*The Bed of Procrustes*

The subtitle is Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms and the author is Nassim Taleb.  Here are three of his aphorisms:

Your reputation is harmed the most by what you say to defend it.

Quite revealing of human preferences that more suicides come from shame or loss of financial and social status than medical diagnoses.

They will envy you for your success, for your wealth, for your intelligence, for your looks, for your status — but rarely for your wisdom.


Entrance examination to study Cognitive Science in University of Helsinki is about Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan, for some reason.

I'm currently reading his previous book, The Black Swan. I hope to finish it before the movie comes out.

I agree with bbartlog.

The psychiatric community doesn't want to even consider the possibility that -- for adults -- most suicides may be sane, rational decisions. To quote Doug Stanhope: "I figure life is like a movie. If the first half of it sucks it's not likely to suddenly get really good at the very end." Granted, Taleb's aphorism makes it sound as if he believes people kill themselves for less than rational reasons -- but only superficially. Loss of social status may indeed be tantamount to permanent loss of happiness past a certain age.

That said, Taleb is still a maroon and the above aphorisms are a mere paraphrasing of ideas already written and better phrased.

To show how much the above quotes are merely fashionable memes reappearing wearing different clothing, the first aphorism:

"Your reputation is harmed the most by what you say to defend it." is exactly what Roissy calls passing a "shit-test".

Not that Roissy coined the idea. I bet Shakespeare said it better somewhere.

Envy me not; I aspire to wisdom, you can keep the rest.

Correct me if I'm wrong but... it seemed to me the Black Swann philosopher turned the truth upon her pretty head. It is one thing to say that because nobody has yet seen a black swann there must not be black swanns. Another thing entirely to believe that even though nobody has yet seen a black swannn there MUST BE black swanns. Taleb seems to believe there MUST BE black swanns. Wasn't that the philosophy his ill-fated hedge fund?

I'm going to call this -- nobody try to stop me -- but Taleb seems as phony to me as Picasso's alarm installer.

A book of aphorisms is partly just fun.

"Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense"-Mark Twain

Now that is funny and also commonly very true. N Taleb is a funny guy sometimes. Also though there is a lot of long form chattering out there in the world, little fun quips are part-wise an antidote to that.

I am looking forward to reading this new book just exactly for fun.

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