Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitudes

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:59 pm

Fallible wrote:To respond to your good insight here, whether journalism is an art or science or some of both (there is the writing side but also a bit of the scientific method to it) has been debated for a long time and the quick thinking and actions on constant deadline definitely incorporate Taleb's trial and error - those "many small errors."


May be good journalism is a barbell with a bit of science on one side and a lot of art and spontaneity on the other? A mediocre alternative would be some pseudo-creative stability.

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Fallible » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:21 am

telemark wrote:
Kahneman reminded the listeners the story of a Thanksgiving turkey described in The Black Swan. For two years, the turkey was engaged in the inductive reasoning that her owner was her benefactor by lovingly meeting all her (turkey's) needs. On the T-2 day (two days before Thanksgiving), the turkey was slaughtered. The inductions worked against her; the longer she was fed, the more she was trusting the owner--the greater was the owner's resolve to have her for dinner. Here is the rub. From Taleb's point of view, turkey was shortsighted, to say the least.


It's not clear to me what a more farsighted turkey would be expected to do in this situation.

But remember, Kahneman said the turkey had a great life and was happy all that time. Taleb, as Victoria said in her talk summary, emphasized an extreme event while Kahneman emphasized the period between events. I liked the happy-turkey period. :)
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Fallible » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:29 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Fallible wrote:To respond to your good insight here, whether journalism is an art or science or some of both (there is the writing side but also a bit of the scientific method to it) has been debated for a long time and the quick thinking and actions on constant deadline definitely incorporate Taleb's trial and error - those "many small errors."


May be good journalism is a barbell with a bit of science on one side and a lot of art and spontaneity on the other? A mediocre alternative would be some pseudo-creative stability.

Victoria

:confused
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby telemark » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:22 am

VictoriaF wrote:
telemark wrote:It's not clear to me what a more farsighted turkey would be expected to do in this situation.


Learn to sing at parties, develop an eating disorder, prepare a Stalag Luft III-like great escape.

Victoria


I need to find a copy of Chicken Run so I can watch it again :D
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Ranger » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:14 am

market timer wrote:In his latest book, Taleb says he does not recommend buying out-of-the-money options anymore. He says something to the effect that the options market prices in fat tails.


Good to know. Thanks
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby hsv_climber » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:46 pm

For those who are trying to follow Taleb's "Antifragility" advice to a T, don't forget to stop riding your bicycles in US, since according to Taleb this is a very dangerous activity that he will never do.

Also, don't forget to throw away your fragile Kindle. Become a real adventurer and pay extra airline baggage fees in order to travel with the suitcase full of books like Taleb does.
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Taleb book party in NYC

Postby gatorking » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:40 pm

http://site.booksite.com/6665/events/?& ... &preview=1
Nassim Taleb Book Party for Antifragile in NYC
Stop in on Tuesday, February 26th at 7pm for Nassim Taleb's book party for Antifragile.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:55 pm

gatorking wrote:http://site.booksite.com/6665/events/?&list=EVC1&group=current&preview=1
Nassim Taleb Book Party for Antifragile in NYC
Stop in on Tuesday, February 26th at 7pm for Nassim Taleb's book party for Antifragile.


Thanks. Perhaps there will be a party in Washington? Or in Baltimore?

VictoriaF wrote:
Calm Man wrote:Had I known of this event I might have gone.

If you are interested, Daniel Kahneman will be giving a lecture at Yale on 20 February.

Victoria


Has anyone attended Kahneman's lecture yesterday?

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby gatorking » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:59 pm

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:09 pm

gatorking wrote:Kahneman talks rationality
http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2013/02/2 ... tionality/


I would be interested in Fallible's comments on this:
Yale's Daily News wrote:Kahneman told the audience to consider this cognitive model as a newsroom: System 1 is a group of journalists proposing stories to an editor — System 2 — who either lets the story go to print or decides to reject it.


