The Bed of Procrustes Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms The Bed of Procrustes is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb s landmark Incerto series an investigation of opacity luck uncertainty probability human error risk and decision making in a

  • Title: The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
  • Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • ISBN: 9781400069972
  • Page: 336
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Bed of Procrustes is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision making in a world we don t understand The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, and Antifragile.By the author of the modern classic The Black Swan, this colThe Bed of Procrustes is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision making in a world we don t understand The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, and Antifragile.By the author of the modern classic The Black Swan, this collection of aphorisms and meditations expresses his major ideas in ways you least expect.The Bed of Procrustes takes its title from Greek mythology the story of a man who made his visitors fit his bed to perfection by either stretching them or cutting their limbs It represents Taleb s view of modern civilization s hubristic side effects modifying humans to satisfy technology, blaming reality for not fitting economic models, inventing diseases to sell drugs, defining intelligence as what can be tested in a classroom, and convincing people that employment is not slavery Playful and irreverent, these aphorisms will surprise you by exposing self delusions you have been living with but never recognized.With a rare combination of pointed wit and potent wisdom, Taleb plows through human illusions, contrasting the classical values of courage, elegance, and erudition against the modern diseases of nerdiness, philistinism, and phoniness.

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    One thought on “The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms”

    1. Aphorisms Galore!If for any literary fan, the country Lebanon brings to mind the tender, lyrical and mystical poet Khalil Gibran, we have another compatriot from Lebanon to remember for his scathing, caustic, intelligent and often cynical observations on our society. He is none other than Nicholas Nassim Taleb, the Lebanese American essayist and scholar whose main works focus on problems of randomness, probability and uncertainty. His 2007 book “The Black Swan “was described in a review by S [...]

    2. Taleb received a $4 million advance to write this book of aphorisms as a follow-up to the Black Swan.Some of my favorites:Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love; close enough on the surface but, to the nonsucker, not exactly the same thing.I suspect that they put Socrates to death because there is something terribly unattractive, alienating and nonhuman in thinking with too much clarity.Education makes the wise slightly wiser, but it makes the fool vastly more dangerous.If you kno [...]

    3. This book of aphorisms has an introduction, in which the myth of Procrustes is told, and concludes with an essay which begins, "The general theme of my work is the limitation of human knowledge." Both introduction and concluding essay strike me as special pleading. Aphorisms need no defending. They stand on their own, if they are good. Too often Taleb's aphorisms fail because they lack the necessary iron, fire, mystery. They seldom surprise. In this book, Taleb accepts the traditional concerns o [...]

    4. This was a book having a Postface instead of a Preface A beautiful book full of Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms.The story of 'The Bed of Procrustes' (a Greek myth) is metaphorized in every aphorism in this book.We humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things 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 explo [...]

    5. Nassim Taleb is definitely not the sort I'd like to get to know personally as I don't agree with about half of his life philosophies. However, in my best Voltaire voice, while I disapprove of what he says, I will defend to the death his right to print it in books and make millions off them. As with such collections, there is a mix of some fantastic and deep aphorisms while there were also a few that made me go 'meh'. Overall though, once you overcome the fact that he keeps calling everyone incom [...]

    6. The Bed of Procrustes is a beautiful collection of aphorisms, best absorbed if already familiar with Nassim Nicholas Taleb through some of his other books. They all touch upon uncertainty and the limitations of knowledge (and the qualities of the unknown) but this one is special. This is the treat, the one you'll want to read over and over and ponder. While there is little to ponder in Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (it is either true - hence, to be ab [...]

    7. I would have said it's incredibly unlikely that someone could put together a book of aphorisms during their lifetime that would be worth reading. It's probably fitting that Taleb could beat those odds. This book is theme around the myth of Procrustes--an ancient figure who would stretch or maim overnight guests so they could fit into his bed (instead of, you know, fitting the bed to them). It's kind of ironic that Taleb, coiner of the Narrative Fallacy, would put an overarching theme in a collec [...]

    8. A rare book. It probably has the highest usefulness to character ratio of any book I've found. Not to say that it's super useful, but it is very short.The book is the equivalent of poring over Taleb's blog and twitter account for the past 10 years and picking out the stuff that is worth sharing. I can imagine the author's notebook that he kept witty and interesting-to-him stuff marked up, over and over, front and back of every page and margin. I think it would be interesting to read the notes an [...]

    9. Taleb is fascinating. How does a guy who relentlessly attacks the credibility of economists and academics get invited to speak in front of them so often? He's utterly arrogant and abrasive, yet he has a certain appeal that is difficult to explain. Part of it undoubtedly stems from his main idea that revolves around "how we deal, and should deal, with what we don't know." It is interesting and applicable to so many aspects of life; investing, politics, literature, philosophy and more and since it [...]

    10. Written after The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, which deals with unexpected and unexpectable life changing events, this book is made of aphorisms about the paradox of fitting everything in a certain individual's (or, quite often, society's) limited patterns and oppinions, instead of an unbiased vision of the real facts. Some highly interesting, some not so much, overall a good spend of my time.Note on the Romanian edition from Curtea Veche publishing house, translated by Corne [...]

