black swan

anyone like Nassim Taleb’s ideas?  Fats?  I’m a big fan.  Reread Black Swan (i own it, have read 3-4 times), got Fooled by Randomness out of the library (already read it 2-3 times), and put Antifragile on reserve


today tried the dentyne green “Wintergreen FRESH!!!” (idk something like that) gum as a change of pace from arctic chill, which I bought by the caseload (they stopped selling cases on amazon for cheap).

also today the gym was about 75 instead of 45 due to a heat wave.  a lot of the weights were “sweaty” which is awesome, not really, but at least it didn’t take me so long to warmup.  also i didn’t have to keep pulling my knee sleeves up as they seemed to be stuck in place

was working on a Carnivor Fruit Punch and a Peanut Butter.  Both of which I have to be pretty stoic to drink.  But i found a new Optimum Platinum strawberry at the back of my closet which is a fucking delight by comparison


Wt: 171.6

Squat: 45×6, 135×4, 225,285,325×3, 365×2, 380,390×1; 300,305,310,315,320,325×3

BTN: 45×8, 100×3

FP: 140,180,220×3, 240×2, 260,270,280×1; 225,230×3

DL (1″) 135,205,255×3

VC: 6

HC: 8

Time: 1:30

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12 thoughts on “black swan

  1. I think Taleb is brilliant, and it’s possible that future generations(not too much future considering how fast time is moving these days) will read some of his essays and work the same way we read Hume and Descartes today.

    Much like the Enlightenment thinkers(actually, with the exception of Hume), he presents his case far too strongly for what he is saying and lends himself to both hyperbole and rambling. His ideas are good and he has a solid foundation, but he isn’t the Second Coming.

    Rallying against the influence of Platonic Forms in Economics is a bit strange, and he acts like it’s revolutionary when there has been a strong undercurrent against metaphysical Realism since the mid 1800s. Hell, the Empiricist School(Locke, Hume, etc) even in Descartes day was leading the charge, I put it a century later due to Pragmatism et all really doing a good job of severing the link. It’s like everyone who is somewhat well read feels compelled to throw their hat in the rink as a two bit philosopher.

    In any event, enjoyable reads.

    • i don’t know much about anything you said. most philosophy bores or confuses me. at least Taleb had the sense to bash Derrida et al for being unintelligible buffoons. I took a philosophy class in college and tried so hard to understand those guys. Finally just wrote down everything the professor said and mimicked it back on my paper in similar gibberish, and got a B+

      similar to this: http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

      but if everyone knew about Platonic Forms since the 1800s, what happened with LTCM and Victor Niederhoffer (whose book I got for free, it’s actually pretty good except for the fact that it was written before he blew up – twice – so it kind of makes mush out of everything he says, sort of like if Einstein wrote an autobiography right before relativity was disproved)

      speaking of Einstein it is maybe the only criticism of Black Swan that I can give, is that he alludes to Poincare co-developing relativity – almost if he should have gotten the credit for it but Einstein stole it away. Say what you will about Einstein doing nothing productive after 1915 – relativity was all his – not Poincare’s, not Lorenz’s, not Hilbert’s, not his 1st wife’s (people actually say this)

      • Haven’t read any of Taleb’s stuff, the whole life / personal improvement thing is not really my bag. He’s definitely the hot fresh flavor of the day, tho, so I might be tempted to read his books at some point simply for the historical significance.

        I’d read Hume and Descartes too BTW — not because I think their writing has much to offer in terms of insight, but because it illustrates an era in human thought.

        Although the blurb for Black Swan reads (to me) like a major case of that old clock being right twice a day. But I promise to withhold judgement until I’ve actually read the book.

        About Niederhoffer and stock market books in general (Rich Dad, Poor Dad, anyone?)… all I can say is, if I’m going to read masturbatory fantasy, I prefer it with lots of swords and a nice Frank Frazetta cover.

        • rich dad poor dad *was* fantasy – the kind of thing that I read and got fired up like “let’s go make some money” – and then realized he provides no worthwhile advice. Fortunately the next book I read was by Andrew Tobias.

          Niederhoffer is not fantasy more like sitting next to a really interesting but egotistical guy and hearing him tell stories.

          I think you’d like Black Swan, it’s not about improvement, in fact i wish he would provide more solid advice. it’s more about, uh, math, making fun of people, and the occasional digression (otoh bed of procrustes is like 20 pages of ben franklin style straight up aphorisms)

          • I want to read Thick Black Theory, and I read a bit of Art of War as well. I guess that is good for self motivation/self improvement books, right?

            I don’t like reading modern books, if I do read books (I don’t, really.) I figure if the book is still talked about 50-100 years later it’s probably good.

  2. I concur with your thoughts on Einstein. General relativity and special relativity are his. In his first essays on relativity, which he wrote as a patent office worker in Zurich, he cited all of those mentioned above (sans wife) except Poincaré. He did, however cite him in his next essay on special relativity. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed and because of that, one of my favorite books is Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything.” Succinct and elegant with enough back story to keep things interesting, he makes even the heavy sciences interesting. The story of how geology and geography developed is crazy. He does a great job with Einstein as well.
    Black Swan event theory seems interesting and I may have to pick the book up. Though that particular saying has been around a while, hasn’t it? IDK, that’s why I am asking.

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