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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Jebediah » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:13 pm

They get absolutely nowhere in the first 20 minutes and I gave up after that. So if you're interested in this, just a heads up that you can probably start somewhere in the middle.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Fallible » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:51 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
gatorking wrote:Kahneman talks rationality
http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2013/02/2 ... tionality/


I would be interested in Fallible's comments on this:
Yale's Daily News wrote:Kahneman told the audience to consider this cognitive model as a newsroom: System 1 is a group of journalists proposing stories to an editor — System 2 — who either lets the story go to print or decides to reject it.


Victoria


Hi Victoria,

When I read this I was excited about it and then disappointed that it wasn't developed further. It's possible Kahneman did develop it and the reporter didn't include that in the article. I didn't see a transcript or reference to taping on the site and am intrigued enough by this that I may e-mail the paper. Going by what little is there, I don't quite see proposing stories to an editor as a good example of System 1, or an editor's response as a good example of System 2, and yet they may be perfect examples of both based on his descriptions of the systems in Thinking, Fast and Slow, i.e., the systems overlap and they do so in fascinating ways that I think he (and Amos) has described better than anyone.

Does anyone know of a transcript or taping of his speech?

Fallible
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:58 pm

Fallible wrote:Does anyone know of a transcript or taping of his speech?


I Googled for it but did not find anything except the Yale article cited by gatorking. Yale has a collection of videos; let's hope that Kahneman's lecture will be added to their archives soon.

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:57 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Fallible wrote:Does anyone know of a transcript or taping of his speech?


I Googled for it but did not find anything except the Yale article cited by gatorking. Yale has a collection of videos; let's hope that Kahneman's lecture will be added to their archives soon.

Victoria


I did the obvious thing and wrote to the organizers asking whether and when the video of Daniel Kahneman's 2013 Arthur M. Okun Public Policy Lecture will be available. The response came back almost immediately:
It is not yet ready, but when it is, we will post an announcement on the Yale News channel.


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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Fallible » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:27 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Fallible wrote:Does anyone know of a transcript or taping of his speech?
...
I did the obvious thing and wrote to the organizers asking whether and when the video of Daniel Kahneman's 2013 Arthur M. Okun Public Policy Lecture will be available. The response came back almost immediately:
It is not yet ready, but when it is, we will post an announcement on the Yale News channel.


Victoria


Great! Sometimes the obvious isn't obvious until it is but always was (or something like that...) Thanks for contacting the school and I hope they post it soon.

Hey, I see a new avatar and location going hand in hand. Cool. - 8-)
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby BruceA » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:54 pm

WWTS

Has anyone considered what Taleb would say about the most common retirement strategies -- Safe Withdrawal Rates, and the various models that incorporate Monte Carlo Situations?
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:04 pm

BruceA wrote:WWTS

Has anyone considered what Taleb would say about the most common retirement strategies -- Safe Withdrawal Rates, and the various models that incorporate Monte Carlo Situations?


I don't think Taleb is aware of the SWR concept, but he is skeptical about all models.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote: Models and constructions, these intellectual maps of reality, are not always wrong; they are wrong only in some specific applications. The difficulty is that a) you do not know beforehand (only after the fact) where the map will be wrong, and b) the mistakes can lead to severe consequences. These models are like potentially helpful medicines that carry random but very severe side effects. The Platonic fold is the explosive boundary where the Platonic mindset enters in contact with messy reality, where the gap between what you know and what you think you know becomes dangerously wide. It is here that the Black Swan is produced.


And so like any model, SWR has worked and will work in many cases, and it will not work in some specific cases. a) We don't know beforehand if these specific cases will be ours, and b) mistakes can lead us to severe consequences such as asset depletion.

Of course, the outcome also depends on the value of the SWR; SWR=4 would have very different probabilities of survival than SWR=2. But it's better not to depend on the assets alone and consider other types of income, property and safety net. While it is impossible to get protected from all possible perils (meteorites, cancers, accidents, random crime), it's prudent to be as diversified as possible in the areas one can control.

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby BruceA » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:54 pm

SWR=2 is generally a result of refining the model by not relying on historical returns. I am certain Taleb is familiar with modeling using Monte Carlo simulations, and quite possibly aware of SWR models.

