Nassim Recommends Five Books

Penguin UK asked Nassim to recommend five books that have informed him as a writer. He chose:

Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Opposing Shore by Julien Gracq

The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne

Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

A History Of Private Life, Volumes I to V

Here are his explanations.

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One comment

  1. Good Morning Mr Taleb, I have read black swan (french version) several years ago and I have been greatly impressed by some of your important remarks. However it is only today that I have decided to try to share a discussion with you. I am working in a European Petroleum Company for 23 years now. I am “geostatistician” (what an honor!)and I have been involved in many problems concerning uncertainties (robust risk and uncertainties evaluations, consolidation of portfolios, …). My every day exercise is to evaluate geological uncertainties on petroleum reservoir projects using some 3D geomodeling and associated predictions. An important message in your book is “let’s keep a part of our attention to grey swans” instead on focusing on unrelevant details; I have clear examples of past mistakes concerning this but it is often easier to understand the mistakes after the occurrence of the cataclysm (unlikely event); my question related to this topic is how to chose the grey swans to look at and how to present the results?. A second message is “let’s be parsimonious in our models” I have seen a lot of complex 3D geomodels representation of hydrocarbon reservoir and some mistakes due to confusion between complexity and predictability of the models; my undestanding is let’s keep our models more simple and use our computing resources to address additional hypotheses (even gray swans). But don’t you think that the parsimonious message could be contradictory with the grey swans treatment at least in the understanding of the management? today the tendency is to make it simple but with limited number of hypotheses only. This is very carricatural but I can develop more arguments based on my experience. I hope you will find the subject interesting enough to recommend me some papers or guidelines.

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