He also said that it made sense for "every single human being" to short Treasuries.
Well, here's a quote by Taleb from this 2009 GQ article:
"I went for the jugular--we went for the max. I was interested in screwing these people--I'm not interested in money, but I wanted to teach them a lesson, and the only way you can do it is by trying to take it away from them. We didn't short the banks--there's not much to be gained there, these were all these complex instruments, options and so forth. We'd been building our positions for a while...when they went to the wall we made $20bn for our clients, half a billion for the Black Swan fund."
So, according to GQ, Taleb said "we made $ 20bn for our clients" but Janet Tavakoli checked into these claims and discovered otherwise:
"I checked with Nassim Taleb regarding the $20 billion in gains and asked if he were misquoted. He responded via email: 'The quote is inaccurate. THe [sic] 20 billion might correspond to the face value of positions.' This response is both vague and different in character from the mythical $20 billion in gains inaccurately quoted in GQ's article. The total gains could be a tiny fraction of what Taleb loosely describes as 'face value.'"
FT Alphaville offered the following view:
Tavakoli takes down GQ, not Taleb
"...it seems pretty clear from Tavakoli's letter that she is blaming GQ — not Taleb."
A separate article on FT Alphaville added that Taleb did point out the error to GQ beforehand:
"For whatever reason, it seems Self [the author of the GQ article] or GQ did not correct the story — perhaps because they stood by Taleb's quote.
In any case, if Taleb knew the number was incorrect he probably should have put up a note of some sort to accompany the article long before Tavakoli pointed it [sic] out the discrepancy."
Apparently, Taleb did try to correct the numbers well before the GQ article was published.
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