I suppose the questions for this forum are whether those who use these models are fully aware of the "severe side effects", and whether those severe side effects nullify the benefits of the models.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:00 pm

Taleb is aware of Monte Carlo simulations, and I recall seeing somewhere that he praised them in comparison to more definitive models. But Monte Carlo models depend on the input parameters, and these parameters are derived from some historical data.

SWR=2 is safe if one has a ladder of 2% TIPS. Unfortunately, 2% TIPS are the thing of the past (in February 2011, 30-year TIPS were auctioned at 2.19%), and there is no certainty that the earnings could be reinvested at the rate of the initial offering.

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:26 pm

This may singe a few hairs but i simply dont buy into Taleb.
This saying ,however, may be accurate "Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility." (Nassim Taleb). His book Antifragility has been sitting on my desk for several months and i every time i pick it up to read it i cant get past the contents.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:35 pm

reggiesimpson wrote:This may singe a few hairs but i simply dont buy into Taleb.
This saying ,however, may be accurate "Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility." (Nassim Taleb). His book Antifragility has been sitting on my desk for several months and i every time i pick it up to read it i cant get past the contents.


So you are engaged in the meta-antifragility? :wink:

It's reasonable not to like any specific book or any specific author, no matter how much everyone else praises them. Antifragility is Taleb's response to the question "What to do about Black Swans?" given that they are unpredictable and consequential. Those familiar with Black Swans are interested in the answer. Of course, Taleb's answers may or not be satisfactory to different people.

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Jebediah » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:58 pm

With Reggie here. IMO Taleb's writing is unclear and confused, his speaking inarticulate, his strategies are demonstrably poor, and his ideas are mostly recycled without attribution. Fiercely insecure and self-aggrandizing. All the hallmarks of intellectual dishonesty. I'd be wary of following his advice on much of anything (other than book selling).

This (very intellectually honest) guy has written some excellent reviews of Taleb's work:

black swan review

anti-fragile review
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:06 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
reggiesimpson wrote:This may singe a few hairs but i simply dont buy into Taleb.
This saying ,however, may be accurate "Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility." (Nassim Taleb). His book Antifragility has been sitting on my desk for several months and i every time i pick it up to read it i cant get past the contents.


So you are engaged in the meta-antifragility? :wink:

It's reasonable not to like any specific book or any specific author, no matter how much everyone else praises them. Antifragility is Taleb's response to the question "What to do about Black Swans?" given that they are unpredictable and consequential. Those familiar with Black Swans are interested in the answer. Of course, Taleb's answers may or not be satisfactory to different people.

Victoria

Well i am certainly not alone in my view of Taleb.http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/no ... leb-review
I put him alongside E O Wilson and his theory of "Consilience" . His attempt to unify the social humanities with the biological sciences to create a "Unity of Knowledge". An all encompassing theory (consilience aka antifragility terms) is a nice idea but after listening to Wilson speak at a lab i got the distinct impression he was looking to re-create himself as an intellectual "living God" (much like Taleb). This was already attempted by Caligula and we know how that ended.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby BruceA » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:18 pm

It's very easy for some to dislike Taleb, but do those people really disagree with the importance of considering fat tails (black swans)?

But Monte Carlo models depend on the input parameters, and these parameters are derived from some historical data.

Many of the MCS models do use historical inputs, but more sophisticated models use variable inputs. None of the models provide for Black Swans. What MCS does is compute probability of success considering random sequencing of returns. Knowledge of such sequencing is more valuable than not having such knowledge, but the MCS model does not create awareness of the "severe side effects". The question remains whether such side effects nullify the benefits of the models.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:21 pm

Jebediah wrote:With Reggie here. IMO Taleb's writing is unclear and confused, his speaking inarticulate, his strategies are demonstrably poor, and his ideas are mostly recycled without attribution. Fiercely insecure and self-aggrandizing. All the hallmarks of intellectual dishonesty. I'd be wary of following his advice on much of anything (other than book selling).

