"We've survived 200,000 years as humans," "Don't you think there's a reason why we survived? We're good at risk management. And what's our risk management? Paranoia. Optimism is not a good thing."

-Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Kora Reddy writes: 

Looking at Taleb's twitter timeline and his recent musings, am not a doctor btw, but am certain he suffers from advanced paranoid personality mental disorder!

Russ Sears writes:

As individuals we all die. Yes we try to maximize our own lives and that entails confronting the harsh realities of life and death. And this means some optimizing our own survival through some pessimism. But this should be tempered with the amazement of life. Why would a pessimist optimize what he dislikes. However, as individuals we also realize that we are strong and will survive through others. While we will lose some battles, hope and mutual cooperation cannot be killed. Hope wins.

anonymous writes: 

Show me one single great human advancement, one invention, one cure of a disease, a great work of art or literature that was done by a pessimist. You will be hard pressed to find one. Usually the pessimists are too busy wringing their hands while waiting for an imaginary boogeyman to strike. Pessimists falsely consider themselves to be realists, but their picture is as blurred as a fogged lens.





Speak your mind

5 Comments so far

  1. Anonymous on March 15, 2018 5:30 pm

    Taleb’s paranoia is concerned with tail risk, and avoiding convex risk ie. risk of blowing up.

  2. Anonymous on March 15, 2018 5:35 pm

    Correction: concave risk

  3. russell thomas on March 16, 2018 4:51 pm

    There has been many a great who experienced depression over time .

  4. Barry C on April 15, 2018 3:25 pm

    Some utterly ridiculous comments posted here. I am sure Dostoevsky was a smiley happy face optimist.
    “Positive thinking” is purely a modern post WW2 phenomenon, which has no historical, philosophical or religious basis. (Read ‘Smile of Die’ by Barbara Ehrenreich for a more detailed explanation.)
    Taleb said: “You want your stewardess to be an optimist, but your pilot to be a pessimist”
    Meaning a pessimistic pilot would be more likely to prepare himself for a negative event.

    Find any successful trader or investor who does not have a sardonic disposition. (There is a difference between sardonic and cynical)
    Go to any Wealth Investor Forum(actually don’t) and you will see all the posters and quotes from guys like Stallone espousing positive thinking. Investing involves analytical thinking and subtlety of thought and the ability to critically judge everyone and everything. Go tell your six year old daughter all people are fundamentally good.
    Positive thinkers are the same people who utter the most moronic existential statement in the history of humankind: “Everything happens for a reason”. Really, if you ever uttered that statement, a frontal lobotomy would not affect your thinking.

  5. Barry C on April 15, 2018 3:28 pm

    Sorry, in my last post, Barbara Ehrenreich’s book is “Smile or Die : How Positive Thinking Fooled America & The World”


Resources & Links