Wednesday, August 08, 2007

As promised

Let me start by saying that Nassim Taleb is an utter ass. He places high value on his own intellect and seemingly no value on the feelings of those he encounters. He is, however, both reflective and interesting. I'm intrigued by many of his observations.

He begins his prologue with some self-protection that's understandable from an academic writing such a piece. He frames his work as an essay of personal narration, stating baldly that he intends to attack the "narrative disciplines" using their own tools. While so doing, he equivales densely citing texts that support your thesis with selectively providing only that evidence which reflects well on your paper - labeling both, naive empiricism.

Here's a quote of his that, to me, represents many of the tradeoff's in Taleb's message:
... certain professionals, while believing they are experts, are in fact not. Based on their empirical records, they do not know more about their subject matter than the general population, but they are much better @narration -- or, worse, at smoking you with complicated mathematical models. They are also more likely to wear a tie

He regularly takes an almost gleeful delight in crafting his often insightful observations into polemic insults. In so doing, he tempts the reader to join in his sense of superiority - after all, he's let us readers in on the joke with him. Yet he manages to continue to provide enough food for thought to keep my curiosity at war with the cold feeling this assumed complicity conjures in the pit of my stomach. I'm glad to have picked up this book - it promises to raise some worthwhile questions!

No comments: