

Taleb says that what they’re doing on Wall Street should be illegal. Because it’s based on the asymmetry of information: the seller knows much more than the buyer. And, what’s more, the seller gets the rewards; the buyer is stuck with the risks.

It’s irrelevant if the latter wins as well. What’s relevant is that, unlike him, the former can’t lose anything.

Take, for example, Bob Rubin, temporary chairman of Citigroup, and, in the dictionary of Taleb, synonym for all that’s wrong with banking executives. To quote the author, Rubin “collected more than $120 million in compensation from Citibank in the decade preceding the banking crash of 2008. When the bank, literally insolvent, was rescued by the taxpayer, he didn’t write any cheque – he invoked uncertainty as an excuse. Heads he wins, tails he shouts ‘Black Swan’.”

Interestingly enough, even though we need Taleb to point it out to us, we already know this on a gut level! That’s why we hate bankers and large corporations and consider Wall Street a den of thieves. Simply put, unlike entrepreneurs (who we think of as role models), they didn’t go all in!

Even worse: they earned their money by risking almost nothing at all! And that, even though it’s perfectly legal, is morally wrong. And should be unlawful as well!

“For social justice,” concludes Taleb, “focus on symmetry and risk sharing. You cannot make profits and transfer the risks to others, as bankers and large corporations do… Forcing skin in the game corrects this asymmetry better than thousands of laws and regulations.”

Just ask evolution!

Key Lessons from “Skin in the Game”

1.      Asymmetry Should Be Illegal
2.      Usually it’s the Minority Which Rules the Majority
3.      Oh, the Elaborate Web of Lies We Trap Ourselves Into!

Asymmetry Should Be Illegal

If you need to take one – this is the main takeaway from Nassim Taleb’s newest book: social justice should be based on the symmetry of risk and reward. In other words, people who don’t risk – and don’t have skin in the game (or: SITG, for short) – shouldn’t be allowed to reap the rewards.

Yes: we’re looking at you, stockbrokers, bankers, sales reps, CEOs, fund managers! How about doing something – with your own money first!

(On an interesting side note: here’s a real-life scenario of how should risk/reward symmetry work. When one footballer broke the leg of another, all that he got was a yellow card. A judge decided otherwise: he will be suspended until the injured player is fine and gets back on the field!

Now, that’s justice. Talebian justice, if you will.)

skin in the game pdf

Usually it’s the Minority Which Rules the Majority

Many people have advocated against the tyranny of the minority. According to Taleb, however, it’s more ubiquitous than we care to admit. And not that strange.

For example, do you know that 70% of the lamb meat in England is processed according to halal standards? And only 4% of the British population are Muslims!

Then, why is that?

Well, for the very same reason that if you have one person in your family who hates GMO, you’ll buy all of your fruits from a non-GMO market!

It is the only thing which makes sense!

Oh, the Elaborate Web of Lies We Trap Ourselves Into!

Smart rich people – says Taleb (and the evidence confirms it) – don’t usually live in large solitary mansions.


Because, obviously, everyone would enjoy more in a lively neighborhood!

However, agents trick them into buying those houses, because they have much money, and, consequently, can buy something expensive with less risk than you and me. For the same reason, the food in expensive restaurants is – prepare for it! – probably worse than the one in the cheap ones. For one, the latter can’t risk tiny portions.

So, the next time you want to spend a fortune on an expensive wine –


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“Skin in the Game” Quotes

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. Click To Tweet What matters isn’t what a person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing. Click To Tweet Bureaucracy is a construction by which a person is conveniently separated from the consequences of his or her actions. Click To Tweet Alexander said that it was preferable to have an army of sheep led by a lion than an army of lions led by a sheep. Click To Tweet When young people who ‘want to help mankind’ come to me asking, ‘What should I do?’ …. my suggestion is: 1) Never engage in virtue signaling; 2) Never engage in rent-seeking; 3) You must start a business. Click To Tweet If you give an opinion, and someone follows it, you are morally obligated to be, yourself, exposed to its consequences. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Skin in the Game” is not Nassim Taleb’s best book – but, it’s certainly his “most provocative and practical” one. His idiosyncratic style – which gives him the opportunity to talk about everything from Kant to Trump – will help you understand complex ideas effortlessly – once again.

And maybe – even teach you how you can live a better and juster life!

So, we guess there’s no reason to add now that “Skin in the Game” is a must-read. Because, let’s face it, it is from the very moment you notice the name of its author!    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

8 Books That Will Change How You Think

books that make you thinkIn general, we all live in a small little world, designed to support our goals and vision. Truthfully, this little thing that we call “mind” – is actually the end product of our thinking patterns.

On numerous occasions, the world has shown that these thoughts and emotions come only as a result of our belief system. As you can see, their trustworthiness is at stake, and one must take a strong defensive stance to protect its shallow limitations.

At what cost? – Perhaps, the society ought to awake from a deep sleep and see the big picture. The cultural, religious, national and traditional background have an essential role in developing a person’s mindset.

Experts and self-aware gurus tackle ignorance with tips that are easily applicable and acceptable to most people. However, few don’t want to follow this example and stick to their foolish ideas and superficial beliefs.

In this article, we would like to list a dozen books that will ultimately trigger a new behavior, and hopefully transform you into a happy and self-confident person.


Books That Will Change How You Think#1. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

We unconsciously underestimate the influence of random events that shape our lives and determine our future. “Fooled by Randomness” explains why you shouldn’t so quickly disregard the impact of luck and embrace the uncertainty.

In this book, you will be introduced to the idea of changeableness and hopefully open your eyes to the possibility that you can’t govern everything. Nassim Taleb also goes into detail about decision-making and how sometimes randomly selected groups can outsmart intelligent individuals.

books that changed the way you think#2. Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective – Mark Epstein

Mark uncovers the basics of Buddhist teaching and targets Westerners. Monks throughout centuries have been considered as the ultimate force against depression and anxiety. Find your inner reality; stop running around absent purpose, just adapting to different environments.

Thoughts Without a Thinker” gives a new logic to the world and clears up some misleading concepts that contribute to unhappiness. With such force ragging towards you, it’s best to be on the lookout for proven techniques and options.

books that changed the way you think#3. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

First, “Drive” focuses on maintaining total control of human behavior, especially at work. To evoke such mindset, Daniel recommends the usability of the well-known risk/reward system to stimulate productiveness and confront laziness.

With this model in mind, many companies drive their employees forward by adjusting the system to their practices and policies. A well-written plan can be decisive in the battle against competitiveness among workers and crucial when it comes to fulfilling the company’s vision.

books will change way you think#4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

Both introverts and extroverts play a significant role in helping the society to create value for its members. In every environment, you can find various personalities that have proven their worth to the world with their ideas and potential.

When reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain, you will receive in-depth knowledge about the differences between these two groups, and how we can turn this into our advantage. Instead of opposing varieties, we must embrace and convert them into an acceptable form of life.

best books on thinking#5. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness – Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein

Who knows what is hiding in the future? – Sometimes we act as though we have all the information. In truth, this notion gives you only a sense of false security that ultimately fails to prove its point. The most challenging part is for us to resist the manipulation emerging from external factors that try to control your movement.

Nudge” emphasizes the value of these tendencies and promotes a healthy way of opposing them. With a bit of practice and sincerity, you can really get the better of them and hopefully achieve happiness without having to adjust to anyone or anything.

books that changed your perception#6. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck

Mindset” is a book that is written to describe how our limitations and beliefs define our way of life. If you can’t cope with your self-imposed ideas that you have about yourself, you’ll end up stuck, without room for progress.

Some persons nurture an inflexible attitude that brings them all sorts of sadness. Without openness to various scenarios, you will always be on the verge of emotional breakdown. Developing a “growth” mindset takes time and patience, but it sure is worth it.

books change the way you think#7. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

In the past, becoming rich was a privilege only for a small circle of people, who had access to various information and top education. Nowadays, when wealth is no longer a hereditary matter, we all share pretty much the same opportunity of finding it.

As money seekers, we must adjust to the digital age, and exploit our full potential. Seize the day – they say, but what’s the real meaning? – It indicates that you should not waste your time doing things that produce little worth and start operating with precision and dedication.

best books about thinking#8. The Power of Positive Thinking – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Dr. Peale, again and again, places emphasis on the power of faith when conducting any activity. He implies that you must believe in victory, before reaching it. In a race against time, Norman presents practical tips that are underlined in “The Power of Positive Thinking.”

Your ambitions must be matched with the right dose of hope and realistic incentives. By reading it, you’ll understand how to:

  • Believe in yourself, regardless of the circumstances
  • Ignite that inner power from within
  • Develop a new plan for reaching your goals
  • Improve your relationships with other people
  • Disregard the worry habit and strive for peacefulness and relaxation
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself

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Books That Will Change How You Think

Final Notes

Our thoughts are the greatest weaponry we got to defend ourselves against harmful influences.

If you feel a yearning for reaching the desired destination, perhaps you should change your mindset entirely, before you proceed.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Black Swan Summary – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan Summary

MicroSummary: Nassim Nicholas Taleb explores in The Black Swan the problems of perception caused in people by random, unexpected events such as 9/11, which have an enormous impact on humanity and which people try to explain to no avail. It’s a fantastic book for helping you get to know each other better and prevent you from falling into rational pitfalls in which we find ourselves trying to explain unpredictable situations and learn from them. Random events, along with our cognition failures, create logical challenges that, if we do not understand how our brain works and how we deal with them, can bring us major problems. 

The Impact of the Highly Improbable

What is a Black Swan? Is it something positive, or a mere reflection of the bad things that occur?

Do you ask yourself these questions as you are reading this? “The Black Swan Summary enters into the depths of human development and resolves many mysteries linked to it.

Stay with us to find out what this concept means and how it shapes your mindset.

Who Should Read “The Black Swan”? and Why?

You should. Yes, you.

“The Black Swan” has no particular target group of readers to whom the book is intended.

Written and designed for all audiences especially for enthusiasts that are restless and hungry for new knowledge that opposes the traditional way of predicting, forecasting, analyzing, calculating and estimating different events that happened or may happen in the future.

