Tag Archives: dave lull

Epiphanies from Nassim Nicholas Taleb | Foreign Policy

There are three categories of things: Fragile things that break, like the financial system; robust things that don’t break easily but don’t improve, like the Brooklyn Bridge; and my new category, “antifragile” things that gain strength from stressors and get stronger from failure, like evolution. The fundamental problem in foreign policy is that people shoot for stability rather than antifragility.

The most stable country in the history of mankind, and probably the most boring, by the way, is Switzerland. It’s not even a city-state environment; it’s a municipal state. Most decisions are made at the local level, which allows for distributed errors that don’t adversely affect the wider system. Meanwhile, people want a united Europe, more alignment, and look at the problems. The solution is right in the middle of Europe — Switzerland. It’s not united! It doesn’t have a Brussels! It doesn’t need one.

via Epiphanies from Nassim Nicholas Taleb | Foreign Policy.
HatTip to Dave Lull (Thanks Dave!)

Bryan Appleyard » What ‘Plebs’ Really Means

That something is buried in the word ‘culture’. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb was arguing passionately at dinner last night, a man without culture is not really capable of understanding anything. Bankers did not just make themselves vile by abandoning their culture, they also made themselves incompetent. Lost in their culture-free abstractions, they all went bust. Or, an entirely different example, you can see how people become ignorant when they ignore culture in the debate about IQ which James Flynn so brilliantly took apart.

via Bryan Appleyard » Blog Archive » What ‘Plebs’ Really Means.
HatTip to Dave Lull

Nassim N Taleb’s review of Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself

5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Person in Washington: guts & thruth, September 26, 2012
By N N Taleb “Nassim N Taleb”
This review is from: Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself Hardcover
I don’t have time for a full review for now; all I have to say is that we have the account of a person who says it the way it was, revealing the types of truths that don’t fit the New York Times and others pawns. When history is written, this will be used, not the spin by the bankers’ slaves and soldiers Geithner, Rubin et al. Bravo Sheila!

via Amazon.com: N N Taleb “Nassim N Taleb”‘s review of Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main S….
HatTip to Dave Lull

COMMENT The Black Swan guy is back, and hes talking about you and me | 22122010 | Reactions – Global Insurance

Shared by JohnH
HatTip to Dave Lull

Every aphorism in the book is about a procrustean bed of sorts, he says in the book’s preface. “We humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies, and prepackaged narratives, which, on the occasion, has explosive consequences.”

So much of what he says could be aimed directly at the insurance underwriter, the broker, the modeler, the investor, the corporate risk manager, and the chief executive.

In fact, try attributing each of these examples to any of the aforementioned people above:

To bankrupt a fool, give him information.

In science you need to understand the world; in business you need others to misunderstand it.

An erudite is someone who displays less than he knows; a journalist and consultant, the opposite; most others fall somewhere in between.

It is as difficult to avoid bugging others with advice on how to exercise and other health matters as it is to stick to an exercise schedule.

Randomness is indistinguishable from complicated, undetected, and undetectable order; but order itself is undistinguishable from artful randomness.

Benoit Mandelbrot, 1924-2010

Dave Lull just wrote to inform me that NNT has updated his homepage as an homage to Benoit Mandelbrot. Looking around the net I see no news of Mandelbrot’s passing so must assume that NNT was very close to the situation.

In May, NNT Tweeted, “Mandelbrot’s genius is in achieving aesthetic simplicity without having recourse to smoothness; producing harmony in highly jagged surfaces”

Taleb referred to Mandelbrot as his mentor.
The two were interviewed by NPR in 2008.

Benoit Mandelbrot and Nassim Taleb NPR Interview, Audio Only.

Paul Solman NPR Interview 2008 10 21


with Spanish captions: