The author of "The Black Swan" and "Fooled by Randomness" on why some systems actually benefit from shocks. Brilliant!!!
Nassim Nicholas Taleb's humble homepage:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Arabic: نسيم نيقولا نجيب طالب, alternatively Nessim or Nissim, born 1960) is a Lebanese philosophical essayist, scholar and practitioner of mathematical financial economics. He is best known as the author of the 2007 book (completed 2010) The Black Swan.
Taleb has had three distinct careers, built around what he calls "epistemic limitations and constraints": probability, uncertainty and the fragility of human knowledge, which he packaged as the theory of Black Swan Events. Firstly, he is a bestselling author with 2.7 million copies sold in 31 languages. Secondly, he is a university professor in Risk Engineering (Distinguished Professor), a scholar, an epistemologist and a philosopher of science. Finally, he is a former senior Wall Street trader, risk expert, and practitioner of mathematical finance.
Taleb has been critical of the finance industry and has been credited with making warnings regarding financial crises and making a fortune out of the 2008 crisis. Taleb is an activist and a promoter of what he calls a "Black Swan robust" society as well as aggressive "stochastic tinkering" as a means of scientific discovery.
The Black Swan has been described by The Times as one of the 12 most influential books since World War II. Among the people Taleb has influenced are writer Malcolm Gladwell and British Prime Minister David Cameron, who uses his black swan robustness idea as "intellectual ballast" for his program. Taleb's idiosyncratic writing style mixes narrative fiction (often semi-autobiographical) and short philosophical tales with historical and scientific commentary.
Taleb received his bachelor and master in science degrees from the University of Paris and holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in Management Science (thesis on the mathematics of derivatives pricing) from the University of Paris (Dauphine) under the direction of Hélyette Geman.
Taleb wrote in Fooled by Randomness that he considers himself less a businessman than an epistemologist of randomness and used trading to attain his independence and freedom from authority. As a trader, he was a pioneer of tail risk hedging (now called "Black Swan Protection") and has held the following positions: managing director and proprietary trader at UBS; worldwide chief proprietary arbitrage derivatives trader for currencies, commodities and non-dollar fixed income at CS First Boston; chief currency derivatives trader for Banque Indosuez; managing director and worldwide head of financial option arbitrage at CIBC Wood Gundy; derivatives arbitrage trader at Bankers Trust, proprietary trader at BNP Paribas, as well as independent option market maker on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; and founder of Empirica Capital after which Taleb retired from trading and became a full-time author and scholar in 2004. Taleb is currently Principal/Senior Scientific Adviser at Universa Investments in Santa Monica, California, a tail protection firm owned and managed by former Empirica partner Mark Spitznagel.