• Alex Vikner

The Black Swan

Author: Nassim Taleb


Summary: The Black Swan explores how high-impact but rare events dominate history, how we retrospectively give ourselves the illusion of understanding them thanks to narrative, how they are impossible to estimate scientifically, how this makes some areasbut not others—totally unpredictable and unforecastable, how confirmatory methods of knowledge don't work, and how thanks to Black-Swan "faux experts" we are prone to building systems increasingly fragile to extreme events.

Prologue

A Black Swan is an outlier that carries an extreme impact and has retrospective predictability.


A small number of Black Swans explain almost everything in our world. Yet we tend to act as if they don't exist. We are blind with respect to randomness, particularly the large deviations.


Black Swan logic makes what you don't know far more relevant than what you do know.


The payoff of a human venture is, in general, inversely proportional to what is expected to be.


What you know cannot really hurt you.


What is surpirsing is not the magnitude of our forecast errors, but out absence of awareness of it.


Black Swans being unpredictable, we need to adjust to their existence (rather than naively try to predict them). You can set yourself up to collect serendipitous Black Swans (of the positive kind) by maximizing your exposure to them.


Some domains like scientific discovery and VC investments have a disproportionate (convex) payoff from the unknown.


The reason free markets work is because they allow people to be lucky, thanks to aggressive trial and error. The strategy is, then, to tinker as much as possible and try to collect as many Black Swan opportunities as you can.


Another human impediment is that we tend to learn the precise, not the general. We don't learn rules, just facts. We scorn the abstract.


Our minds are not made to think and introspect.


Everybody knows that we need more prevention than treatment, but few reward acts of prevention.


In order to understand a phenomena, one needs first to consider the extremes—particularly if, like the Black Swan, they carry an extraordinary cumulative effect.


Ideas come and go, ideas stay.


Living on our planet, today, requires a lot more imagination than we are made to have. We lack imagination and repress it in others.


Our world is dominated by the extreme, the unknown, and the very improbable (according to our current knowledge)—and all the while we spend our time engaged in small talk, focusing on the known and the repeated.


In spite of our progress and growth in knowledge, or perhaps because of such progress and growth, the future will be increasingly less predictable, while both human nature and social "science" seem to conspire to hide the idea from us.


I. Umberto Eco's Antilibrary

Your library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means allow you to put there. The more you know, the larger your collection of unread books (i.e. antilibrary) should be.


An antischolar is a skeptical empiricist; someone who focuses on the unread books and attempts not to treat his knowledge as a treasure, a possession, or even a self-esteem enhacement device.


1. The Apprenticeship of an Empirical Skeptic

The human mind suffers from 3 ailments as it comes into contact with history:

  1. Illusion of understanding: we understand less than we realize and the world is more complicated than we believe.

  2. Retrospective distortion: history seems clearer in books than it is in reality. Historydoes not crawl, it jumps between major, unexpected events.

  3. Platonification: people, especially the learned and authoritative, create categories and oversimplify which leads us to misunderstand the fabric of the world.

2. Yevgenia's Black Swan

In nornal times, Black Swans are overlooked but when they occur, everyone has an explanation.

3. The Speculator and the Prostitute

In Mediocristan, when the sample is large, no single instance will significantly change the aggregate. Matters that belong to Mediocristan (subject to type 1 randomness): height, weight, calorie consumption, car accidents, mortality rates, IQ, income for nonscalable professions. Here we must endure the tyranny of the collective, the routine, the obvious, and the predicted.

In Extremistan, inequalities are such that one single observation can disproportionately impact the aggregate. Matters that belong to Extremistan (subject to type 2 randomness): wealth, income, book sales per author, earthquate damages, deaths in wars, size of planets, size of companies, stock ownership, financial markets, economic data, income for scalable professions. Here we are subjected to the tyranny of the singular, the accidental, the unseen, and the unpredicted.


Extremistan is where most of the Black Swan action is, but you can still experience severe Black Swans in Mediocristan, though not easily.


4. One Thousand and One Days, Or How Not to Be a Sucker

Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird's belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race "looking out for its best interests", as a politician would say. On the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.


The feeling of safety reached its maximum when the risk was at the highest.


From the standpoint of the turkey, the nonfeeding of the 1001st day is a Black Swan. For the butcher, it is not, since its occurrence is not unexpected. Hence, the Black Swan is a sucker's problem. In other words, it occurs relative to your expectation.


Matters should be seen on some relative, not absolute, timescale: earthquakes last minutes, 9/11 lasted hours, but historical changes and technological implementations are Black Swans that can take decades. In general, positive Black Swans take time to show their effect while negative ones happen very quickly—it is much easier and much faster to destroy than to build.


When "conservative" bankers make profits, they get the benefits; when they are hurt, we pay the costs. Banks have privatized their gains and socialized their losses (asymmetry).

Awareness of a problem does not mean much—particularly when you have special interests and self-serving institutions in play.


It is extremely convenient for us to assume that we live in Mediocristan. Such an assumption magically drives away the problem of induction (difficulty of generalizing from available information, or of learning from the past, the known, and the seen). Wishful thinking! We do not live in Mediocristan, so the Black Swan needs a different mentality.


5. Confirmation Schmonfirmation!

Domain specificity = our reactions, mode of thinking, and intuitions depend on the context in which the matter is presented.


With tools and fools, anything can be easy to find. You take past instances that corroborate your theories and you treat them as evidence. A series of corroborative facts isn't necessarily evidence. Seeing white swans does not confirm the nonexistence of black swans. However, seeing a black swan certifies that all swans are not white!


We are not naive enough to believe that someone will be immortal because we have never seen him die.


6. The Narrative Fallacy

Narrative fallacy = human vulnerabiliity to overinterpretation and predilection for compact stories over raw truths.


Information is costly to obtain, to store, and to manipulate and retrieve.


Humans have a hunger for rules because we need to reduce the dimension of matters so they can get into our heads. The mroe you summarize, the more order you put in, the less randomness. Hence, the same condition that makes us sumplify pushes us to think that the world is less random than it actually is. And the Black Swan is what we leave out of simplification.


7. Living in the Antechamber of Hope

The world has changed too fast for our genetic makeup. We are alienated from our environment.


Positive lumpy outcomes for whcih we either collect big or get nothing prevail in numerous occupations, those invested with a sense of mission.


It's tough to deal with the social consequences of the appearance of continuous failure. We are social animals; hell is other people.


Our intuitions are not cut our for nonlineariities. Consider out life in a primitive environment where process and result are closely connected.


Our mental apparatus is designed for causality.


The world is more nonlinear than we think.


Linear progression, a Platonic idea, is not the norm.


We favor the sensational and the extremely visible. This affects the way we judge heroes. There is little room in our consciousness for heroes who do not deliver visible results.


The problem of lumpy payoffs is not so much the lack of income they entail, but the pecking order, the loss of dignity, the subtle humiliations near the watercooler.


Our highest currency is respect.


Black Swan hunters are paid in a currency other than material success: hope.


If you engage in a Black Swan-dependent activity, it iis better to be part of a group.


Your happiness depends far more on the number of instances of positive feelings, than on the intensity when they hit.


Let us separate the world in two categories. Some people ar elike the turkey, exposed to a major blowup without being aware of it, while others play reverse turkey, prepared for nig events that might surprise others.


In the summer of 1982, large American banks lost close to everything they had ever earned.

Some matters that belong to Extremistan are extremely dangerous but do not appear to be beforehand, since they hide and delay their risks—so suckers think they are "safe". It iis indeed the a property of Extremistan to look less risky, in the short run, than it really is.

Some business bets in which one wins big infrequently, yet loses small but frequently, are worth making if others are suckers for them and you have the personal and intellectual stamina.


8. Giacomo Casanova's Unfailing Luck: The Problem of Evidence

Losers in history don't write histories of their experiences.


The neglect of silent evidence is endemic to the way we study comparative talent, particularly in activities that are plagued with winner-take-all attributes.


Now consider the cemetary. The graveyard of failed persons will be full of people who shared the following traits: courage, risk taking, optimism etc. Just like the population of millionaires. There may be some difference in skills but what truly separates the two is for the most part plain luck.


The pool of starving actors is larger than the one of starving accountants, even if you assume that, one average, they earn the same income.


Statistics are invisible; anecdotes are salient.


We humans are an extremely lucky species. We are the surviviing Casanovas.


The fools, the Casanovas, and the blind risk takers are often the ones who win in the short term. Worse, in a Black Swan environment, where one single but rare event can come shake up a species after a very long run of "fitness," the foolish risk takers can also also win in the long term!


