Official Academic Biography of Nassim Nicholas Taleb


Summary: Taleb's works focuses on mathematical, philosophical, and practical problems with risk and probability, as well as on the properties of systems that can handle disorder. He spent 21 years as a derivatives trader and, after closing 650,000 option transactions and examining 200,000 risk reports, he changed careers in 2006 to become a mathematical researcher, scholar and philosophical essayist.

He is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute, co-director and founder of the EXTREME RISK INITIATIVE-NYU SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, and co-editor in chief of the scholarly journal Risk and Decision Analysis.

He is the author of a 4 volume philosophical essay on uncertainty, Incerto (Antifragile (2012), The Black Swan (2007–2010), Fooled by Randomness (2001) and The Bed of Procrustes (2010)) as well as a mathematical parallel version, Silent Risk (freely available). His collected scientific papers are here. Most recent activity: collaborated with the Rand Corporation on a project for the early detection of country fragility.

He is now  exclusively focused on mathematical treatments of problems discussed in the Incerto and has abandoned the more general public discussions.



Fields: Probability/Risk/Fragility.

What to do under incomplete understanding ("opacity"), epistemology of probability, mathematical expressions of model errors and metaprobability, ancient heuristics & Mediterranean systems of ethics.


BOOKS (>100 editions, 35 languages)

INCERTO, A Philosophical Essay on Uncertainty (no sequence).

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, Random House & Penguin (November 2012)

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Random House & Penguin (2007-2010 2nd. Ed.), 31 languages. , Force et fragilité, reflexions philosophiques et empiriques. Paris: Les Belles Lettres (2010) -adapted from the postcript to the 2nd ed. of The Black Swan

The Bed of Procrustes, Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms, Random House & Penguin (2010)

Fooled by Randomness, Random House & Penguin (2001-2005 2nd Ed.), 22 languages.

The TECHNICAL INCERTO:  Lectures on Risk and Probability.  Mathematical expression of the ideas of the Incerto with demonstrations, proofs, and derivations.

Silent Risk , The Technical Incerto: Lectures on Risk and Probability, Vol 1, (freely available  2015)

A Mathematical Formulation of Fragility, The Technical Incerto: Lectures on Risk and Probability, Vol 2, (freely available  2015) , with Raphael Douady .

Other Technical and Nonliterary Books:

Dynamic Hedging: Managing Vanilla and Exotic Options, J. Wiley (1997)


SELECT TECHNICAL AND SPECIALIZED ARTICLES [FIELD] (Note that all academic publications need to be backup to points made philosophically in the Incerto)

Taleb, N.N, 2015, Model error and dimensionality [PROBABILITY]

Taleb, N.N., and Raphael Douady, 2015, "On the Super-Additivity and Estimation Biases of Quantile Contributions", Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Applications [STATISTICS, PROBABILITY]

Geman, Don, Hélyette  Geman, and N.N. Taleb, 2015, "Tail Risk Constraints and Maximum Entropy" Entropy [PROBABILITY, RISK]

Cirillo, P. and N N Taleb, 2015 "On the tail risk of violent conflict and its underestimation" [STATISTICS, EXTREME DEVIATIONS]

Taleb, N.N., 2015, "Biases and errors of the Gini Coefficient for Fat Tailed Variables"  [MATHEMATICS, WEALTH DISTRIBUTION]

Milanovic, B., and Taleb, N.N., 2015, [ECONOMICS, WEALTH DISTRIBUTION]

Taleb, N.N., 2015, "Unique Option Pricing Measure with Neither Dynamic Hedging nor Complete Markets", European Financial Management [(MATHEMATICAL) FINANCE, DERIVATIVES THEORY]

Norman, J., Bar-Yam, Y., Taleb, N.N. , 2015, Issues in Science and Technology, [RISK, ECOLOGY]

Taleb, N.N., Read, R., Douady, R, Norman, J., Bar-Yam, Y., 2014 The Precautionaty Principle [RISK, ECOLOGY] under revision