Taleb as a philosopher tries to confront society’s imposed view with a broader perspective and share it with the public concisely and succinctly.

About Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim N. TalebNassim Nicholas Taleb was born in 1960 in Amioun, Lebanon. He is an American-Lebanese essayist, philosopher researcher, trader, and financier who works and dwells in the US.

As a polyglot Taleb fluently speaks five languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish and he is also able to read classic Greek and Latin scripts.

Currently, he is Dean’s Professor in the Science department at the University of Massachusetts and a professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.

Taleb emphasizes the great importance of randomness and as a “skeptical empiricist” believes that all scientists exaggerate the value of logical and analytical explanations of past data and undervalue the real relevance of randomness in those data.

His point of view – the past can’t and must not be used to predict the future is shared by lots of skeptical philosophers such as Montaigne, Algazel, Pierre Bayle, and David Hume.

His most celebrated works are Fooled by Randomness; The Black Swan; The Bed of Procrustes; AntiFragile, Skin In The Game.

“The Black Swan Summary”

You know that you should read the book and you know who the author is. But you still do not understand what “The Black Swan” is?

Do not worry; we are just getting started.

To understand Black Swan, first, you must comprehend certain critics and opinions by philosophers, experts, and writers in different fields.

Thinking is a relative concept that is based on uncertainty and possibilities.

Harold Bloom describes Hamlet’s predicament, not as a concept that implies “Thinking Too Much” but rather as one that signifies” The Thinking is ongoing too good,” by not allowing any rest to take place from illusions.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb as a well-known essayist, philosopher, and trader describe today’s economists, gurus, so-called “experts,” bankers and CEOs incompetent to understand black swans, to predict future events and the risk they carry with them.

Now we get to define the term. “Black swans” represent profoundly meaningful, sometimes consequential and unbelievable events that may or may not happen at some point.

Black swans are labeled as an unfortunate turn of events, which are not only explainable but understandable as well. Anyway, you have to show flexibility and open-mindset to accept such dose of uncertainty without falling into despair.

Over the course of thousands of years, the symbolic meaning of Black Swans has swept the world. It changes history, literature, business climate, science, economy and everything the sun touches. As the world is “invaded” by technology – globalization takes control of the processes.

Connecting with each other is becoming a straightforward mechanism, now more than ever. The human mind also goes with the flow, by eradicating its delusions and embracing randomness as something that can’t be eliminated.

The Bell Curve is one of the few statistical-forecasting factors, which turn a blind eye to the effects deriving from black swans. These tools are casting doubt on randomness, and refuse to acknowledge its realistic waves.

They also provide future predictions and precise explanations as worst as possible.

Even a movie starring Natalie Portman is set to give you a hint on the future while recalling memories and memorable events.

the Black Swan pdf

Black Swans Are Logical Trap

It was not possible to predict that the Black Swan existed before it was first seen. Rare events like the first Black Swan occur more often than we imagine and our minds are programmed to deal with what we have seen before.

However, extreme events usually occur and have significant impacts. Our tendency to ignore them comes from the fact that people tend to underestimate their ignorance.

There is much that we do not know, but since feeling ignorant is something that does not make us feel good about ourselves, we tend to downplay this characteristic of ours.

We create stories where they do not exist. We “invent” explanations of why things happen after all this is much more enjoyable than feeling stupid and ignorant when some unforeseen happens.

Human knowledge is constantly growing and evolving, and the dogmatic approach we tend to take makes no sense.

We cannot be sure of our beliefs, for they make us blind to concepts that are outside what we believe to be true.

The Impact of the Highly Unfair…

Black swans are the events that cause vast cognitive transformations, whether minor or enormous, such as the destruction of a sector in the stock market or a political crisis. T

he effects can profoundly affect some people and others can go practically unharmed.

The only way to be aware of these impacts is information. The more ignorant you are, the more likely you are to be surprised by a swan.

The more informed you are, the less likely you will be hit. A Black Swan can transform the whole modern understanding of science, impacting philosophy, theology, and physics.

In the 15th century, when Nicolaus Copernicus proposed that the earth was not the center of the universe, the consequences were immense, at all levels.

He challenged religion (yes, the Catholic church suffered major impacts), but also paved the way for a cultural change in society and science.

Swans like this change cultures and increasingly accelerate change in the world.

Two Types of Improbability

To better understand the impact of the unlikely, Nassim Taleb divides human knowledge into two main areas of randomness, separating the two major groups of unlikely effects in our lives.

By dividing the improbable into two large groups, it becomes easier to understand how it deceives us and thus proves our inability to make predictions.

The first of them is called by Taleb of Mediochristian, describing a land where averages are the rule. In Mediochristian our sampling of information and data available is very large, and no single fact will change the way the model works.

The data in this context is not scalable, as it has defined a minimum and a maximum limit. Examples of Mediochristian information are, for example, physical characteristics such as height and body weight, and even IQ.

A dimension such as a person’s weight is not considered scalable, as there are physical limitations regarding how much a person can weigh: while it is possible for one to weigh 300kg, it is physically impossible for someone to reach 1000kg.