Many successful people will try to convince you that their achievements couldn’t be accidental. Similarly, a gambler who wins at roulette seven times in a row will explain to you that the odds against such a streak are so low that he must have incredible skills in picking the winning numbers. But if you take into account the quantity of gamblers, it becomes obvious that such strokes of luck are bound to happen.


In these situations, try using the reference point argument: don’t compute odds from the vantage point of the winner but from all those who started in the cohort.


We are explanation-seeking animals who tend to think that everything has an identifiable cause and grab the most apparent one as the explanation.


A major problem with the educational system is that it forces students to squeeze explanations out of subject matters and shames them for withholding judgement.


This is not to say that causes do not exist, just that it's not so simple. Be suspicious of the "because" and handle it with care—particularly in situations where you sus[ect silent evidence.


9. The Ludic Fallacy, or The Uncertainty of the Nerd

Ludic fallacy = the attributes of uncertainty we face in real life have little connection to the sterilized ones we encounter in exams and games.


Those who spend too much time with their noses glued to maps will tend to mistake the map for the territory.


We are not manufactured, in our current edition of the human race, to understand abstract matters—we need context. Randomness and uncertainty are abstractions. We respect what has happened, ignoring what could have happened. In other words, we are naturally shallow and superficial—and we do not know it.


If you want a simple step to a higher form of life, then you have to denarrate, that is, shut down the television set, minimize time spent reading newspapers, ignore the blogs. Train your reasoning abilities to control your decisions; nudge system 1 (the heuristic system) out of the important ones. Train yourself to spot the difference between the empirical and the sensational. The insulation from the toxicity of the world will have an additional benefit: it will improve your well-being.


II. We Just Can't Predict

The world is far, far more complicated than we think, which is not a problem, except when most of us don't know it. We tend to "tunnel" while looking into the future. It is not a Platonic category!


Another problem: the focus on the (inconsequential) regular, the Platonification that makes the forecasting "inside the box."

"The future ain't what it used to be" — Yogi Berra

10. The Scandal of Prediction

Epistemic arrogance bears a double effect: we overestimate what we know, and underestimate uncertainty, by compressing the range of possible uncertain states (i.e. by reducing the space of the unknown).


Humans have an ingrained tendency to underestimate outliers—or Black Swans. And outliers are fragile to estimation errors, which can go both directions.


When you are employed, hence dependent on other people's judgement, looking busy can help you claim responsability for the results in a random envrionment. The appearance of busyness reinforces the perception of causality, of the link between results and one's role in them.


Additional knowledge of the minutiae of daily business can be useless, even toxic.

The more information you give someone, the more hypotheses they will formulate along the way, and the worse off they will be. They see more random noise and mistake it for information.


Remember that we are swayed by the sensational. Listening to the news every hour is far worse than reading a weekly magazine, because the longer interval allows information to be filtered a bit.


No matter what anyone tells you, it is a good idea to question the error rate of an expert's procedure. Do not question his procedure, only his confidence.


Experts only play a role in some professions. Generally things that don’t move have experts while things that move have non-experts (empty suits).


Experts who tend to be experts: astronomers, test pilots, chess masters, accountants, physicists, grain inspectors, soil judges…


Experts who tend not to be experts: stockbrokers, college admission officers, political scientists, intelligence analysts, financial forecasters…


Professions that deal with the future and base their studies on the non-repeatable past have an expert problem.


The problem with these empty suits is that they don’t know what they don’t know.

The problem of prediction mainly comes from the fact that we live in Extremistan, not Mediocristan.


What matters is not hwo often you are right, but how large your cumulative errors are.

The focus on the narrow game and linking one's performance to a given script is how the nerds explain the failures of mathematical methods in society. The model was right, it worked weell, but the game turned out to be a different one than expected.


These "experts" were lopsided: on the occasions when they were right, they attributed it to their own depth of understanding and expertise; when wrong, it was either the situation that was to blame, since it was unusual, or, worse, they did not recognize that they were wrong and spun stories around it.


We humans are the victims of an asymmetry in the perception of random events. We attribute our successes to our skills, and our failures to external events outside our control, namely to randomness. We feel responsible for the good stuff, but not for the bad. This causes us to think that that we are better than others at whatever we do for a living.


11. How to Look for Bird Poop

The most important advances are the least predictable ones.

