“Not understanding that doing nothing can be much more preferable to doing something potentially harmful.”

February 12th, 2012

One of the main errors Taleb identifies in understanding The Black Swan. And relatedly:

We will see further that, in an ailment similar to confirmation bias, charlatans provide the much demanded positive advice (what to do), as people do not value negative advice (what not to do). Now, “how not to go bust” does not appear to be valid advice, yet, given that over time only a minority of companies do not go bust, avoiding death is the best possible—and most robust—advice. (It is particularly good advice after your competitors get in trouble and you can go on legal pillages of their businesses.)* Also, many readers (say, those who work in forecasting or banking) do not often understand that the “actionable step” for them is to simply quit their profession and do something more ethical.