    11. A Book full of thought provoking aphorisms, makes you think more and more on all the random activities (which you think are random but to some extent aren't!) that takes place around you everyday. This book changes how you look at people, government, organizations in a completely different way. Absolutely amazing finale, explains you why this book is called "The Bed of Procrustes" and why it matters!Some of his ideas are quiet contradictory with mine and at some point I realized that he thinks h [...]

    12. "One of the problems with social networks is that it is getting harder and harder for others to complain about you behind your back."Great read!

    13. I liked two other Taleb books, so naturally I expected to like this book as well. And I did for the first 8 pages or so with aphorisms like "Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment" and "If your anger decreases with time, you did injustice; if it increases, you suffered injustice".But then it went slowly downhill, devolving into the catty (We should make students recompute their GPAs by counting their grades in finance and economics backwards), the dubious (When a woman says abo [...]

    14. Have a feeling Academicians and Journalists weren't as psyched for this book heheMr. Taleb comes across arrogant and blatantly unapologetic in this book, but my oh my there is plenty of truth in what he has to say. We all need a slap in the face every once in a while I guess. There were several directed at me I felt as I went through thisThere a lot of brilliant aphorisms throughout the book Here are some of favourites: "I suspect that they put Socrates to death because there is something terrib [...]

    15. The Bed of Procrustes taught me a great deal about what inspires and angers Taleb, significantly less about what inspires and angers me, and almost nothing at all about the world. (I think "The person you are most afraid to contradict is yourself" is one of the only aphorisms that encouraged, in me, a new way to see things.)It's not that there weren't interesting ideas in the book. It's just that most of the ideas I found interesting were ones I'd already consideredd I kept getting distracted by [...]

    16. The Bed of Procrustes was a collection of aphorisms from Taleb that should be read several times before commenting on their insights. (Unfortunately, I am presenting a review after only a single reading, so readers should take my initial review with a grain of salt) Several inserts from Taleb focus on his criticism of the study of economic, impact of modernity and religion/traditionalism. It appears that the author does not hold value in the economist or intelligence associated with its modern a [...]

    17. Taleb has made a living showing lack of robustness and fragility in our use of knowledge. Indeed, Taleb's discussion and prediction of the fiscal crises of the late aughts was totally earned, and he was aptly able to show in "The Black Swan" and "Fooled by Randomness" that epistemological humility was direly needed in both science reporting and economics. This book takes these trends and turns them into aphorism. Taking cues from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg and E.M. Cioran more than Nietzsche, T [...]

    18. NN Taleb's arrogance amuses me, but first-time readers may be put off.He has drunk far too much of his own Kool-aid.The Black Swan was indeed excellent, and well worth reading.Antifragile was a bloated mess but still had a great idea at its core.Taleb's delusion is that because he has come up with two genuinely excellent insights, he is now qualified to pass judgment on literally every single facet of how to live.There are a few thought-provoking nuggets in here, but most of it is self-aggrandis [...]

    19. A short book of aphorisms from the Incerto series. The aphorisms are organized by topics and many of them cover ideas expanded upon in greater detail within other books in the series. This is a good book to recommend to busier friends interested in Taleb's work given its size and ratio of wisdom:pages. Anyone interested in complexity, uncertainty, and the implications for modeling, analyzing, and forecasting should read the entire series. Taleb is a genius ahead of his time. Unfortunately, this [...]

    20. A book of wonderful and witty aphorisms delivered with classic Talebian disdain for the modern Beds of Procrusteus that our societies have been imposing, I.e academia, gyms, corporations, regulatory bodies, which in the name of "standardization" have often chopped off the necessy and elaborated on the useless just to ensure that things "fit in". Taleb's empiricist stand stands out in the face of modernity's obsession with enlightenment. A good book that will be revisited several times.

    21. A handful of quotes resonated with me but mostly the author's cynical attitude rubbed me the wrong way. I appreciate his rebellious spirit but disagree with him on most issues, especially religion. (And what's with him and economists? He sure does seem to hate a lot of things) I like the concept of a book of aphorisms but can't say that I really enjoyed this one. Still looking forward to his other 3 books though.

    22. Wow, what a douche nozzle. This guy claims he has to take a ritual bath after talking with journalists, apparently because journalists are so . . . well . . . not remotely like Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The repeated uses of the terms "sucker" and "loser" also grated. But I suppose a kind and humble person wouldn't have thought of writing a book of aphorisms in the first place.

    23. Though this is the shortest of Taleb's books - and many found it in fact too short - I must say I found it is way too long. It is perhaps unavoidable that, in a collection of aphorisms, every gem of truth should be countered by many other statements that are trivial, flat or, even, untrue.Aphorisms are best served sparingly.

    24. I am afraid that the difference between this collection of aphorisms and a bowlful of fortune cookies is not so great as the author had hoped. The one aphorism that stuck with me is "What I learned on my own I still remember." If this aphorism is true, however, it follows that I will forget what others have taught me, which makes this book is immediately forgettable.

    25. Nassim does have some genuine philosophical points of view, but he only has a few tricks up his sleeve. He just keeps showing you the tricks written in different ways. Nassim is a pseudo intellectual who is flogging a couple of good ideas he has to death.

    26. Taleb wants us to revel in his bombastic philosophical high mindedness more than give the reader something palpable to meditate on. Lucky its a breezy read - if you can ignore his sheer pomposity that is.

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