"Luck favors the prepared" — Pasteur

The best way to get maximal exposure is to keep researching. Collect opportunities.


Popper's central argument is that in order to predict historical events you need to predict technological innovation, itself fundamentally unpredictable.


Prediction requires knowing about technologies that will be discovered in the future. But that very knowledge would almost automatically allow us to start developing those technologies right away. Ergo. we do not know what we will know.


If you believe in free will you can't truly believe in social science and economic projection. You cannot predict how people will act.


You have to learn to live without a general theory.


If you are a turkey being fed for a long period of time, you can either naively assume that feeding confirms your safety or be shrewd and consider that it confirms the danger of being turned into supper. The same past data can confirm a theory and also its exact opposite.

One reason we listen to experts and their forecasts is that society reposes on specialiization, effectively the division of knowledge.


12. Epistemocracy, a Dream

The Black Swan asymmetry allows you to be confident about what is wrong, not about what you believe is right.


Consequently, in people's minds, the relationship between the past and the future does not learn from the relationship between the past and the past previous to it.


We laugh at others and we don't realize that someone will be just as justified in laughing at us on some not too remote day.


Forward process = what puddle will form from a melting ice cube? (easy) (physics, engineering)


Backward process = where did the water come from? (hard) (history)


Randomness is just unknowledge. The world is opaque and appearances fool us.


History is useful for the thriill of knowing the past, and for the narrative, provided it remains a harmless narrative. One should learn under severe caution. History is not a place to theorize or derive general knowledge, nor is it meant to help in the future, without some caution. We can get negative confirmation from history, which is invaluable, but we get plenty of illusions of knowledge along with it.

"You can observe a lot by just watching" — Yogi Berra

The more we turn history into anything other than an enumeration of accounts to be enjoyed with minimal theorizing, the more we get into trouble.


13. Appelles the Painter, or What Do You Do if You Cannot Predict?

Be human. Do not try to avoid predicting, just be a fool in the right places.


Know how to rank beliefs not according to their plausibility but by the harm they may cause.

Knowing that you cannot predict does not mean that you cannot benefit from unpredictability.

The bottom line: be prepared!


Maximize the serendipity around you.


Trial and error means trying a lot.


We have psychologiical and intellectual diifficulties with trial and error, and with accepting that series of small failures are necessary in life.


Barbell strategy: be as hyperconservative and hyperaggressive as you can be instead of being mildly aggressive or conservative. For instance, invest 90% in extremely safe assets like Treasury bills, and 10% in extremely speculative bets. That way you do not depend on errors of risk management; no Black Swan can hurt you, beyond your floor, the nest egg that you have in maximally safe investments. Make sure to have plenty of these small bets.


Tricks:

  • Make a distinction between positive and negative contingencies.

  • Do not be narrow-minded: don't look for the precise and the local. Chance favors the prepared: work hard to let contingency enter your working life. Invest in preparedness, not in prediction.

  • Seize any opportunity, or anything that looks like an opportunity. Many people do not realize that they are getting a lucky break in life when they get it.


III. Those Grey Swans of Extremistan

14. From Mediocristan to Extremistan, and Back

The long tail is a by-product of Extremistan that makes it somewhat less unfair: the world is made no less unfair for the little guy, but it now becomes extremely unfair for the big man.

We are gliding into disorder, but not necessarily bad disorder. This implies that we will see more periods of calm and stability, with most problems concentrated into a small number of Black Swans.


15. The Bell Curve, That Great Intellectual Fraud

Gaussian—bell curve variations face a headwind that makes probabilities drop at a faster rate as you move away from the mean, while "scalables", or Mandelbrotian variations, don't have such a restriction.


In the Gaussian framework, inequality decreases as the deviations get larger—caused by the increase in the rate of decrease. In contrast, with the scalable, inequality stays the same throughout. For instance, the inequality among the superrich is the same as the inequality among the simple rich.


Measures of uncertainty that are based on the bell curve simply disregard the possibility, and the impact, of sharp jumps or discontinuities and are, therefore, inapplicable to Extremistan.


The traditional Gaussian way of the looking at the world begins by focusing on the ordinary, and then deals with exceptions or so-called outliers as ancillaries. But there is a second way, which takes the exceptional as a starting point and treats the ordinary as subordinate.

We can use the Gaussian approach in variables for which there is a rational reason for the largest not to be far away from the average.


