3 Lessons Nassim Taleb Has Taught Me About Philosophy and Living Life

One of the individuals and philosophers who have had the strongest impact on me include Nassim Taleb.

Why Nassim?

Many reasons.

First of all, he’s inspired and motivated me in so many different ways.

For example, he’s the one who taught me that procrastination can be a good thing (in his book Antifragile). Generally what we procrastinate on isn’t that important (besides paying your taxes), and almost everything important gets done by itself (Taoist concept of “wu Wei”). Therefore I’ve applied this in my life: I procrastinate on stuff which doesn’t interest me, or what’s not important to me (purposeful procrastination). As a result, I create more, with less anxiety and fewer distractions. I’ve been so much more prolific in writing more, making more photos, studying more, and deepening my knowledge and wisdom of the world and philosophy.

Swans. Kyoto, 2016
Swans. Kyoto, 2016

Secondly, he taught me the concept of “skin in the game”, which means: don’t ask others for their recommendations or “opinions” in life. Instead, just ask what they own in their portfolio, or just observe what they do in their “real life”. Because talk is cheap, action is expensive! This has also taught me the practical lesson: when I give recommendations or suggestions to other people, ethically and practically I should just tell people what I personally do and buy, because my own self-narratives are often false. A true pledge of belief occurs through your actions and what you actually spend your money and time on.

Kyoto, 2016

Third, he taught me the concept of “anti fragility”, that I’m anti fragile. Which means, things which end up not killing me will only make me stronger. And in a sense, all of life is upside, no downside. Because even the “bad” will end up making me stronger!

Thanks Nassim for all you do.

Your biggest fan,

Books I recommend by Taleb (in this order), based on how many times I’ve re-read the books:

  1. Antifragile
  2. The Bed of Procrustes
  3. Fooled by Randomness
  4. The Black Swan

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