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Nassim N. Taleb: Everything these idiots, frauds, and assholes don't understand
Episode 119th February 2021 • Decoding the Gurus • Christopher Kavanagh and Matthew Browne
00:00:00 01:47:56

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Nassim Taleb, what a mensch. He's got the confidence of a bull in a china shop that has just bought a lycra muscle-shirt and knows it looks great on him.

Our guru this week has surveyed the fields of statistics, economics, psychology, actually all of the social sciences, and finds them populated by a gaggle of pale, thin wristed, pocket-protector wearing wimps. Although, he's equally scathing towards COVID-sceptical libertarians, and Matt and Chris (in a totally unbiased manner) find him pretty funny and accurate there.

More seriously, Taleb is a smart guy and quite fun to read and listen to. But he's also an infinite singularity of arrogance and hyperbole. Matt and Chris can't help but notice how convenient this pose is, when confronted with difficult-to-handle rebuttals.

Taleb is a fun mixed bag of solid and dubious claims. But it's worth thinking about the degree to which those solid ideas were already well... solid. Many seem to have been known for decades even by all the 'morons, frauds and assholes' that Taleb hates.

To what degree does Taleb's reputation rest on hyperbole and intuitive-sounding hot-takes? Will he ever un-block the co-hosts on twitter? Should Matt, a statistician and psychologist, re-train in a field where he can actually contribute something useful to the world?

All of these questions, and more, will remain unanswered in this fresh new DTG episode!