This (very intellectually honest) guy has written some excellent reviews of Taleb's work:

black swan review

anti-fragile review


The linked reviews are written by Eric G. Falkenstein, who "set up a Value-at-Risk system for trading operations at KeyCorp, then a firm-wide economic risk capital allocation methodology" (from an Amazon.com review of his book The Missing Risk Premium: Why Low Volatility Investing Works). I don't know his work to judge his intellectually honesty, but the VAR approach was implicated in the 2007-2008 financial crisis. In general, I would expect anyone making money off models to be antagonistic to Taleb who insists that no model is bullet proof.

Intellectual honesty would require avoiding ad hominem attacks such as
Falkenstein wrote:now Taleb books, a sign that perhaps the Mayan return isn't so much an apocalypse but rather a mercy killing


Falkenstein's dismissal of Mandelbrot does not help his credibility either.

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Fallible » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:03 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Jebediah wrote:With Reggie here. IMO Taleb's writing is unclear and confused, his speaking inarticulate, his strategies are demonstrably poor, and his ideas are mostly recycled without attribution. Fiercely insecure and self-aggrandizing. All the hallmarks of intellectual dishonesty. I'd be wary of following his advice on much of anything (other than book selling).

This (very intellectually honest) guy has written some excellent reviews of Taleb's work:

black swan review

anti-fragile review


The linked reviews are written by Eric G. Falkenstein, who "set up a Value-at-Risk system for trading operations at KeyCorp, then a firm-wide economic risk capital allocation methodology" (from an Amazon.com review of his book The Missing Risk Premium: Why Low Volatility Investing Works). I don't know his work well enough to judge if he is very intellectually honest, or just intellectually honest, or not quite intellectually honest--but the VAR approach was implicated in the 2007-2008 financial crisis. In general, I would expect anyone making money off models to be antagonistic to Taleb who insists that no model is bullet proof. ...


I've not yet read Antifragile, but when I was reading Black Swan (belatedly, in the wake of the '08 crisis), a great article in the NYT by Joe Nocera came out on VaR. Quite an eye-opener for me and many and with Taleb right in there - and right. The link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/magaz ... wanted=all

As for Taleb, I don't agree with or understand everything he says, but I don't agree with or understand everything anybody says (whatever that says...). I do think Swan and Fooled by Randomness are important and influential must reads.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Jebediah » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:12 pm

Is it intellectually dishonest when Taleb makes ad hominem attacks? I don't think so either! I think these are the best (funniest) parts of his books. Spicing up a critique with wisecracks has little to do with intellectual honesty. Neither does one's agreement or disagreement with Mandlebrot. Please see Mr Falkenstein's engagement with commenters on his blog or his visit to the BH thread about his ideas for evidence of his open-mindedness.

And careful lest you allow hero worship to compromise your anti-fragility :wink:
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:17 pm

Jebediah wrote:Is it intellectually dishonest when Taleb makes ad hominem attacks? I don't think so either! I think these are the best (funniest) parts of his books. Spicing up a critique with wisecracks has little to do with intellectual honesty. Neither does one's agreement or disagreement with Mandlebrot. Please see Mr Falkenstein's engagement with commenters on his blog or his visit to the BH thread about his ideas for evidence of his open-mindedness.

And careful lest you allow hero worship to compromise your anti-fragility :wink:

+1. Sorry Victoria but Jebediah is spot on..............IMHO of course.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:54 pm

reggiesimpson wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
reggiesimpson wrote:This may singe a few hairs but i simply dont buy into Taleb.
This saying ,however, may be accurate "Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility." (Nassim Taleb). His book Antifragility has been sitting on my desk for several months and i every time i pick it up to read it i cant get past the contents.


So you are engaged in the meta-antifragility? :wink:

It's reasonable not to like any specific book or any specific author, no matter how much everyone else praises them. Antifragility is Taleb's response to the question "What to do about Black Swans?" given that they are unpredictable and consequential. Those familiar with Black Swans are interested in the answer. Of course, Taleb's answers may or not be satisfactory to different people.

