‘Black Swan’ author Taleb says people should worry about Middle East events but not investors


People should pay attention to the events in the Middle East from a humanitarian perspective but disregard them as investors, according to author Nassim Taleb.

“I would say to investors to basically ignore what’s going on in the Middle East and as an individual to worry,” the “Black Swan” author told CNBC’s Kelly Evans during an interview Monday on “The Exchange.” “The connection between the markets and these events is completely unpredictable, even more unpredictable than the events themselves.”

Taleb, the distinguished scientific advisor at Universa Investments, spoke following another shocking development in the region as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi died in an apparent helicopter crash.

Despite the stunning news, markets showed little reaction, with major stock indicators mixed and the Dow Jones Industrial Average down a bit but mostly because of a slide in JPMorgan Chase shares.

In addition to his market work, Taleb is a Lebanese American essayist whose seminal work, “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable,” warns against trying to predict the unpredictable. He largely has advocated an approach to investing that hedges against unusual events such as the financial crisis of 2008-09.

On a personal level, Taleb said it is important to “resolve” a difficult situation that was inflamed by the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attacks on Israel.

“People think that this thing started in October,” he said. “When you have a situation that’s unresolved, it’s like putting Novocaine on it. You’ve got to resolve the situation. You can’t wait for it to go away.”

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