Taleb, N.N. and Greg Treverton, 2014, The Calm Before the Storm: Why Volatility Signals Stability and Vice Versa, Foreign Affairs [INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS]

Taleb, N. N., 2014, in Tapiero, Bensoussan and Guégan, Future Perspectives in Risk Models and Finance, Springer [RISK]

Sandis C. and N.N. Taleb, 2014,  The silver rule for acting under uncertainty, Philosophers' Magazine [PHILOSOPHY, ETHICS]

Taleb, N.N. and Rupert Read, 2014, Religion, Heuristics, and Intergenerational Risk Management, Econ Journal Watch [RISK, PHILOSOPHY]

Taleb, N.N., and Gregory F. Treverton, 2014, Markers of Country Fragility: a methodology to detect the fragility of a political unit, RAND National Security Research Division PR-1154-USG March 2014 [RISK, SECURITY, POLITICAL SCIENCE]

Sandis C. and N.N. Taleb, 2014, forth. forthcoming in (eds.) J Boaks & .M. Levine, Leadership and Ethics (London: Bloomsbury, 2015)[PHILOSOPHY, ETHICS]

Taleb, N.N., 2014, Elements of Quantitative Finance: Four Points Beginner Risk Managers Should Learn from Jeff Holman's Mistakes in the Discussion of Antifragile, Quantitative Finance [QUANT FINANCE]

Taleb, N.N., and Tetlock, P., 2014, On the Difference between Binary Prediction and True Exposure With Implications For Forecasting Tournaments and Decision Making Research [DECISION THEORY]

Taleb, N. N. , 2014, and C. Sandis, "The Skin In The Game Heuristic for Protection Against Tail Events", Review of Behavioral Economics (Inaugural Issue)[ETHICS/PROBABILITY/RISK MANAGEMENT]

Taleb, N.N. , 2013, "No, Small Probabilities are not "Attractive to Sell" Financial Analysts Journal [RISK MANAGEMENT]

Taleb, N.N. and Douady, R.,2013, Mathematical Definition and Mapping of (Anti)Fragility, Quantitative Finance, [RISK MANAGEMENT]

Taleb, N.N., Elie Canetti, Elena Loukoianova, Tidiane Kinda, and Christian Schmieder (2012) A New Heuristic Measure of Fragility and Tail Risks: Application to Stress Testing , IMF WORKING PAPER [ECONOMICS, RISK]

Taleb, N.N., and Martin, G. (f. ), "On Some Consequences of the Spurious Tail", under revision, Journal of Alternative Investments [FINANCE]

Taleb, N.N. and Sandis (f. 2014), Complexity and the Separation of the Ethical and the Legal, in Oxford University Press Handbook on Professional Economic Ethics: Views from the Economics Profession and Beyond, George DeMartino and Deirdre McCloskey, Editors [PHILOSOPHY/ETHICS]

Taleb, N.N. and Martin, G. ( 2012), How to Avoid Another Crisis, f. SIAS Review of International Affairs [POLITICAL SCIENCE/PUBLIC POLICY]

Taleb, N.N. and Martin, G. (f. 2012),The Illusion of Thin Tails Under Aggregation, Journal of Investment Management [STATISTICS/FINANCE]

Taleb, N.N. and Martin, G. ( 2012) Internationella Studier, Utrikespolitiska Institutet/The Swedish Institute of International Affairs [POLITICAL SCIENCE/PUBLIC POLICY]

Taleb, N.N. (2012), The Future Has Thicker Tails than the Past: Model Error as Branching Counterfactuals, preprint [PHILOSOPHY/STATISTICS]

Taleb, N.N., and Goldstein, D. (2012),The Problem is Beyond Psychology: The Real World is More Random than Regression Analyses, forthcoming, International Journal of Forecasting [DECISION THEORY]