Victoria

Well i am certainly not alone in my view of Taleb.http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/no ... leb-review
I put him alongside E O Wilson and his theory of "Consilience" . His attempt to unify the social humanities with the biological sciences to create a "Unity of Knowledge". An all encompassing theory (consilience aka antifragility terms) is a nice idea but after listening to Wilson speak at a lab i got the distinct impression he was looking to re-create himself as an intellectual "living God" (much like Taleb). This was already attempted by Caligula and we know how that ended.


You are certainly not alone. But you are not alone in what? In your dislike of Taleb's philosophy? Of the way he expresses his philosophy in his books? Or of his presentation of himself and his attitude towards others?

The Guardian review is quite good. It seems that David Runciman has actually read Taleb, unlike many other critics. In my opinion:
.
- Taleb is good in connecting the dots. Effective connecting of dots is as valuable as inventing dots, particularly because virtually all philosophical dots have already been invented.
.
- Taleb's seemingly unstructured writing is effective for digesting his ideas. At least, my brain is highly receptive to spiral arguments and repetitions from different angles. More so than to a linear logic of typical science books. Taleb claims a second advantage that hecklers cannot grasp the meaning of his books by scanning them.
.
- Taleb challenges the entire establishment of economists, econometrists, forecasters, strategists, and others who live off models. He undermines their livelihood. Naturally, they push back. When he is alone against the establishment, he has no choice but to fight dirty. In his case, fighting dirty comes down to sweeping remarks about economists, academics, and others. I see it as a sarcasm and necessary self-defense rather than his deeply-held beliefs.
.
- Accusing Taleb, or any other authors, in being motivated by book sales is silly. Most authors work for far less than the minimum wage. Writing is a highly emotional endeavor. It frequently drains the rest of the author's life away. Not writing (procrastinating) is much more painful than writing (working); I would add the procrastination time to the writing time when estimating the average hourly pay from a published book. And, of course, the success of a book is never certain. And books are cheap, dirt cheap. If you don't buy Taleb's book for $30 at the book signing and wait for a few weeks, you can get it for half-price or less than that. Or you can get it from the library. Or if you wait a year, used copies will be selling for under $10. In my opinion, authors do charity work. If you learn from a book, this is the best $10 or $15 or $30 you have spent. If you are not learning from a book, by all means, put it down and move on.
.
- As a disclaimer, I have some personal reasons to be grateful to Taleb. I made the connection in one of my previous messages, but LadyGeek advised me to take it out, which I did. I admit to some bias, but I hope you would also see some substance in what I wrote.


Jebediah wrote:Is it intellectually dishonest when Taleb makes ad hominem attacks? I don't think so either! I think these are the best (funniest) parts of his books. Spicing up a critique with wisecracks has little to do with intellectual honesty. Neither does one's agreement or disagreement with Mandlebrot. Please see Mr Falkenstein's engagement with commenters on his blog or his visit to the BH thread about his ideas for evidence of his open-mindedness.

And careful lest you allow hero worship to compromise your anti-fragility :wink:

I might check out Falkenstein further, but not now. Thanks,

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:22 pm

Victoria. From your OP quote Hot, cold and in-between
The evolution has exposed us to numerous stressors to enhance our antifragility. Our bodies have capacity to experience a rather wide range of temperatures without structural damage. But instead of exercising our temperature tolerance, we move between air-conditioned and heated environments so that we could maintain that perfect 69.7 degrees. This is a psychologically natural but physiologically fragilizing behavior.end quote.
Someone needs to let Taleb know that Cro Magnon no longer exist because they were unable to adjust to extremes of weather on the planet. Practicing Talebs philosophy of antifragility didnt make them stronger. Fortunately Homo Sapien ( us) have completely ignored Taleb and created air conditioning, central heating and a few other inventions to overcome the incredibly destructive nature of Mother Earth.
I do not like or dislike Taleb. He is a wealthy self funded "researcher" that is trying to espouse a bizarre world view IMO. He (like most authors) like to sell books not only for the money but, especially in his case, for recognition and fame. If you and others find something useful in his writings then so be it. I happen to see his communication skills to be seriously wanting. But considering what he is trying to sell its quite understandable.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:48 pm

