Posts tagged 'Nassim Nicholas Taleb'

Randomness by Fool

Not really, of course. Everyone at Alphaville is a fan of Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his gnomically sweeping ecophilosophy. We’re also more than willing to take a bit of constructive criticism on the chin.

For exampleRead more

Deep thoughts, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb [updated]

This FT Alphavillian has a confession to make. When she first started working in finance, she read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness and was quite taken by it. She recommended it to friends. Choice quotes by the man in the FT were dutifully clipped out and pinned to the cubicle wall — right next to a chart of monoline CDS spreads widening out and a list of biggest SIVs. Such a crisis groupie, we know…

So, what happened to NNT? And at what point did he get a bit “Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handey”? Read more

Taleb explains his tweets

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, of Black Swan fame, doesn’t just tweet on Twitter. He now tweets the explanations for his Twitter tweets on Twitter. No, really. See FT Alphaville for more. Read more

Thursday’s crash might really have been a Black Swan event

Did a hedge fund advised by Nassim Taleb cause the Flash Crash? The WSJ notes that a an options bet by the Universa fund might have triggered risk offsets elsewhere, starting a tsunami of hedging sales. Somewhat ironic for the creator of the Black Swan concept, if true, FT Alphaville notes. Read more

Black Swan addendum

A note on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s website,, mentions a coming addition to his seminal Black Swan:

PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM ON MEDIA HIATUS Nov 2009 to May 2010 with the 2nd edition of The Black Swan (and perhaps, hopefully, permanently, if the book publishers give me a break). Read more

Black Swan for dummies

Were you fooled by Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s randomness?

Was the Black Swan too dark for your comprehension? Read more

Leverage ratios are the new VaR?

What happens when you get Rick Bookstaber and Nassim Nicholas Taleb in the same room, to talk about one of the most controversial risk measures of the financial crisis?

They (almost) agree. Read more

The Black Swan battle is about to begin

On Thursday, the US House of Representatives Committee on Science & Technology will turn its attention to financial modeling.

Specifically, the committee will be scrutinising the role of the much-maligned Value-at-Risk model, which was meant to measure the maximum loss on a banking portfolio at a given probability and time horizon, in the current financial crisis. Read more

Battle of the financial pundits

We at FT Alphaville are not getting involved in this one, though we think our readers might want to wade in.

The very vocal Janet Tavakoli, of Tavakoli Structured Finance, has been in an ongoing spat with Black Swan man Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Read more

Taleb vs Tavakoli, a post-it update

The spat between Janet Tavakoli and Nassim Nicholas Taleb refuses to go away.

The Black Swan man has updated his notes to the copy of the GQ profile posted on his websiteRead more

The notional Taleb

Remember the clash between Janet Tavakoli and Nassim Taleb over a profile of the Black Swan man in GQ?

Tavakoli, of Tavakoli Structured Finance, highlighted a seeming error in the GQ article, which was penned by novelist Will Self. In it, Taleb was quoted as having “made $20bn for our clients, half a billion for the Black Swan fund”. Taleb claimed it was a misquote, Tavakoli still appeared suspicious of Taleb’s claimed returns. Read more

Tavakoli really does have issues with Taleb

Seems we were being a bit charitable when we wrote on Monday that Janet Tavakoli, of Tavakoli Structured Finance, was criticising the journalistic manner of men’s magazine GQ rather than Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s honesty. No. She really does have bones to pick with him.

Here’s her latest on the Black Swan man: Read more

Inflationistas, deflationistas and Goldilockeans

The inflation vs deflation debate rages on. To help FT Alphaville readers, we’ve compiled a handy-list of what we’re calling inflationistas — those who are publicly betting on high or even hyper-inflation, and deflationistas — those predicting a downward spiral in prices.

For non-extremists there are also the so-called Goldilockeans, those who believe the world’s central banks will get their policy actions reasonably right — staving off deflation while avoiding high inflation. Not too hot nor too cold, as the precocious fairytale character might say. Read more

Tavakoli takes down GQ, not Taleb

Janet Tavakoli of Tavakoli Structured Finance has emailed us the following:

A recent GQ article quoted Nassim Nicholas Taleb as saying that in the falling market he “made $20 billion for our clients, half a billion for the Black Swan fund.” Read more

Taleb goes long inflation

Here’s another one to add to the hyperinflation bandwagon: Nassim Nicholas Taleb, of Black Swan fame.

From the Wall Street JournalRead more

Taleb on the fallacy of “too big to fail” and economies of scale

Nassim “Black Swans? Yeah, That Was Me” Taleb released a new paper on financial institutions over the weekend, titled “Too Big to Fail, Hidden Risks, and the Fallacy of Large Institutions”.

Extract (emphasis FT Alphaville’s): Read more

Taleb: “It’s worse than Roubini thinks”

From financial alchemy to medieval quackery: modern finance is bunk

UK Chancellor Alistair Darling called last month for a “return to good old fashioned banking“. The FT on Monday reported of the flight to simplicity that was gripping markets.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, writing in Wednesday’s FT goes one step further. What if it’s all rubbish. Not just SIVs, or securitisation – but the whole shebang. Modern portfolio theory (MPT) – and all it contains, from option pricing through to dynamic hedging –  is just nobel fuelled quackery, says Taleb. Read more