Nassim Taleb’s tidbits

Globalization has made the linkages between things more complex. The Internet and technology has increased the number of zeros you can put behind things. Capitalism has forced everyone to overoptimize in order to compete. There’s not enough redundancy in the system anymore. If banks had two times the capital and half the leverage, they wouldn’t be in the position they are in now.

 Learn to benefit from the fact that the markets are manic-depressive. Unexpected events, or “black swans,” can be dangerous, but they can also be good for you. So I recommend a very strange strategy, which is to put a lot of money—80 or 90 percent—in very safe assets like T-bills or cash, and then put the rest in highly risky assets. Even if you don’t earn enough on the bulk to offset inflation, eventually you’ll make it up on the risky assets, and what’s more—you won’t lose your money! My mother-in-law recently put her savings into bank convertibles. She lost 40 percent of her money. Her broker kept telling her that you don’t earn interest on cash, but you know what, zero percent interest is better than negative 40!

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