reggiesimpson wrote:Victoria. From your OP quote Hot, cold and in-between
The evolution has exposed us to numerous stressors to enhance our antifragility. Our bodies have capacity to experience a rather wide range of temperatures without structural damage. But instead of exercising our temperature tolerance, we move between air-conditioned and heated environments so that we could maintain that perfect 69.7 degrees. This is a psychologically natural but physiologically fragilizing behavior.end quote.
Someone needs to let Taleb know that Cro Magnon no longer exist because they were unable to adjust to extremes of weather on the planet. Practicing Talebs philosophy of antifragility didnt make them stronger. Fortunately Homo Sapien ( us) have completely ignored Taleb and created air conditioning, central heating and a few other inventions to overcome the incredibly destructive nature of Mother Earth.
I do not like or dislike Taleb. He is a wealthy self funded "researcher" that is trying to espouse a bizarre world view IMO. He (like most authors) like to sell books not only for the money but, especially in his case, for recognition and fame. If you and others find something useful in his writings then so be it. I happen to see his communication skills to be seriously wanting. But considering what he is trying to sell its quite understandable.


Reggie,

Are you leaving out quotes and other punctuation to enhance my antifragility? :?

I am sure, you, Taleb and I understand that there are limits to the "rather wide range of temperatures" that our bodies can withstand. Taleb does not advocate destructive extremes; he favors minor stressors that preserve and stretch the tolerated range. Have not you had experience of shivering in November and adjusting to even lower temperatures by February? Don't you think that if indoor air conditioning were not so powerful, we would be more comfortable on hot summer days walking to our cars? (Once, I spent a couple weeks without A/C in summer in Cozumel and got adjusted to it just fine.)

Yup, he is very wealthy. And he self-funds his research. Actually, no funding is needed. He reads books and then he interprets them in novel ways. By the way, I do it, too (much less successfully). Nope, he is not self-publishing. Enough people want to read him for publishers to seek his business.

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:25 pm

Victoria. If i have to start explaining an authors examples then obviously the author is doing a lousy job of writing. Its his job to verify what he is trying to get across rather than the reader assuming (we all know the definition of that) through his poor descriptive prose. As i said in an earlier post i find the content page of his book (a common starting point) a good reason to follow his advice to not read further................ "procrastination is our natural defense". In this example i agree with Mr. Taleb.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Fallible » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:35 pm

Hi Victoria,

Taleb on procrastination makes me feel a little better about mine. I wanted to know more what he meant by "natural defense" and in surfing around discovered that he also is quoted as saying, "Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment." I'm still not certain what he meant by natural defense, but rebelling and entrapment feels about right for me. :)

Good thread today by all. You must at times feel like Taleb as you described him fighting back alone, but it is an admirable defense of someone you believe in strongly. Who could not agree with that?

Fallible

P.S. Have you settled on a new avatar yet? I saw at least two.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:48 pm

Fallible wrote:Hi Victoria,

Taleb on procrastination makes me feel a little better about mine. I wanted to know more what he meant by "natural defense" and in surfing around discovered that he also is quoted as saying, "Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment." I'm still not certain what he meant by natural defense, but rebelling and entrapment feels about right for me. :)

Good thread today by all. You must at times feel like Taleb as you described him fighting back alone, but it is an admirable defense of someone you believe in strongly. Who could not agree with that?

Fallible

P.S. Have you settled on a new avatar yet? I saw at least two.


Hi Fallible,

The opposite of procrastination is productivity, a swift progress towards a goal along some path. The soul may feel trapped in that path. Perhaps, the path is too narrow, perhaps the path is wrong. Even if the direction is a little bit off, when you extend a straight line it may end far away from the desired destination. While the soul is procrastinating, she gets hit by guilt and fear that antifragilize her. We don't want our souls to be content, do we?

In the mean time, the formerly clear path gets overgrown with grass and loses its prominence. Or may be leaves fall off trees and the visibility improves in all directions. Or perhaps, the soul was cross-country skiing along deep tracks, and now they are covered with snow. By the time the soul is done procrastinating, she has more leeway with selecting the way. The soul takes a fresh look and chooses wisely.