Since the properties of such non-scalable information are certainly limited, it is possible to make relatively accurate predictions about the means.

The second territory is the Extremistan, and it is in it that the extremes live.

In Extremistan, the information is so disproportionate that a single observation can dramatically impact our observations and mislead our ability to make predictions.

Extremistan brings the nonphysical side, fundamentally abstract things.

Examples of data and information emerging from the Far East are far more diverse.

Examples include: Deaths in terrorist attacks, book sales by an author, inflation rates. Other than data such as height and weight, wealth distribution and album sales are scalable items.

For example, you can sell your book in digital format through Kindle infinitely, because the digital format does not require you to print a book with each copy sold.

Another example is wealth, which is highly scalable: it is possible for a small percentage of the population to own an incredibly large portion of wealth.

And if you analyze the data looking at the average, you can be deceived with a representation of the income distribution that does not accurately reflect the reality of people.

The Biggest Part of Random Events, of the Black Swans, Arose in the Extremistan Scenarios

Be careful not to be turkey on Thanksgiving Day… Imagine the following scenario. You are a turkey, which is fed daily, well taken care of every day, for years and your life is going ok.

But on Thanksgiving, a surprise occurs. You are not fed, you are murdered and eaten by the people who feed you.

That is the metaphor that Taleb uses to illustrate how to observe the past to predict the future.

It also proves that the Black Swans are relative. For you (the turkey), the Thanksgiving dinner is definitely a Black Swan, but for the Thanksgiving dinner cook, there is no surprise in this event.

We often look at our lives as if things were happening in the Mediochristian, when, in fact, life occurs much more in the kingdom of Extremistan.

To learn to deal with this, one must accept, embrace and understand the unpredictable nature of the world, rather than ignore it.

That will not make you not be the turkey, but at least it will allow you not to get accustomed to the status quo.

Do not Trust Your Brain!

Our brains play tricks on us. Always. We tend to conclude that similar sounding phrases have absurdly different meanings.

For example, if we say, “We have no evidence that there are Black Swans,” many people may understand that there are no Black Swans.

The lack of proof that something exists does not mean that it does not exist. It is not because there has never been an earthquake in your city, that it will never occur, will it?

There is also the tendency of our brain to seek evidence, the so-called fallacy of confirmation.

Our brain is accustomed to searching for evidence that things exist or will occur.

But given our ignorance, to seek evidence that what we believe is real can greatly limit our line of thought and make us ignore information that does not support our beliefs.

It is often more valuable to search for facts that go against our beliefs than those which support it. That leads to much more powerful discoveries and allows us not to be blinded.

Your Brain Makes Up Stories…

Another flaw in our operating system is that we are in the habit of creating stories based on collections of events that occur in our lives. The author calls this failure a narrative fallacy.

It is characterized by exploiting our limited ability to analyze sequences of events without adding an explanation to them.

Explanations tie the facts and make them easier to remember, but our brains always seek to tell a story where events are correlated and meaningful.

However, by condensing facts into a single narrative, we end up generating a loss of information and have a great tendency to oversimplify things.

We discard the data that makes no sense in our history, and that leaves us at the mercy of the swans.

Two Ways to Think…

According to cognitive psychologists, we have two kinds of thoughts. Type 1 thinking is instinctive, fast, immediate, and based on your experience with the world.

This system is advantageous for having high speed and helps you react quickly to external stimuli but is also very prone to errors.

System 2, on the other hand, is slow, rational and self-aware, much more useful in the classroom not at a time of quick thinking between life and death.

The problem is that we often confuse thoughts from system 1 with system 2 because at level 1 we have no control over them.

Often, we believe that the thoughts that come from system 1 are based on analysis rather than reflexes, and this harms our cognition.

System 1 leaves us blind to Black Swans and often misinterprets them as well. System 1 considers primarily anecdotal data and based on our experience rather than using statistics or empirical data. Know your brain.

Do You Want to Do Something Improbable?

Have you ever dreamt of being a great author or creating a great company in an innovative market?

If this is what you seek, Taleb has an interesting point of view. The human being needs constant, tangible results and rewards to continue to pursue something.

A number of small, constant rewards usually bring more happiness and fulfillment than a substantial reward. There are two types of progress.

The uniform and linear, and the nonlinear, which tend to occur in large jumps, alternating with stagnation.

But while we prefer to believe that the world works in a linear perspective, this is not the right way to approach the problem.

Nonlinear situations are the most constant in life, and linear conditions tend to be the real exception.

His learning comes from things so diverse and in many cases random that to believe that the linear model is the best model ends up becoming a fallacy.

The linear model is adopted in classrooms and books just because they are easier to understand.

Besides, the humans have the limitation that in viewing the past, they select the parts of a process that fit his impressions and ignores the parts that do not conform to his preconceptions.

Our mind creates a record that ignores the facts which do not fit our mental model, and Taleb calls this the silent evidence.

For example, humans tend to see authors of famous books as extremely talented and attribute the reason for their success to their talents.

Many writers with various works never get to have a book published by a major publisher and become a bestseller.

