Missing The Train Is Only Painful If You Run After It

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a great writer, very original and very unique. His work focuses on problems of randomness, probability, and uncertainty.

In 2016 and gave a commencement address to the graduating class in which, describing his life, he stated

I hesitate to give advice because every major single piece of advice I was given turned out to be wrong and I am glad I didn’t follow them. I was told to focus and I never did. I was told to never procrastinate and I waited 20 years for the Black Swan and it sold 3 million copies. I was told to avoid putting fictional characters in my books and I did put in Nero Tulip and Fat Tony because I got bored otherwise. I was told to not insult the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, the more I insulted them the nicer they were to me and solicit Op-Eds. I was told to avoid lifting weights for a back pain and became a weightlifter: never had a back problem since.


If I had to relive my life I would be even more stubborn and uncompromising than I have been. One should never do anything without skin in the game. If you give advice, you need to be exposed to losses from it

Don’t Be a Slave of Time and Drop All Patterns

👉 Once you know you are in control of your own time, you will get more fulfillment from your life. This will provide true grace to your life and actions.

👉 y missing it deliberately if you are getting late will eliminate the pain of missing the train. The idea is not to circumvent the pain but to nurture a good habit of not wasting needless mental sweats on such small defeats.

👉 Bring a bit of randomness in your life.

People look for books that support their mental programs and become more like what they are. Find a pattern and deliberately break it.

Redefine Success

👉 Do not settle for small and visible benefits, become robust and anti-fragile, even gain from harm.

👉 Not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking

👉 Don’t imitate others or follow someone else’s dreams. Even if you become successful it won’t be your success and you will miss the part of life that you missed by not following your own dreams

One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. — Andre Gide

Don’t Be Too Much Dependent on External Tools

👉 There are many ways to do a thing. It is creative to not to analyze too much about what’s going on or to predict what’s coming next.

👉 Don not get busy in a small talk based on what external media is shouting. Focusing on the known and repeated will kill your creativity.

👉 Rather take lessons in “How to practice uncertainty?”

Don’t Predict Too Much

👉 We are great at self-illusion. We have explanations for all phenomena even if unexplainable.

👉 The more intelligent the person the more intellectual the explanation. All this just give you illusion of understanding it

👉 Always remember “truck drivers who read books do not read books written for truck drivers”. You will be surprised every time.

If we accept uncertainty, it becomes an adventure!

Don’t Invent The Cause

👉 We keep on inventing the cause. This overestimation of cause makes us create links between events where there is none.

👉 We all suffer from post hoc rationalization because our minds are wonderful explanation machines

Do not cherry pick small facts to fit your theories

History is Not What You Think it is

👉 History is not a record of what has happened but what was written

👉 History does not crawl, it jumps- full of random events that we are still trying to rationalize

Best quote from Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Suckers try to win arguments, non-suckers try to win