At least, that's my interpretation. But don't tell Reggie about it. Let him think that everything is spelled out in the book.

As for my Avatar, I went through eleven (11) different images, some of which were quite bizarre. I think I will stay with this one for now.

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:16 pm

Victoria. The "soul" yes thank you now i understand. The soul/spirit is directly associated with the concept of monism. The belief that your soul (aka.... you) will live on after you die and go to heaven and meet your passed loved ones. This is the fundamental tenet of the three great religions Christianity, Hebrew and Moslem and why they have survived as long as they have. I do not believe in this and this may be the very reason why we are knocking heads. Arguing over these types of beliefs is futile so lets just agree to disagree. I enjoy your many post as do the other BH and i look forward to your input in the future. You and others are the primary reason i come to this terrific Forum. Thank you.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:21 pm

Reggie,

I was anthropomorphizing my soul while it's still here. I have no illusions about it surviving me.

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby protagonist » Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:57 am

reggiesimpson wrote:Someone needs to let Taleb know that Cro Magnon no longer exist because they were unable to adjust to extremes of weather on the planet. Practicing Talebs philosophy of antifragility didnt make them stronger. Fortunately Homo Sapien ( us) have completely ignored Taleb and created air conditioning, central heating and a few other inventions to overcome the incredibly destructive nature of Mother Earth.
.


Hi, Reggie.

I cannot validly critique Taleb since I have not read him...from what I have read about him in these forums, I am getting the idea that he is more a popularizer of accepted knowledge than a "philosopher" in his own right, and that is not criticism unless he claims this knowledge as his own (very few people read Mandelbrot, books on Chaos Theory, complex system dynamics, etc, and we certainly need voices to convey important messages in a manner that is amusing enough to be heard). Take this comment with a grain of salt. Because of this forum and the intelligent voices within , I do plan to give Black Swans a try in the not-too-distant future, and if I get through it I will feel freer with my (positive or negative) criticism.

That said, I think your criticism of Taleb above is hard to accept, given that, as a species that has existed a paltry few million years, and as a "civilized" species perhaps ten to twelve thousand on the outside, we are not only already arguably on the verge of our own extinction due to our "inventions to overcome the incredibly destructive nature of Mother Earth", but the extinction of Mother Earth herself.

Besides,wouldn't your examples of air conditioning and central heating make one more "antifragile", if I understand Taleb's concept correctly? ie...more adapted to deal with unpredictable and potentially dangerous climactic extremes? (I'm not sure I get how carrying books makes one any more or less of an "adventurer" than carrying an e-reader, which gives you greater access to information and thus potentially more antifragility...if he really said that, maybe somebody can explain).
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:41 pm

protagonist wrote:
reggiesimpson wrote:Someone needs to let Taleb know that Cro Magnon no longer exist because they were unable to adjust to extremes of weather on the planet. Practicing Talebs philosophy of antifragility didnt make them stronger. Fortunately Homo Sapien ( us) have completely ignored Taleb and created air conditioning, central heating and a few other inventions to overcome the incredibly destructive nature of Mother Earth.
.


Hi, Reggie.

I cannot validly critique Taleb since I have not read him...from what I have read about him in these forums, I am getting the idea that he is more a popularizer of accepted knowledge than a "philosopher" in his own right, and that is not criticism unless he claims this knowledge as his own (very few people read Mandelbrot, books on Chaos Theory, complex system dynamics, etc, and we certainly need voices to convey important messages in a manner that is amusing enough to be heard). Take this comment with a grain of salt. Because of this forum and the intelligent voices within , I do plan to give Black Swans a try in the not-too-distant future, and if I get through it I will feel freer with my (positive or negative) criticism.

That said, I think your criticism of Taleb above is hard to accept, given that, as a species that has existed a paltry few million years, and as a "civilized" species perhaps ten to twelve thousand on the outside, we are not only already arguably on the verge of our own extinction due to our "inventions to overcome the incredibly destructive nature of Mother Earth", but the extinction of Mother Earth herself.