Therefore, they end up not getting known by the public.

As we do not have access to the works of hundreds of thousands of authors who have never had their books published by the major publishers, we tend not to take into account their importance and relevance.

We, as human beings, tend to consider only the Black Swans who have had the right combination of talent and luck to secure their place in the hall of fame.

The presence or absence of talent cannot be proven as a cause of success in the publishing world.

Silent evidence did not create a black swan and therefore did not receive public attention.

The Unlikely Can Be By Your Side

For Taleb, serendipity, positive surprises, plays a crucial role in the role of scientific breakthroughs. The traditional model of research and discovery works like this: You search for something you believe in (as a new path to India), and you discover something you didn’t know was there (You discover America).

Therefore, it is important to be open to the possibility of having unplanned results for our activities. That can help us advantageously benefit the Black Swans when they appear.

There is a law in statistics, called the law of iterated expectations. It states that the expectation of attaining knowledge by itself is equivalent to the knowledge itself.

In practice, Taleb explains that this law acts as follows in our expectations:

If I expect something to happen by a certain date in the future, I expect this something in the present.

If you know what the discovery will do in the future, you have almost discovered it.

To understand the future to the point of predicting it, you need to incorporate elements of the future into your present, that is, to add uncertainty components in your experiments.

Swans in Practice…

If you are ready to embrace your ignorance, here are some practical tips from Taleb to learn how to capture more value from the Black Swans.

The first step is to focus on the potential consequences of the unexpected instead of focusing on the likelihood that the improbable will occur.

The effects of making a mistake in weather forecasting, for example, are often trivial, while the consequences of making mistakes in stock market forecasts can be devastating.

For this, the idea is to prioritize their beliefs according to the damage they can cause rather than the chance of them happening.

What do you believe could have the most significant impact on your life today? That is the point that should take your sleep, not the one (which you believe to be) most likely with a minor impact.

For example, if you invest in stocks, it is better to consider extreme scenarios than usual (perceived) risk scenarios. Instead of putting your money in medium-risk investments (how do you know the risk is medium?)

You should invest the majority of your capital (85-90%) in extremely safe instruments, such as direct treasury. The 10-15% that is left over, you should put in extremely speculative investments, such as venture capital.

So you do not have to worry about risk management and place yourself partially at the mercy of Black Swans. The goal is to be very exposed to the positive Black Swans and remain paranoid about the negatives.

The events with the most significant impacts on your life will be unexpected, the black swans, because of our cognitive biases and our inability to predict these events.

So learning through trial and error matters a lot and our brains have a hard time accepting this.

Embracing this process can help you accomplish more. And if we cannot rely on predictions, then it’s important to rely only on those whose subject matter is trivial.

Avoid making predictions about the great complex issues that may deceive you in the future.

Be mistaken about simple concerns, not complex ones. If the subject is future, you must always be skeptical and open-minded for positive and negative events.

Never discredit something, just by seeming improbable.

One way to keep your mind open to positive cases, for example, would be to increase your exposure to situations where they could happen, such as social events, dinners, and set the stage for unexpected but valuable encounters.

Taleb’s last advice is, in addition to not exposing much to future predictions, try also to avoid doing them, you are wasting your energy unnecessarily.

The book has an unusual analytical style that is personal and literary at some point, but his heterodox and unique perspective can sometimes be rigorous and accurate as well.

By combining these several factors, you’d come up with a breathtaking, disturbing, antagonistic and unforgettable book based on randomness, spontaneity, and changeability.

We leave you to find out the details. And now we continue with the principal lessons you can expect to find in “The Black Swan”‘s lines.

Key Lessons from “The Black Swan”

1.      Confront facts, research on your own and expand your knowledge
2.      Luck matters
3.      Different natural phenomena
4.      Is forecasting optional or mandatory business activity

Confront facts, research on your own and expand your knowledge

In the 17 century, the European schoolboys were taught by their teachers that the swans are white.

Their theory overlapped with the fact that every swan they examined had a snowy white plumage. Willem de Vlamingh, a Dutch explorer, was among the first Europeans who set foot in Australia’s wilderness.

Without any previous preparations, Vlamingh started his exploring expedition by searching the continent for wildlife and unique ingredients.

Soon after he discovered creatures that were not familiar to him nor his crew such as kangaroos, teddy bears – koalas, Australian Dingo and would you know it a black feathered bird that looked exactly like the White Swans in Europe.

Detailed observations and investigations were made before Willem de Vlamingh realized that they were Swans just like the ones that he has seen in his homeland, so he challenged the scientists back in Europe to reformulate their beliefs and scientific facts.  

Luck matters

If you think about a story any business story, the first thing that comes to our minds would be the challenges that an average businessman faces during his path.

Every story begins in the present or the prosperity that the businessman encounters after so many years of struggle.

Afterward, the story takes a step back by reminding us of his humble and penniless beginnings.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb challenges this idiotic concept of making a story by providing a simple sample like when some person becomes a lottery winner and declares that he/she is a genius for choosing that particular number and denying the fact that the number they’ve picked was just a mere luck.

