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Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world. Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls "antifragile" is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better. Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call "efficient" not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of the Titanic save lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are loud and clear. Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world. Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb's message is revolutionary: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it.Praise for Antifragile "Taleb takes on everything from the mistakes of modern architecture to the dangers of meddlesome doctors and how overrated formal education is. . . . An ambitious and thought-provoking read . . . highly entertaining."--The EconomistFrom the Hardcover edition.

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

By the author of the modern classicThe Black Swan, this collection of aphorisms and meditations expresses his major ideas in ways you least expect. The Bed of Procrustestakes its title from Greek mythology: the story of a man who made his visitors fit his bed to perfection by either stretching them or cutting their limbs. It represents Taleb's view of modern civilization's hubristic side effects-modifying humans to satisfy technology, blaming reality for not fitting economic models, inventing diseases to sell drugs, defining intelligence as what can be tested in a classroom, and convincing people that employment is not slavery. Playful and irreverent, these aphorisms will surprise you by exposing self-delusions you have been living with but never recognized. With a rare combination of pointed wit and potent wisdom, Taleb plows through human illusions, contrasting the classical values of courage, elegance, and erudition against the modern diseases of nerdiness, philistinism, and phoniness.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2nd Edition)

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don't know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the "impossible." For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. Now, in this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don't know. He offers surprisingly simple tricks for dealing with black swans and benefiting from them.Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book--itself a black swan. *2nd Edition, with a new essay: "On Robustness and Fragility".

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"[Taleb is] Wall Street's principal dissident. . . . [Fooled By Randomness] is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther's ninety-nine theses were to the Catholic Church."-Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker. Finally in paperback, the word-of-mouth sensation that will change the way you think about the markets and the world. This book is about luck: more precisely how we perceive luck in our personal and professional experiences. Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill--the world of business. Fooled by Randomness is an irreverent, iconoclastic, eye-opening, and endlessly entertaining exploration of one of the least understood forces in all of our lives.

Lecturing Birds on Flying

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Pablo Triana

Praise for Lecturing Birds On Flying"Finally, a book taking a critical look at quantitative finance models, illuminating both their flawed fantasy assumptions as well as the uncritical use of such models on Wall Street, in many cases, leading to billion dollar losses. Pablo Triana knows both the financial industry and the academic community from the inside. A must-read for anyone interested in finance."--Dr. Espen Gaarder Haug, trader, thinker, and author of Derivatives Models on Models"A thoroughly readable explanation of the problems that have beset the models and quantitative techniques that have underpinned so much of finance in recent years. If only the bankers had heeded this message a few years before, we might not be in such a big mess today."--Gillian Tett, Assistant Editor of the Financial Times, overseeing global financial markets coverage, and author of Fool's Gold"Pablo Triana dismembers quantitative finance, in theory and in practice, with expertise, anger,and an excellent eye for the illuminating anecdote. By the time he has finished marshalling his evidence, his call to replace complex equations with something more like common sense sounds like, well, common sense."--Edward Hadas, Assistant Editor at Breakingviews.com; and author of Human Goods, Economic Evils: A Moral Approach to the Dismal Science"Pablo Triana is an entertaining and engaging writer, even on the dry subject of finance theory. His debunking of conventional wisdom is a treat."--Pauline Skypala, Editor, FTfm, Financial Times"Triana's book is an unrelenting fusillade of detailed and irrefutable arguments against financial theorems and those who teach them. It should, by rights, spark a revolution in both investment banks and business schools. But, at the very least, it is required reading for anyone who would regulate the finance industry."--Felix Salmon, Finance Blogger, Reuters

The Volatility Surface

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Jim Gatheral

Praise for The Volatility Surface"I'm thrilled by the appearance of Jim Gatheral's new book The Volatility Surface. The literature on stochastic volatility is vast, but difficult to penetrate and use. Gatheral's book, by contrast, is accessible and practical. It successfully charts a middle ground between specific examples and general models--achieving remarkable clarity without giving up sophistication, depth, or breadth."--Robert V. Kohn, Professor of Mathematics and Chair, Mathematical Finance Committee, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University"Concise yet comprehensive, equally attentive to both theory and phenomena, this book provides an unsurpassed account of the peculiarities of the implied volatility surface, its consequences for pricing and hedging, and the theories that struggle to explain it."--Emanuel Derman, author of My Life as a Quant"Jim Gatheral is the wiliest practitioner in the business. This very fine book is an outgrowth of the lecture notes prepared for one of the most popular classes at NYU's esteemed Courant Institute. The topics covered are at the forefront of research in mathematical finance and the author's treatment of them is simply the best available in this form."--Peter Carr, PhD, head of Quantitative Financial Research, Bloomberg LP Director of the Masters Program in Mathematical Finance, New York University"Jim Gatheral is an acknowledged master of advanced modeling for derivatives. In The Volatility Surface he reveals the secrets of dealing with the most important but most elusive of financial quantities, volatility."--Paul Wilmott, author and mathematician"As a teacher in the field of mathematical finance, I welcome Jim Gatheral's book as a significant development. Written by a Wall Street practitioner with extensive market and teaching experience, The Volatility Surface gives students access to a level of knowledge on derivatives which was not previously available. I strongly recommend it."--Marco Avellaneda, Director, Division of Mathematical Finance Courant Institute, New York University"Jim Gatheral could not have written a better book."--Bruno Dupire, winner of the 2006 Wilmott Cutting Edge Research Award Quantitative Research, Bloomberg LP

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