Randomness is indistinguishable from complicated, undetected order
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is considered by many as a provocative, modern day philosopher. Here I share some of his insights on randomness which is at the core of what he writes about. The quotes are taken from his book The Bed of Procrustes in the section Fooled by Randomness.
Fooled by Randomness quotes
Unless we manipulate our surroundings, we have as little control over what and whom we think about as we do over the muscles of our hearts.
The tragedy is that much of what you think is random is in your control and, what’s worse, the opposite.
An academic cannot lose his tenure, but a businessman and risk taker, poor or rich, can go bankrupt. That is the infuriating inequality.
Medieval man was a cog in a wheel he did not understand; modern man is a cog in a complicated system he thinks he understands.
Journalists cannot grasp that what is interesting is not necessarily important; most cannot even grasp that what is sensational is not necessarily interesting.
Probability is the intersection of the most rigorous mathematics and the messiest of life.
Randomness is indistinguishable from complicated, undetected order; but order itself is indistinguishable from randomness.
The calamity of the information age is that the toxicity of data increases much faster than its benefits.
Taleb is a Marmite figure, i.e. you either love or hate him. I find his ideas refreshing and deeply thought provoking. Taleb has a dislike for professions and organisations which, in his view, do not have Skin in the Game. If you can see past the somewhat abrasive style then I think there is much to gain from taking a closer look at his work.
Antifragile book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Black Swan book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
How to Profit from Chaos by Nat Eliason
Simplicity in 8 steps post by Phil Martin
This post shared some of my favourite Nassim Nicholas Taleb quotes on randomness. Next Sunday’s post will suggest ways to build a second brain.
Until next Sunday, I suggest you check out one of Taleb’s talks. You will either be annoyed, learn something or, quite possibly, both.