Different natural phenomena

The human mind has been at the very center of unexplored mysteries that intrigued philosophers since ancient times.

There’s a saying: There is one Earth but 7 billion of worlds. Later on, the humans realized that our minds could see different percept realities out of one situation.

So are you a “Mediocristan” or “Extremistan.”?. These two represent catchy and memorable metaphors for remembering and perceiving two highly divergent rankings of phenomena.

The phenomena that can be described falls into the Mediocristan category while the phenomena where a single event or a person that cannot be explained is referred as Extremistan.

Is forecasting optional or mandatory business activity

If you can predict when an aberration may occur and what impact will it have than an Extremistan orientation is not so bad.

The problem is that no one can precisely and accurately calculate these phenomena.

To understand this better you may consider Hit Movies or best seller books for example.

Screenwriter or an author may be 100% confident with their work. However, that is not enough to guarantee them fame and early success.

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“The Black Swan” Quotes

It has been more profitable for us to bind together in the wrong direction than to be alone in the right one. Those who have followed the assertive idiot rather than the introspective wise person have passed us some of their genes. This… Click To Tweet Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking. Click To Tweet When you develop your opinions on the basis of weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new information is obviously more accurate. Click To Tweet It is my great hope someday, to see science and decision makers rediscover what the ancients have always known. Namely that our highest currency is respect. Click To Tweet We tend to use knowledge as therapy. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Despite Taleb’s clear medical tips, some readers may find the book too harsh at some moments, The Black Swan is intended for persons who are more likely to believe in unproven data that are unsupported by any facts.

It also teaches them how to embrace spontaneity and randomness and how they can overcome “black swans” when needed.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Top Finance and Investing Books

Want to earn some easy money? We are saying nothing new if we say that it’s only easy if you earn it the easy way. And probably nothing’s easy in life unless you have someone to show you the right steps.

Or, at least the ones who will most probably guarantee you success.

And it’s only normal that the successful should know these steps better or more thorough than the rest. And our list is made up of the very best, the crème de la crème!

Without further ado, here are the 15 best finance and investing books on the market.

#1. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich SummaryIn 1908, Napoleon Hill was a 25-year-old owner of a failed lumber company with an assignment to interview Andrew Carnegie. And, in case you didn’t know this, Carnegie was one of the richest people in the world.

He was also a smart guy, so he casually suggested Hill to interview other wealthy people and, thus, find the formula for success. Hill did exactly that.

The perennial bestseller, “Think and Grow Rich” is based on these interviews, done over a period of two decades. And it elucidates 13 principles for success, ranging from desire and faith to persistence and sixth sense.

It’s the book which launched the “positive thinking” movement. And which generated about a million copycats. But, this is where it all started.

#2. “The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing” by Benjamin Graham

The Intelligent Investor SummaryIf you write a book on finance and investing, you can’t think of a better endorsement than that of a certain Warren Buffet.

And if Buffet says that your book is “the best investing book ever written,” well, then, be prepared to see your book on lists such as this one as long as there’s such a thing as investing.

Benjamin Graham, Buffet’s mentor and teacher, is considered the father of “value investing.” And “The Intelligent Investor” is considered his masterwork. Summarizing his main ideas, the book favors the safe and smart way to riches.

Namely, using fundamental analysis to purchase stocks seemingly underpriced when compared to their inherent value. And, of course, selling them when they inevitably rise.

#3. “Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!” by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad SummaryAn influential book is an influential book. Which means – it’s only normal that it transcends genres.

We already featured “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” as a wildcard in our top parenting booklist, but we have no doubts that its place is on this list as well. Because, if implicitly it’s a book about parents, it’s also a book explicitly about young investors.

Based on his personal experiences growing up with two dads (his, and his friend’s), in “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” Robert Kiyosaki makes one thing clear from the start. Namely, that the American educational system teaches children to be 9-to-5 factory workers. And that it doesn’t include financial literacy anywhere in its curriculum.

This book tries to fill that void.

#4. “Beating the Street” by Peter Lynch

Beating the Street SummaryPeter Lynch is a legend. So much so, in fact, that even if you don’t know anything about investing or finance, you’ve probably already heard his name quite a few times.

But, how did he get his reputation? Well, prepare to be amazed!

After working for about a decade at Fidelity Investments, in 1977 he was tasked to manage the Magellan Fund. And he did so during the next 13 years. At the time he started managing the fund, it had about $18 million in assets. In 1990 when he resigned, it had grown to – prepare for it – $14 billion in assets!

In “Beating the Street,” Lynch explains how he did it and where he invested to do it. And elucidates his “Invest in What You Know” philosophy – which, obviously, has garnered quite a few followers.

#5. “One Up on Wall Street: How to Use What You Already Know to Make Money in the Market” by Peter Lynch

One Up On Wall Street SummaryWhen “The New York Times” claims that, when it comes to investing, you’re in a league by yourself, every one of your books on the topic is a Top 10 book.

In “One Up on Wall Street,” Peter Lynch picks up where he left in “Beating the Street.” In fact, this one may even be the better one for those who are more practically oriented. Because it’s a book-length elucidation of the legendary mutual-fund manager’s investing philosophy.

