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Nassim Taleb is a Lebanese-American risk analyst, options trader, statistician, scholar, and essayist. Some of his own best works include The Black Swan, Antifragile, and Incerto. One of the ways to gain insight into Taleb’s mind is to dig into some of the books that are on Nassim Taleb’s Reading List.
A synopsis along with the pros and cons of such books is provided below.
Nassim Taleb’s Reading List
Idea Makers: Personal Perspectives On The Lives & Ideas Of Some Notable People by Stephen Wolfram
What is it About: If you like to dive into the inner workings and perspectives of one of the brightest and most notable scientists and businessmen in our time then this book is for you.
In his book, Wolfram discusses the lives and ideas of mathematicians and some of the smartest people that have lived on the planet.
Of course, he chose people that he is interested in.
Learning the concepts, ideas, innovations, and inspirations from Benoit Mandelbrot, Charles Babbage, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Ada Lovelace, and John Von Neumann to name a few will be such a treat.
Note that this book is not about mathematical ideas, so don’t worry you won’t be reading a lot of formulas and theory.
This is a biographical book written by a genius that discusses the genius of geniuses.
In this book, Wolfram focuses on the human side of these great thinkers.
There is, of course, no better way to get a backstage pass on the way these great minds saw the world than through the point of view of another genius.
In this book, we will see them in action.
We also see them as faulty human beings.
But most of all, we are given a window through which we can witness the heights of human creativity and learn from them.
This is one of those books that you can pick up today and let go.
You can go back to it any day and on any page.
There is no need to put a proverbial bookmark to figure out how the story flows.
Each chapter is independent.
What to look out for: Some may feel that the book is too egotistical.
If you’re looking for actual biographies then this might not be exactly what you’re looking for.
Well, we should expect that the perspectives reflected here are also genuinely Wolfram’s as well.
It’s how he sees these other math wizards and how he interprets their ideas and contributions.
Your first step to being an Idea Maker is by buying this book on Nassim Taleb’s Reading List when you click on the image link above.
Modeling Extremal Events For Insurance And Finance by Paul Embrechts
What is it about: If you are interested in the theory and also the applications of external value theory then this is the book for you.
It is very scholarly and you will be treated to chart after chart and evidence after evidence.
Yes, but you need to be on the level of advanced undergraduates of mathematics, engineering, and also physics.
A random sample of subjects from the first few chapters includes point processes, extreme value theory, statistical analysis of external events, the order statistics of random variables, maxima, and the property of sums.
This is no less than an excellent resource book.
On top of that, it is also very scholarly as well.
It is also quite comprehensive since it deals with the related subjects quite extensively.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you are interested in mathematics as well, then you will enjoy Embrechts’ treatment of risk theory.
Combine that with the other topics mentioned above and the discussion of the fluctuations of sums and you are in for an enlightening ride.
What to look out for: Discussing extreme value theory is not for undergraduates.
The author does not always discuss the solution in some of the discussions.
In many instances, he just states the results but he never proves them.
That means you may have to work out the proof yourself.
You can learn more about Insurance and Finance when you buy this book from Amazon using the image link above.
The Kelly Capital Growth Investment Criterion by Edward O. Thorp
What is it about: This is probably one of the most comprehensive yet complicated treatments of the Kelly Criterion.
You can say that it covers all the details of the fortunes formula exposing you to nuances from every angle.
If you are interested in the treatment of mathematics for investing, then this is a must-have book.
It emphasizes the huge value of position size and its rather tethered relationship to probability expectations.
Yes, it provides you with the computations for the Kelly Criterion.
It also gives you several examples of how to create methods to arrive at a good value for certain outcomes.
This book also gives you a sneak peek into the mind of Edward Thorp, who is arguably the best hedge fund manager of his time.
Allow him to immerse you into the realm of finance, economics, and of course decision theory.
The strategy that Thorp introduces and covers extensively is the system for maximizing wealth in the long run.
You will be introduced to the concept of using logarithmic utility functions to maximize the utility of wealth from one period to the next.
What to look out for: Is there a risk to this strategy that the author is outlining? Of course, there is.
In fact, this strategy has huge risks in the short term.
However, note that it effectively is in the long term and especially as your number of bets increases.
Learn more about Capital Investment and its risk when you buy this book on Nassim Taleb’s Reading List from Amazon using the image link above.
A Few Lessons from Sherlock Holmes by Peter Bevelin
What is it about: Nassim Taleb calls Peter Bevelin one of the wisest people to ever live in this world of ours.
He has written some of the best books that a lot of people probably have never heard of.
His other books such as “Seeking Wisdom from Darwin to Munger,” for instance, also dwells on how one can improve one’s thinking.
This book “A Few Lessons from Sherlock Holmes” is also in the same genre.
It’s an easy read. So, it won’t be that intimidating for many readers especially those who are delving into this subject for the first time.
If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan then you will be delighted to find insights from the very pages that you have previously enjoyed.
It’s like bringing new light to the text.
You will find interesting lines followed by related quotes from Arthur Conan Doyle’s books.
Also, you can treat it as a crash course into decision making while under the influence of uncertainty.
You will learn how to use empirical skepticism and how to make inferential best decisions even when you’re only armed with partial information.
What to look out for. The only flaw that you will find from this book is that it is a rather short read.
It will leave you wanting more.
Learn how you can improve your thinking when you buy this book from Amazon by clicking on the image link above.
The Secret Of Fatima by Peter Tanous
What is it about: Nassim Taleb is not a dull person incapable of having fun.
Evidence of that is the fact that “The Secret Of Fatima” is part of his recommended reading list.
Of course, every book on his list is nothing short of page-turners.
This book will whet your appetite if you are interested in action-packed reads and sneak peeks into Catholic tradition.
What to look out for: If you’re into conspiracy theories then this might be of interest to you.
However, just remember that this is a work of fiction.
The author weaves some actual controversy.
However, none of the situations and issues that are raised here treated as fact.
Learn more secrets by buying this book from Amazon using the image link above.
Is there a book highlight that we missed from Nassim Taleb’s Reading List?
Please leave us a comment below.