Monthly Archives: October 2012

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Speaking in San Francisco Dec 11, 2012

Let the book tour begin! And you know that means lots of new audio coming as well.
HatTip to Dave Lull

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

In his global bestseller The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb argued that rare, unpredictable events (“black swans”) have the greatest impact on our lives – and that our blindness to these random events has a price. Now he returns with Antifragile, a bold book explaining how and why we should embrace uncertainty, randomness, and error as an antidote to our fragile way of life, instead of trying to avoid mistakes and collapsing when catastrophe strikes (see 2008). It may just change our lives.

“The hottest thinker in the world.”
London Times

Standard:    $25 | Members $20 | Students $15
Premium*:  $45 | Members $40
*A copy of Antifragile is included in Premium ticket price.

Tuesday, Dec 11

Starts at: 7:00 pm

Purchase Tickets Online

via JCCSF – Nassim Nicholas Taleb.



When The Black Swan came out, the first NYT reviewer Gregg Easterbrook, a professional journalist was clueless and had not read the book nor did he understand much of it… Same with other reviews by academics who skimmed the book and found some angle that links it to what research tradition they knew worse, academics tend to be envious of other writers as I can predict a review from the name of its author … Professionals cut corners and work from secondary sources or within agendas and scan books for familiarity with prevailing concepts; so it took a while for the real ideas of TBS to percolate. Because of the journalistic distortions people believed my book was about forecasting Black Swans, etc., not about epistemic opacity and perceptional distortions etc.This time, 5 3/4 years later Amazon sent the galleys of the new book to members of the VINE program for trusted and genuine readers who review books for free. They can get things wrong, but the crowdsourcing works, supplying both DEPTH and VARIATIONS of opinions, provided such advanced reviewing is limited to those who are deemed reliable by their ratings.
And the author can respond on premises.
This insulates us authors from corrupt & paid laborers: academics & journalists.

via AMAZON & THE… | Facebook.

The two most curious, awe-inspiring, and…

The two most curious, awe-inspiring, and prophetic people of last century: Charles De Gaulle and André Malraux –the two were collaborators. Both saw through the noise; both acted with a sense of grandeur, never engaged in small talk –Malraux talked about “transcendance” in literary salons when other writers gossiped or discussed royalty rates. Now both impersonated first, later became truly what they impersonated: Malraux took the public persona of a writer before he ever wrote anything, then he became one of the best prose writers France ever had. De Gaulle was given a token role by the British as head of “free France” in exile and suddenly rose up to become the noble and heroic character he thought he had to be. Both acted with huge courage, with De Gaulle giving back Algeria, singlehandedly, and facing assassination attempts with the kind of composure his role commanded.
Both were uncannily prophetic, in the small and the large. De Gaulle predicted in 1967 the Israeli-Palestinians problems, & that Jackie Kennedy “would end up on an arms dealer’s boat”. Malraux predicted the 21st century “would be religious or would not be”. Malraux 50 years ago predicted the television set would merge with the computer:

via The two most… | Facebook. | Black Swans, the Brain, and Philosophy as a Way of Life : Pierre Hadot and Nassim Taleb on Ancient Scepticism | Michael Chase

One of the most interest books I’ve read recently which, while not “ about ” Scepticism,embodies and preaches a Sceptical world view, is Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s bestsellerThe Black Swan:the Impact of the Highly ImprobablePenguin 2007. Taleb, an economist andsecurities trader by profession, sets out to show the power of the unexpected in contemporarylife, particularly in economics. The most important factors in history are what he calls BlackSwans5, that is, extraordinary events that are unpredictable by their very nature, but have atremendous impact on economic, social and cultural events. Yet since they cannot, bydefinition, be foreseen, neither can future developments as a whole, either in finance or in anyother field. Taleb espouses Sceptism as the only philosophy adequate to the contemporaryworld, because the quantity of what we do not know always vastly outweighs what we do orcan know. Pointing to the falsity and/or inanity of almost all economic or political predictions,Taleb preaches an epistemic humility that leads us to withhold judgment. What he appreciatesin such Sceptics as Sextus Empiricus is their anti-dogmatism : they “ doubted theories andcausality and relied on past experience in their treatment ”, “ relying on seeminglypurposeless trial and error ” p. 46, a methodology Taleb sees as ideal for dealing with BlackSwans, that is, minimizing exposure to negative ones and taking advantage of positive ones.

via | Black Swans, the Brain, and Philosophy as a Way of Life : Pierre Hadot and Nassim Taleb on Ancient Scepticism | Michael Chase.
HatTip to Dave Lull.