It’s full of real-world and easy-to-follow bits of advice on how to develop your portfolio, and how to make the distinction between a no-shot and a “tenbagger.”

Yes – that’s a word he invented! It refers to stocks which promise to return ten times the investment. Interestingly enough, in Lynch’s opinion, you, the average individual investor, can notice these better than the Wall Street pro.

Learn how.

#6. “The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America” by Warren Buffett

The Essays of Warren Buffet SummaryIf you want to be like the best – it’s only a commonsense idea to start learning from the best. And the investing world is pretty much in agreement when it comes to the best one. Yes – even better than Peter Lynch.

With a net worth of $86.1 billion dollars, Warren Buffet is the third wealthiest person in the world. And he got most of this money by investing wisely.

In his “Essays” – his most popular and autographed book – Buffet discusses various topics which will certainly seem interesting to both young and professional investors. Learn, for example, why following investing trends is never as smart as value investing.

And how you should teach yourself to think to, slowly but surely, win big.

#7. “The Warren Buffett CEO: Secrets from the Berkshire Hathaway Managers” by Robert P. Miles

The Warren Buffet CEO SummaryOne more book about everyone’s favorite investor and philanthropist, Warren Buffet! This one, however, is not written by him, but by Robert P. Miles, a distinguished expert and authority on his life and work.

And it is based on a decade-long research and unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to Berkshire Hathaway’s policies and doings.

In Miles paraphrased words, though everybody knows everything about Warren Buffet, it seems that nobody knows anything about Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate of which Buffet is the chairman and CEO.

The Warren Buffet CEO” strives to change this. Because Miles believes – and this book is a good evidence of it – that the actual inside management of Berkshire Hathaway can reveal much more about Buffet’s philosophy than he himself has knowledge of.

#8. “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns” by John C. Bogle

John C. BogleThe Little Book of Common Sense Investing Summary is one more name no one in the world of money takes lightly. Founder and retired CEO of “The Vanguard Group,” Bogle is widely credited as the creator of the first index mutual fund available to the general public.

The first version appeared in 1976 and, if you don’t know its significance, let us quote Paul Samuelson for you:

“I rank this Bogle invention along with the invention of the wheel, the alphabet, Gutenberg printing, and wine and cheese: a mutual fund that never made Bogle rich, but elevated the long-term returns of the mutual-fund owners – something new under the Sun.”

Yes, that’s the Paul Samuelson, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in economics.

How important does “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing” looks to you now?

#9. “A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing” by Burton G. Malkiel

A Random Walk Down Wall Street SummaryA Random Walk Down Wall Street” is currently in its 12th edition. Multiple that by 100,000 thousand copies per edition – and you get one of the few investing books which have sold more than a million copies.

To put it more bluntly: there are few – if any – books you should buy before Burton G. Malkiel’s classic if you’re seriously interested in investing.

In Malkiel’s book, you can find neat definitions of some of the most important investment terms – so it’s a great read for a newbie. The emphasis Malkiel puts on long-term investments makes it even better.

But, what really makes “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” such an essential read are the first three words of the title. You see, Malkiel popularized the “random walk hypothesis,” by demonstrating the probable randomness of stock market prices.

In other words: try to get rich fast at your own peril!

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#10. “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan SummaryWell, if it’s randomness you’re interested in than Nassim Nicholas Taleb is the guy for you. A Lebanese-American philosopher, trader, statistician and risk analyst, Taleb is one of the most respected intellectuals of this day and age.

And “The Sunday Times” described his most famous book, “The Black Swan,” as one of the 12 most influential books written after the end of the Second World War.

Just like many of the other books on this list, this one gave a name to a theory as well: the black swan theory. It’s used to describe the earthshattering effect unexpected events of large magnitude (extreme outliers) have on all human endeavors, including investing and finance.

It’s kind of funny when you think about it: everything can be explained in hindsight by events so improbable to be anticipated!

As a bonus, the book also describes the Barbell investing strategy, which presupposes putting 90% of your money in safe stocks, and the remaining 10% on exceedingly speculative bets.

And so much more!

#11. “The Dao of Capital: Austrian Investing in a Distorted World” by Mark Spitznagel

The Dao of Capital SummaryNow, it would be a good time for you to check our top 15 economics booklist. Because, there you’ll find – and come to know – few economists Mark Spitznagel, the inventor of tail-hedging, and the preeminent doomsday investor, really likes to quote.

No, we’re not talking about Bob Dylan (go figure)! But, we are talking about Hayek and Mises… you know, the Austrians.

Well, Mark Spitznagel claims that they were right all along and that it wasn’t him, but them who predicted the stock market crash of 2008! And bearing in mind that the Austrian School of Economics is about a century and a half old – that’s a quite fascinating claim.

You can find many more in “The Dao of Capital” which, as Ron Paul beautifully articulates, “brings Austrian economics from the ivory tower to the investment portfolio.” And here’s another quote for you: “one of the most important books of the year, or any year for that matter.”

It’s by “Forbes” magazine.