Taleb, N.N., and Blyth, M. (2011), The Black Swan of Cairo, Foreign Affairs, 90,3 [POLITICAL SCIENCE]

Douady, R. and Taleb, N.N. (2011) Statistical Undecidability, preprint. [MATHEMATICS]

Taleb, N.N. (2011) Why Did the Crisis of 2008 Happen?, invited [withdrawn by author], New Political Economy [Also presented to the Obama Commission] [POLITICAL SCIENCE]

Taleb, N. and Tapiero, C. (2010) The Risk Externalities of Too Big to Fail, Physica A: Statistical Physics and Applications

Haug, E. G. and Taleb, N. N. (2010) Option Traders use Heuristics, Never the Formula known as Black-Scholes-Merton Equation, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organizations [ECONOMICS]

Taleb, N. N. (2010) Common Errors in the Interpretation of the Ideas of The Black Swan and Associated Papers, Critical Review, Vol 21, No 4 [withdrawn by author] [POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY]

Mandelbrot, B. and Taleb, N. N. (2010) “Random Jump, not Random Walk", in The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable, Richard Herring Ed., Princeton University Press [STATISTICS]

“Beliefs, Decisions, and Probability” (2010), Blackwell Companion to the Philosophy of Action (with Avital Pilpel) [PHILOSOPHY]

Taleb, N. N. (2009) Errors, Robustness, and the Fourth Quadrant, International Journal of Forecasting, 25 [DECISION THEORY/STATISTICS]

Taleb, N. N., Goldstein, D. G., and Spitznagel, M. (2009) "The Six Mistakes Executives Make in Risk Management", Harvard Business Review , October [MANAGEMENT]

Makridakis, S. and Taleb, N., (2009) "Decision making and planning under low levels of predictability", International Journal of Forecasting, 25 [DECISION THEORY/STATISTICS]

Taleb, N. N. (2008) Infinite Variance and the Problems of Practice, Complexity, 14(2). [MATHEMATICAL FINANCE]

Goldstein, D. G. and Taleb, N. N. (2007) We Don't Quite Know What We Are Talking About When We Talk About Volatility, Journal of Portfolio Management, Summer 2007.[FINANCE]

Taleb, N. N. (2007) "Black Swan and Domains of Statistics", The American Statistician, August 2007, Vol. 61, No. 3 [STATISTICS]

Taleb, N. N. and Pilpel, A. (2007) Epistemology and Risk Management, Risk and Regulation, 13, Summer 2007 [RISK/PHILOSOPHY]

Derman, E. and Taleb, N. N. (2005) The Illusion of Dynamic Replication, Quantitative Finance, vol. 5, 4 [MATHEMATICAL FINANCE]

Taleb, N.N. (2004) “Bleed or Blowup: What Does Empirical Psychology Tell Us About the Preference For Negative Skewness? ”, Journal of Behavioral Finance, 5[ FINANCE]

Taleb, N.N. (2004)  “Randomness and the Arts”, Literary Criticism/Critique Littéraire [COMPARATIVE LITERATURE]

Taleb, N.N. (2004)  I problemi epistemologici del risk management  in: Daniele Pace (a cura di) Economia del rischio. Antologia di scritti su rischio e decisione economica, Giuffrè, Milano [RISK/PHILOSOPHY]

“The Risk of Severe Infrequent Events” (with George Martin), The Banker, Sept 2007 [FINANCE]

"Fat Tails, Asymmetric Knowledge, and Decision Making, Essay in the Epistemology of Power Laws", Wilmott, 2005 [MATH FINANCE]

Foreword, Lectures on Stochastic Volatility, J. G. Gatheral (Wiley, 2006) [QUANT FINANCE]

“These Extreme Exceptions of Commodity Derivatives”, in Commodity Derivatives, Helyette Geman (Wiley, 2004) [MATH FINANCE]

“On Skewness in Investment Choices”, Greenwich Roundtable Quarterly, Volume 2, 2004 [MATH FINANCE]

"Mandelbrot Makes Sense", Wilmott, 2005 [MATH FINANCE]


MAIN New York University, Polytechnic Institute, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering, (since 2008).



