Sep 062013
 

This week’s episode was inspired by a conversation that Stephen Dubner had on an airplane.  He was on his way to South Africa when fellow passenger Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan and Antifragile, told him something remarkable: “If you look at ten or twenty or thirty of the richest countries around the world, among the richest people in those countries is someone from Lebanon.” Of course Taleb would say this, Dubner thought. He is Lebanese. But the idea stuck. And that’s what this week’s episode is about.

How successful is the Lebanese diaspora? And how did they get to be this way?

Stephen J. DUBNER: Once upon a time, I was on a plane with Nassim Taleb. He is a philosopher of sorts, and he writes fascinating books – most recently The Black Swan and Antifragile.

Nassim TALEB: Hello, I’m Nassim Taleb. I’m an author and I would say a statistical engineer.

DUBNER: Now, Taleb is originally from Lebanon, and he still goes back a few times a year. He lives just outside of New York City now. On this plane trip, he told me something I’d never heard before which was that if you look at ten or twenty or thirty of the richest countries around the world, that among the richest people in those countries is someone from Lebanon.

TALEB: When we met last we were going from London to South Africa on this beautiful trip with extremely hospitable people. It was great. And so we were going and then suddenly we started discussing the Lebanese diaspora….

DUBNER: And when he started talking about this, about how successful the Lebanese diaspora is, I had three quick reactions. 1: Interesting, if it’s true. 2. Is it true? And 3: If true, why?

 

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Source: Freakonomics

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