Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on maximizing serendipity

with 2 comments

[M]aximize the serendipity around you….Many people do not realize that they are getting a lucky break in life when they get it. If a big publisher (or a big art dealer or a movie executive or a hotshot banker or a big thinker) suggests an appointment, cancel anything you have planned: you may never see such a window open up again. I am sometimes shocked at how little people realize that these opportunities do not grow on trees. Collect as many free nonlottery tickets (those with open-ended payoffs) as you can, and, once they start paying off, do not discard them. Work hard, not in grunt work, but in chasing such opportunities and maximizing exposure to them. This makes living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters—you gain exposure to the envelope of serendipity.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan

Written by nevalalee

October 16, 2011 at 2:03 am

2 Responses

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  1. Complete agreement – Yes, man is a social animal. Being a hermit would greatly decrease your chances of breaks. To a certain degree you make your own breaks.

    Robert K Ando

    February 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm

  2. Agreed. That’s why it’s often good for natural hermits, like writers, to live in big cities!


    February 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm

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