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The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms Hardcover – Nov 30 2010
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Praise for Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“The most prophetic voice of all.” —GQ
“The hottest thinker in the world.” —Bryan Appleyard, The Sunday Times (London)
“[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Idiosyncratically brilliant.” —Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Nassim Nicholas Taleb has devoted his life to problems of uncertainty, probability, and knowledge. He spent nearly two decades as a businessman and quantitative trader before becoming a full-time philosophical essayist and academic researcher in 2006. Although he spends most of his time in the intense seclusion of his study, or as a flâneur meditating in cafés, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute. His main subject matter is “decision making under opacity”—that is, a map and a protocol on how we should live in a world we don’t understand.
Taleb’s books have been published in thirty-three languages.
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Top Customer Reviews
Those that have read Taleb and are familiar with his books will have little trouble recognizing that the book is a further exploration of his theme of how individuals deal, and how they should deal, with what they do not know. And they will quickly find that Taleb's harsh view of fools is what it has always been. If you are easily offended and have the characteristics or opinions of those that Taleb skewers time after time you may not like this book. But if you have an open mind, an ego that does not need stroking, and thick skin you will probably love it.
As usual, Taleb is brilliant. His tone is sharp and his writing style is lucid. He begins by briefly going over the the myth of the cruel Procrustes (whose name meant 'the stretcher' in ancient Greek). Procrustes, whose real name may have been Damastes or Polyphemon, lived on an estate in Attica on the road between Athens and Eleusis. He would abduct travelers and provide them with a very nice diner. After the diner was over he would place them in his special bed where they would be fitted perfectly. That meant that those that were too short would be stretched while those that were too long would have their feet or legs chopped off.Read more ›
One-liners: "the test of originality for an idea is not the absence of one single predecessor but the presence of multiple but incompatible ones."; "the difference between true life and modern life equals the one between a conversation and bilateral recitations"
Banal rants: "what we call "business books" is an eliminative category invented by bookstores for writings that have no depth, no style, no empirical rigor, and no linguistic sophistication"; "real mathematicians understand completeness, real philosophers understand incompleteness, the rest don't formally understand anything"
Paraphrases: "anyone voicing a forecast or expressing an opinion without something at risk has some element of phoniness"; "a good foe is far more loyal, far more predictable, and, to the clever, far more useful than the most valuable admirer" (Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power)
Borrowed enunciations: "art is one-sided conversation with the unobserved"; "if you want to annoy a poet, explain his poetry" (Osho has made the same comments using similar words.Read more ›
What brings down the rating, is Taleb`s bitter denunciations. There are certain groups of people, that Taleb does not like. And he makes no bones about telling you his opinions. In one reference, he compares academics to the profession of prostitution. Well you have been warned. Taleb has very sharp and sometimes poisonous evaluations.
This book has many provocative insights. However, the reader has to be prepared, to brush off many of the harsh pointed criticisms.
Most recent customer reviews
It was a struggle to make it through this book, which as far as I can tell is either a quick cash grab to capitalise on the popularity of his earlier works, or possibly a piece of... Read morePublished 10 months ago by tronvillain
Amazing...the minute I read this book my life had changed. So I tell as many people as possible about this book. To me, it's just...the best.Published 23 months ago by Tyler Harris
Amusing oneliner for meeting people at diners or when writing to someone or even when writing an essay. But can be easily forgoten.Published on Feb. 10 2013 by S. Mercier
I found reading Nassim Taleb's other two well known books "Black Swan" and "Fooled By Randomness" more insightful and entertaining than "The Bed of Procrustes". Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2012 by Jonathan L
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