Nassim Taleb's Black Swans Earned Their Keep This Week

If you like numbers in the range of one billion.
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The recent market rout caught some star Wall Street traders by surprise. But not a hedge fund affiliated with “The Black Swan” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb that seeks to profit from extreme events in the financial markets. Universa Investments LP gained roughly 20% on Monday, according to a person familiar with the matter, a day when the market collapsed more than 1,000 points in its largest ever intraday point decline. Universa’s profits—some realized and some on paper—amounted to more than $1 billion in the past week, largely on Monday, as its returns for the year climbed to roughly 20% through earlier this week. [WSJ]


Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Got Bad News For His Legions Of Soccer Mom Fans

Greek god. Philosopher. Adonis. The only person on earth who has earned the right to have an opinion about anything. All appropriate characterizations of one Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and the way at least three-quarters of all living homo sapiens have described NNT in their conversations with friends and in their diaries. And while his many admirers have surely studied him in great detail in the hopes of one day having the opportunity to unlock his heart or simply bask in his reflected glory for a moment or two, not everyone has a comprehensive list of the things that rev Taleb's engine and, more importantly, that tick him off. Luckily, a recent profile by Chronicle writer Tom Bartlett has produced a near-complete guide to the likes and dislikes of Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Read it, print it out, carry it in your pocket-- but really, consider taking the time to commit it to memory. Your chance may only come along once and you don't want to fuck it up by fumbling around your notes because you can't remember what his thoughts are on "bourgeois bohemian bonus earners" or fruit.

Nassim Taleb Is On His Second Round Of Self-Imposed Quiet Time

Several years back, in response to the news that Ben Bernanke would be reappointed Fed Chairman, Nassim Nicholas Taleb made an announcement that he would be retreating from society. "What I am to much for me to bear," Taleb wrote. "I am not blaming Bernanke (he doesn't even know he doesn't understand how things work); it is the Senators appointing him who are totally irresponsible...I need to withdraw as immediately as possible into the Platonic quiet of my library, work on my next book, find solace in science and philosophy, and mull the next step...I will only (briefly) emerge from my hiatus when the publishers force me to do so upon the publication of the paperback edition of The Black Swan. Bye, Nassim." NNT reintroduced himself to the world at some point in 2010 or 2011 but now, apparently, he has once again decided to pick up his black swans and leave, as people getting in touch with him to star in their movie, blurb their book, or pick his large and intimidating brain recently learned. AUTOREPLY (Please ignore this message if you are a personal friend or engaged in an ongoing correspondence). Dear correspondent; I am currently disengaged from the rest of the world (until November 2012). I had to stop replying to emails outside of the strictly personal (friends, family, citizens of Amioun, etc.), except for extremely important/urgent matters. Please note that, except for emergencies & appointments, I reply to mails with an equivalent frequency to that of classical letters. (REQUESTS: Also note that 1) I no longer do media interviews (except those scheduled by publishers), 2) can no longer endorse books, 3) do not participate in documentary films, 4) will not give lectures in Asia, Australia, and other places entailing severe jetlag, etc.) I apologize for the inconvenience. Nassim Taleb Still Has the Most Nassim Taleb Auto-Reply Email Ever [NYO] Earlier: Nassim Taleb Swears He’s Done With This Place, Signs Off In A Huff– Who Should He Take With Him?