OTHER: International Monetary Fund, Scientific Advisor. PAST ACADEMIC POSITIONS (All part time, mostly when I was a practitioner): Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne, University of Paris, I, External Professor, Oxford University, Distinguished Research Scholar, Said Business School BT Center, (2009-2013). London Business School, London, Visiting Research Professor (2007-2009); University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Isenberg School of Management, Dean’s Professor (2005-2007); Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, Fellow, and Adjunct Professor of Mathematics (1999-2007).

Education: University of Paris (Dauphine), PhD (Hélyette Geman, committee includes Dilip Madan, Nicole El Karoui, Michel Lasry, and Marco Avellaneda).  The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, MBA

Select Academic and Industry Board & Advisory Activities

Scientific advisor, International Monetary Fund (risk of tail events); Faculty, Davos World Economic Forum 2009; Faculty, Harvard School of Social Science,2010, Hard Problems in Social Science; Advised central banks; Currently member various commissions; Member of the United States Secretary of Defense Highland Cross Disciplinary Panel; the King of Sweden scientific committee on global warming, etc.

Select Professional Honors Etc.


Major Keynote Lectures & Lectio Magistralis

Keynotes and main lectures, includes (discipline in parenthesis): Lectio Magistralis Genoa Science Festival, BT Lecture, Oxford University; Goldstone Lecture, U. of Pa, others: LSE (philosophy, economics), MIT Sloan (finance), Stanford (mathematical statistics), Cambridge Union debate, Harvard (social science), Institute of Advanced Studies (mathematical finance) U. of Pa (medicine), Princeton U. (psychology, philosophy), Institut Jan Nicod (philosophy), LBS (economics, philosophy), Max Planck Institute (cognitive science, statistics), Columbia (engineering, mathematics, finance), U. of Chicago (fin. mathematics), Department of Defense (military risk), Bank of England, IMF, World Bank, IFC, Society of Judgment & Decision Making keynote, etc.


BNP-Paribas, Chicago Mercantile Exchange (independent trader), UBS, Credit-Suisse First Boston, Bankers Trust, CIBC, Banque Indosuez, Empirica Capital LLC- tail hedging program (founder, 1999-2005), Universa Investments (scientific advisor, since 2007, totally passive involvement since Jan 2010).

Corporate Advisory/Lectures

Key Corporate/NonAcademic Keynotes & Workshops: Microsoft, Google (3x), Siemens, Gen Re (2x), Cologne Re, Swiss Re, Credit Suisse (3x), Morgan Stanley (4x), Commerzbank, Richemond Group, Gennentech, Citicorp, Bank of America (3x), McKinsey (5x), Deloitte (3x), Vienna Insurance Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays (3x), Corning,  HSBC, ING (3x), Troika (3x), European Parliament, UBS, International Monetary Fund (3x), Tata, Ambrosetti, Assicurazioni Generali (3x), Swed Bank, World Bank (2x), National Bank of Kuwait, J.P. Morgan, Security and Exchange Commission (2x), IBM, BNP-Paribas(2x), Bunge, Harbinger, Singapore Govt (2x), Society of Actuaries, Nomura, Investcorp,  Deutsche Bank(2x), Bridgewater Associates, Sidley Austin, United Nations (2x), Vienna Insurance Group, Aditya Birla, Times of India, Rand Corporation, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS)...

Legal Expertise & Congressional Testimonies

United States Congress, testimonies: subcommittee(value at risk), September 2009; subcommitte (risk management) July 2011. Admitted as an expert in the fields of risk management and derivatives by the United Stated Court of Federal Claims, Judge Mary Ellen Coster Williams, September 17, 2008.



Hobbies: philology (ancient languages).