As Taleb explains them, "aphorisms, maxims, proverbs, short sayings, even, to some extent epigrams are the earliest literary forms - often integrated into what we now call poetry. They carry the cognitive compactness of the sound bite...with some show of bravado in the ability of the author to compress powerful ideas in a handful of words - particularly in an oral format....aphorisms require us to change our reading habits and approach them in small doses; each one of them is a complete unit, a complete narrative dissasociated from the others. My best definition of a nerd; someone who asks you to explain an aphorism".
Below are some of my favourite from his collection (and that he created).
Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love; close enough on the surface but to the nonsucker, not exactly the same thing.
The test of originality for an idea is not the absence of one single predecessor but the presence of multiple incompatible ones.
Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment.
You never win an argument until they attack your person.
It is a very recent disease to mistake the unobserved for the nonexistent; but some are plagued with the worst disease of mistaking the unobserved for the unobservable.
You have a real life if and only if you do not compete with anyone in any of your pursuits.
You need to keep reminding yourself of the obvious; charm lies in the unsaid, the unwritten, and the undisplayed. It takes mastery to control silence.
It is much less dangerous to think like a man of action than to act like a man of thought.
When conflicted between two choices, take neither.
Games were created to give nonheroes, the illusion of winning. In real life, you don't know who really won or lost (except too late), but you can tell who is heroic and who is not.
The only definition of an alpha male; if you try to be an alpha male, you will never be one.
Those who have nothing to prove never say that they have nothing to prove.
You can be certain that a person has the means but not the will to help when he says "there is nothing else I can do." And you can be certain that a person has neither means nor will to help you when he says " I am here to help".
If you find any reason why you and someone are friends, you are not friends.
Art is a one-sided conversation with the unobserved.
If you can't spontaneously detect (without analyzing) the difference between sacred and profane, you'll never know what religion means, You will also never figure out what we commonly call art, You will never understand anything,