Given his high regard for NYT, can you ask him if he would miss your column should NYT somehow vanish ?

Aaron Blaisdell

Given his passion for lots of slow, reflective walking and learning from our ancestry, and given the recent press about the virtues of barefoot walking and running, does he own a pair of Vibrams Five Fingers? If not, what is his favorite walking shoe?

Nestor Che

ask him if he sees black swans in his dreams


Love the Black Swan, but how can "regular" people implement these concepts into their lives? How can an "average" person invest their 401k, their bank savings, etc., to make the most of their assets while avoiding the risks that they assume by just being part of the "marketplace"?


Ask him if he has found it increasingly difficult to follow his investment strategy of betting on long-tail risks given the success of said strategy during the financial crisis. Are people now overpaying for "black swan" events or can it never be priced fairly so long as options are based on the Black-Scholes model?


Does Nassim have any thoughts on sports strategy, say in football, where randomness seems highly relevant?


where does he invest his money?

David Duncan

If you agree that real estate appraisals fit in the same category as economic forecasts, how can their effects on loan underwriting be robustified? Why do people, including those who should know better, put so much trust in them? Also, since real estate values are so prone to both black and white swans, is it wise to base property taxes on such bogus forecasting?

Krishna Bhaskar

What are the books he would recommend to a general readers - perhaps some that would attempt to match his famed combination of math, psychology, philosophy, and Finance?

Krishna Bhaskar

What are the books he would recommend to general readers - perhaps some that would attempt to match his famed combination of math, psychology, philosophy, and Finance?


If NNT was the final authority in writing the financial reform bill, what components would he include, and at what priority (must have/should have/nice to have)?

Alternatively (if he doesn't think financial reform is worth it), can our current financial system be reformed at all?

Douglas Green

Ask him what he thinks of the way most teachers arrive at grades by averaging test scores rather then allowing students to simply add up their accomplishments until they show understanding.


could he write a book not mostly about how sophisticated and erudite he feels that he is? maybe with a little humility his writing would be tolerable.

David Duncan

Sorry, I can't let this go. In the late 70s and early 80s, starting (naturally) in California with Proposition 13, the notion that it is possible to accurately appraise every single property in any given place on one certain day in every single year using pseudo scientific multiple regression analysis and armies of "experts" swept across the nation. If tax rates were low the consequences would be relatively inconsequential. Naive reliance on the belief that these appraisals actually reflect "market value" has given elected officials convenient moral cover for raising taxes, made worse by the practice of using separate governmental bodies to do the actual appraising. I think that this is an example of where "scientism" and "optimization" have led to disastrous results.


I second support for question on what books he might recommend to general readers.


Ask him if black swans mean that people are so obsessed with one story that they forget that other stories can happen or if it is really impossible to see them coming.
Ex: the fall of Lehman was a black swan because "no one saw it coming" or was a normal market event as many players placed the bets against a troublesome company (which means the people who have played short on it... knew it would come). Same on the black Wednesday... is it a black swan or a return to normal?

What does the internet mean to black swans? are they easier to predict due to more information (less asymmetries and less imperfections) or are they harder to predict as the news about what happened circulates faster having effects in more parts of the world?

What is Mr.Taleb's bet for the future? What would he invest in?

Koen Smets

Is human behaviour (not just by traders but by all players in the economy) random, unpredictable but not random, both unpredictable and random, or neither (and hence something else)?

Ian Callum

His comments about the necessity to exchange debt for equity make sense to me. I'd like to know whether he thinks it's politically feasible for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to do this with underwater mortgages.

E Olson

Mr Taleb has disassembled common market risk practices. Does he have a remedy, or will we always be flying a bit blind? The banks must use something to determine risk.


Perhaps the question is somewhat off-topic, but does NNT believe that cannabis should be legalised?