#12. “Rule #1: The Simple Strategy for Successful Investing in Only 15 Minutes a Week!” by Phil Town

Phil TownsRule #1 Summary turned $1,000 into $1,45 million in less than half a decade. And he wrote a book about how he did it.

Unsurprisingly, that book, the succinctly titled “Rule #1” became a bestseller and inspired at least half a million people worldwide to give investing a go.

Because, as Town himself unabashedly points out, “Rule #1” is “a start-to-finish, one-baby-step-at-a-time approach that will allow you to retire ten years sooner than you planned, with more creature comforts than you ever imagined.”

And this would be a good place to tell you that the eponymous first rule of investing is not actually Town’s; it’s Buffet’s. Even better, it’s a simple as you can think of:

“Don’t lose money!”

#13. “Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups – Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000” by Jason Calacanis

Angel SummaryPhil Towns multiplied his initial investment by a thousand. Jason Calacanis did exactly the same. But, the former got to a million; the latter one is a big-leaguer, and his wealth is estimated to be in the realm of hundreds of millions.

A dot-com pioneer, blogger, angel investor and Internet entrepreneur, it’s safe to say that Jason Calacanis knew how he could make a fortune during the past three decades. And he started from basically nothing: his mother was a nurse, and his father was a bartender.

In “Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups,” Calacanis explains how investing is a democratic affair, and how you can earn money too – if you just know how the moneymakers think. And once you do earn some, it’s time for some angel investing!

Needless to add, analogously to “Rule#1,” this book is a step-by-step guidebook, teaching you all the good and the bad sides.

#14. “The Alchemy of Finance” by George Soros

The Alchemy of Finance SummaryLynch, Graham, Buffet, Bogle… did we forget about someone? No, of course, we didn’t. We just wanted to spread our heavyweights around the list. So, we can keep you focused.

George Soros, the “bugaboo of European nationalists,” is not known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” for no reason. If you don’t know it specifically, prepare for one of the best endorsements in history.

On 16 September 1992, George Soros made $1 billion by short selling US$10 billion worth of pound sterling! It may have been a Black Wednesday for England; but, it was a sunshiny day for Soros.

In “The Alchemy of Finance,” the Hungarian-American investor presents a theoretically sound and practical applicable account of contemporary financial trends and shares few of his success secrets in a fairly readable manner.

So that you too can break a bank. Or, at least, learn how others do.

#15. “Golden Nuggets” by John Marks Templeton

Golden Nuggets SummaryIn 1999, “Money” magazine called Sir John Marks Templeton “arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century.” Some would beg to differ concerning the superlative, but we bet none would have anything against naming Templeton among the ten best ever.

(Spoiler alert: almost all of Templeton’s most serious competitors for #1 are part of this list as well.)

Templeton died in 2008 at the age of 95 and left few books behind him. “Riches for the Mind and Spirit,” a compilation of inspirational excerpts taken from many different sources, was Templeton’s last one.

Golden Nuggets” preceded it by few years. Just like “Riches,” this one is also an anthology of quotations and inspirational thoughts; unlike it, it’s written by Templeton himself.

It doesn’t have to do as much with finance and investing as it has with integrity and ethics. But, that’s the best part.

In addition to its title. Which, basically, describes the quality of our summaries.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Antifragile Summary | Download PDF

Antifragile Summary

MicroSummary: Having made a name with the highly influential “Black Swan”, in “Antifragility”, Nassim Taleb proposes a new philosophical concept, which goes against practical wisdom. Antifragility, as he explains in his book, is the property of a system to thrive and improve when exposed to shocks, randomness, and failures.

AntifragileNassim Nicholas Taleb 

Things that Gain from Disorder

What does Antifragile mean? Try to connect this concept with an immunity on predicting errors and with the strongest pattern for living our lives.

The “Antifragile Summary” contains all the elements you need to understand the terminology.


'Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness' @nntaleb Click To Tweet

Constantly preoccupied with problems of uncertainty, probability, and knowledge, the bestselling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb reveals wise ways how to thrive in an uncertain world.

Check the nuggets below (visual quotes from books) to have a quite great visual and textual preview of what Antifragile means from Nassim Nicholas Taleb ‘s perspective. Continue Reading…

Fooled by Randomness Summary

The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

First time when I’ve heard about Nassim Taleb’s books, I couldn’t help asking: why is this author so followed, read, and admired?

Looking for the answer helped me discover amazing things about him: his books draw a lot of attention. Plenty of reviews, lots of readers ready to comment and debate on his topics – that kind of stuff can perfectly describe the landscape that Nassim Taleb’s books designed.

Many things have changed since the beginning of the 21st century.

Randomness is our everyday thing; the new era brings a lot of excitement derived from the technology itself. Nevertheless, in the past couple of years, lots of books linked to certain segments of the economy, management, and finance, have been published; the readers are still looking for the breathtaking masterpiece.

Fooled by Randomness” is one of those books, which concisely illustrate the point of success. In this case, that point is called randomness. The important role of randomness explained by Nassim Nicholas Taleb deserves its place in our “bookshelf” as well.

This book summary will support your business ideas if you understand- How random events affect your company (positively or negatively).

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