16. The Aesthetics of Randomness

Fractal is a word Mandelbrot coined to describe the geometry of the rough and broken. Fractality is the repetition of geometric patterns at different scales, revealing smaller versions of themselves. Small parts resemble, to some degree, the whole.

The fractal has numerical or statistical measures that are (somewhat) preserved across scales—the ratio is the same, unlike the Gaussian.


You can always produce data "corroborating" that the underlying process is Gaussian by finding periods that do not have rare events.


17. Locke's Madman, or Bell Curves in the Wrong Places

We run the biggest risk of all: we handle matters from Extremistan, but treated as if they belonged to Mediocristan, as an "approximation".


In the last 50 years, the 10 most extreme days in the financial markets represent half the returns. Meanwhile, we are mired in chitchat.


If the world of finance were Gaussian, an episode such as the crash (more than 20 standard deviations) would take place every several billion lifetimes of the universe.


Many people do not understand the elementary asymmetry involved: you need one single observation to reject the Gaussian, but millions of observations will not fully confirm the validity of its application. Why? Because the Gaussian bell curve disallows large deviations, but tools of Extremistan, the alternative, do not disallow long quite stretches.


After the stock market crash, the Nobel awarded two theoriticians, Markowitz and Sharpe, who built beauutifully Platonic models on a Gaussian base, contributing to what is called Modern Portfolio Theory. Simply, if you remove their Gaussian assumptions and treat prices as scalables, you are left with hot air.


A scholar who applies such methodology resembles Locke's definition of a madman: someone "reasoning correctly from erroneous premises".


It's contagion that determines the fate of a theory in social science, not its validity.


18. The Uncertainty of the Phony

You cannot go from books to problems, but the reverse, from problems to books.

"The degeneration of philosophical schools in its turn is the consequence of the mistaken belief that one can philosophize without having been compelled to philosophize by problems outside philosophy. Genuine philosophical problems are always rooted outside philosophy and they die if these roots decay. These roots are easily forgotten by philosophers who "study" philosophy instead of being forced into philosophy by the pressure of nonphilosophical problems." — Karl Popper

I am most often irritated by those people who attack the bishop but fall for the securities analyst—those who exercise their skepticism against religion but not against economists, social scientists, and phony statisticians.


My antidote to Black Swans is to be noncommoditized in my thinking.


IV. The End

19. Half and Half, or How to Get Even with the Black Swan

I am skeptical about confirmation—though only when errors are costly—not about disconfirnation.


Worry less about small failures, more about large.


I worry far more about the "promising" stock market, particularly the "safe" blue chip stocks, than I do about speculative ventures—the former presents invisible risks, the latter offer no surprises since you know how volatile they are and can limit your downside by investing in smaller amounts.


Don't worry about things you can't do anything about.


Be aggressive when you can gain exposure to positive Black Swans and very conservative when you are under the threat of negative Black Swans.


"Don't run for trains" philosophy: resist running to keep on schedule. 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 is what you are seeking.


You have far more control over your life if you decide on your criterion by yourself.

We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck. Don't be like the ingrate who got a castle as apresent and worried about the mildrew in the bathroom.

Remember that you are a Black Swan.


Postscript

Learning From Mother Nature, the Oldest and the Wisest

Older is almost always more solid, but not necessarily perfect.


Mother Nature is a complex system, with webs of interdependence, nonlinearities, and a robust ecology.


First, Mother Nature likes redundancies. Defensive redundancy allows you to survive under adversity, thanks to the availability of spare parts. The exact opposite of redundancy is naive optimization. An economist would find it inefficient to maintain two lungs and two kidneys.

"Felix qui nihil nebet" (Happy is he who owes nothing) — Roman proverb

Grandmothers who survived the Great Depression would have advised us the exact opposite of debt: redundancy.


Second, Mother Nature does like anything too big. It does not limit the interctions between entities; it just limits the size of iits units.


Third, Mother Nature does not like too much connectviity and globalization. Larger environments are more scalable than smaller ones—allowing the biggest to get even bigger, at the expense of the smallest, through the mechanism of preferential attachment.

The organism with the largest number of secondary usesi is the one that will gain the most from environmental randomness and epistemic opacity.


The crisis of 2008 was not a Black Swan, only the fragility in systems built upon ignorance—and denial—of the notion of Black Swan events. There is nothing in its developmentthat had not happened before, at a smaller scale (for example, banks losing in 1982 every penny they ever made).


