Friday, August 2, 2013

Nassim Taleb quotes

From Antifragile:
My parents had an account with the largest bookstore in Beirut and I would pick up books in what seemed to me unlimited quantities. There was such a difference between the shelves of the library and the narrow school material; so I realized that school was a plot designed to deprive people of erudition by squeezing their knowledge into a narrow set of authors. I started, around the age of thirteen, to keep a log of my reading hours, shooting for between thirty and sixty a week, a practice I’ve kept up for a long time.
It was a barbell—play it safe at school and read on your own, have zero expectation from school.
One day in the 1980s I had dinner with a famous speculator, a hugely successful man. He muttered the hyperbole that hit home: “much of what other people know isn’t worth knowing.”
To this day I still have the instinct that the treasure, what one needs to know for a profession, is necessarily what lies outside the corpus, as far away from the center as possible. But there is something central in following one’s own direction in the selection of readings: what I was given to study in school I have forgotten; what I decided to read on my own, I still remember.