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Performance is random
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Author, "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable"

When I was 24, I was just learning to be a trader at Calyon Indosuez. An old French trader told me that the markets have princes but they never have kings. That could mean a lot of things, but what he meant is that nobody's thoughtful enough to make it for long without falling on his face; things change all the time.

I was already a little skeptical by nature, but he convinced me that a lot of the successes you see are just the product of luck. I pushed that to its natural conclusion, which is that most market performance is random.

NEXT: Stick with what you know

Last updated July 22 2008: 11:27 AM ET
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