The idea is to simply let human mistakes and miscalculations remain confined, and to prevent their spreading through the system, as Mother Nature does.


Why I Do All This Walking

Another application of the barbell strategy: plenty of idleness, some high intensity. Trade duration for intensity—for a hedonic gain.


By the same argument we can lower 90% of Black Swan risks in economic life by just eliminating speculative debt.


Extremistan is characterized by both extremes, a high share of low impact, a low share of high impact.


Pearls Before Swine

The focus is in not being the turkey in places where it matters.

One should pick a destination for whcih one has a good map, not travel and then find the "best map".


Doing nothing can be much more preferable to doing something potentially harmful. Sometimes, doing nothing is better than doing something. Don't use the wrong map: the notion of iatrogenics (meaning the study of the harm caused by the healer).

When you walk the walk, whether successful or not, you feel indifferent and robust to people's opinion, freer, more real.


Asperger and the Ontological Black Swan

A Black Swan for the turkey is not a Black Swan for the butcher.

Regular events can predict regular events but rare events are almost never predicted from narrow reliance on the past.


People do "stress tests" by taking the worst possible past deviation as an anchor event to project the worst possible future deviatiion, not thinking that they would have failed to account for that past deviation had they used to same method on the day before the occurrence of that oast anchor event.

"We consider the biggest object of any kind that we have seen in our lives as the largest possible item" — Lucretius

People can, while being rational, assign different probabilities to different states of the world. This is called subjective probabilities.


In an ergotic system, the probabilities of what may happen in the long run are not impacted by events that may take place, say next year.


A nonergotic system has no real long-term properties—it is prone to path dependency.

Life takes place in the preasymptotic, not in the Platonic long run, and some properties that hold in the preasymptote (or the short run) can be markedly divergent from those that take place in the long run.


To assume a long run in a complex system, you need to also assume that nothing new will emerge.


You cannot doubt everything and function; you cannot believe eveything and survive.


The Fourth Quadrant

It is much more sound to take risks that you can measure than to measure the risks that you are taking.



The recommendation is to move from the fourth quadrant into the third one. It is not possible to change the distribution; it is possible to change the exposure.

All the skepticism associated with the Black Swan problem should be focused in the fourth quadrant.


In other words, the fourth quadrant is where the difference between absence of evidence and evidence of absence becomes acute.


Phronetic Rules

  1. Have respect for time and nondemonstrative knowledge (Mother Nature).

  2. Avoid optimization; learn to love redundancy. Thus, avoid debt and overspecialization.

  3. Avoid prediction of small probability payoffs—though not necessarily of ordinary ones.

  4. Beware the "atypicality" of remote events. Past shortfalls don't predict sebsequent shortfalls, so we don't know exactly what to stress-test for.

  5. Beware moral hazard with bonus payments.

  6. Avoid some risk metrics. Conventional metrics, nased on Mediocristan, adjusted for large deviations, don't work.

  7. Do not confuse absence of volatility with absence of risk. Conventional metrics using volatility as an indicator of stability fool us, because the evolution into Extremistan is marked by a lowering of volatility—and a greater risk of big jumps.


10 Principles for a Black-Swan-Robust Society

  1. What is fragile should break early, while it's still small.

  2. No socialization of losses and privatization of gains.

  3. People who were driving a schoolbus blindly (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus.

  4. Don't let someone with an "incentive" bonus manage a nuclear plant or your financial risks.

  5. Compensate complexity with simplicity.

  6. Do not give children dynamite stocks, even if they come with a warning label.

  7. Governments should never need to "restore confidence".

  8. Do not give an addict more drugs if he has withdrawal pains. Using leverage to cure problems of too much leverage is not homeopathy, it's denial.

  9. Citizens should not depend on financial assets as a repository of value and should not rely on fallible "expert" advice for the retirement.

  10. Make an omelet with the broken eggs. Let us move volutarily into a robust economy by helping what needs to be broken to break on its own, converting debt to equity, marginalizing the economics and business school establishments, shutting down the "Nobel" in economics, banning leveraged buyouts, putting bankers where they belong, clawing back the bonuses of those who got us here, and teaching people to navigate a world with fewer certainties.

Amor Fati: How to Become Indestrictible

A Black Swan cannot so eaily defeat a man who has an idea of his final destination.

© Alex Vikner

  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Medium