Nassim Taleb is Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering and Co-Director of the Research Centre for Risk Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and the author of The Black Swan.
Nassim Taleb spent 20 years as a derivatives trader and “quant” before starting a full-time career as a scholar of applied probability and risk management. He is known for a “multidisciplinary but no-nonsense” approach to model error and the role of high-impact rare events (“black swans”). Taleb’s current program is to build rules of decision-making under incomplete information and understanding (“how to live in a world we don’t understand”) and make political and economic systems robust to Black Swan problems.
Sunday Times describes The Black Swan as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II. It examines the impact of highly improbable events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in science, finance and technology. In this book, he criticised economic and financial models that rely on predicting human behaviour, arguing that this makes the finance industry highly vulnerable to the impact of improbable, but devastating, events. The 2008 financial crisis proved the force of his argument.
Before becoming a researcher, he held senior derivatives positions with major institutions: Credit Suisse First Boston, UBS, BNP-Paribas, Indosuez (now Calyon), Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank). He also worked as an independent pit trader in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and ran his own derivatives firm for 6 years. Nassim Taleb has also been involved in risk-based policy making, advising institutions such as the IMF and the UK Prime Minister on model error and the detection of tail exposures.
Taleb holds an MBA from the Wharton School and a PhD from the University of Paris. He is the author of two essays on randomness and a technical clinical book on derivatives: The Black Swan (2007, 2010 2nd Ed.) and Fooled by Randomness (2001, 2005), and Dynamic Hedging (1997). In addition he published a book of philosophical aphorisms, The Bed of Procrustes (2010).
His books have more than 3.5 million copies in print in 32 languages. In 2011, he was listed among the Bloomberg 50 most influential persons in the world (policy makers, bankers, corporate leaders) in global finance.