Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Arabic: نسيم نيقولا نجيب طالب, alternatively Nessim or Nissim, born 1960) is a Lebanese American essayist, scholar and statistician, whose work focuses on problems of randomness, probability and uncertainty. His 2007 book The Black Swan was described in a review by the Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II.
He is a bestselling author, and has been a professor at several universities, currently at Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Oxford University. He has also been a practitioner of mathematical finance, a hedge fund manager, a derivatives trader, and is currently a scientific adviser at Universa Investments and the International Monetary Fund.
He criticized the risk management methods used by the finance industry and warned about financial crises, subsequently making a fortune out of the late-2000s financial crisis. He advocates what he calls a "black swan robust" society, meaning a society that can withstand difficult-to-predict events. He proposes "antifragility" in systems, that is, an ability to benefit and grow from random events, errors, and volatility as well as "convex tinkering" as a method of scientific discovery, by which he means option-like experimentation outperforms directed research.