Thank you for your reply protagonist. I disagree and here"s why.
The human species have been around for aprx 5 million years and for most of that time previous groups Cro magnon, Neanderthal etc struggled to survive on the planet. In all those previous cases "Nature " won and those species lost. This occurred for multiple reasons including starvation, the weather, birth/death rates, lack of tool making skills etc. Homo Sapien (200,000 years old) survives to this day because of two basic survival skills the previous motley crew didnt display to any significant degree. That being our strong inclination to violence and our incredible imagination. Put together they have enabled us to conquer the destructive proneness of Mother Earth to wipe our our species ( with air conditioning, heating, food production etc). Lets not even discuss the asteroids waiting out there.
Now while i am not blind to the threat we make to our natural world i suspect that the inherent weakness we display is more immediate and threatening. That weakness? While previous tribes had flaws that we can now calculate we ourselves overlook the very real flaw that are our strengths i mentioned earlier. That is our inclination to violence and our incredible imagination............. I am about to singe a few more hairs. Our imagination has created religion. As i noted in an earlier post regarding the soul the three great religions survive based on the promise that you will move on to an afterlife upon death. In other words you wont be meeting Mr. and Mrs. Worm. A very enticing concept but this is a belief that cannot be proved or disproved and that is fine if it makes one comfortable in this life. The difficulty is when one religious group states that there God/beliefs are better than yours and back it up with violence. Religious wars have been going on for centuries into the present time. So my concern is not that we have a proneness to wipe out the earth but that our inherent survival skills (violence and imagination) will wipe us out a lot sooner and leave Mother Earth intact. IMHO of course.
Back to Taleb. As noted in my previous posts on the OP i find his writing style to be horrific. If an author cannot clearly elucidate his point with his words then quite frankly he needs to stop and re-valuate what his main premise is to begin with. In other words does this guy really know what he is talking about.........i have my doubts. On a present post Larry Swedroe has a particular biting criticism of Taleb/Antifragility. He puts it simply, along with other comments, that there are only a few good ideas that Taleb states in the entire book. There are basic rules to writing and Taleb seems to be incapable of displaying them. One is to state your premise clearly and concisely and with as few words as possible. The writers job should be to make easy for the reader to understand his points and especially if one delves into a 'new' concept. Thats why i have been unable to get past the contents page of Antifragile. Like you, however, i will take a look at The Black Swan.......if its in the library.
Thanks for your input.
reggie.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby protagonist » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:38 pm

Hi, Reggie. Thanks for your response.

reggiesimpson wrote:While previous tribes had flaws that we can now calculate we ourselves overlook the very real flaw that are our strengths i mentioned earlier. That is our inclination to violence and our incredible imagination.............


Is there any evidence that we are more inclined to violence or are more imaginative than Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon (who, like us, were homo sapiens)? Or that such an inclination towards violence contributes to our survival, given our extremely,ridiculously short history as a species to date (a few hundred thousand years)? Or did we, perhaps by serendipity and greater "fragility" of the other groups (and not necessarily because of a "better imagination" or a more violent inclination) , just happen to develop a better weapon? Or did we evolve as better hunters? Or were the other species more susceptible to disease as an accident of evolution? I believe I read a theory that we survived because of our evolved physiognomy, allowing us to run faster than others. I don't know that there is any evidence of our species being intrinsically more or less violent than Neanderthal, or that modern homo sapiens is more or less violent than Cro Magnon homo sapiens, or even if we are, that such an inclination contributed to our survival and to the extinction of the others. But I am not an anthropologist- I am not up on the research in this field- so I could be wrong.


reggiesimpson wrote:I am about to singe a few more hairs. Our imagination has created religion. As i noted in an earlier post regarding the soul the three great religions survive based on the promise that you will move on to an afterlife upon death. In other words you wont be meeting Mr. and Mrs. Worm.


Which are the "three great religions", and what makes them "great"? If you are going by sheer numbers, then I suppose you mean Christianity (33%), Islam (22%), and Hinduism (14%). Of course, that distribution was vastly different a mere 2000 years ago, when only one of the above three existed, and certainly the concept of an "afterlife" in Hinduism (where you could BECOME "Mr. or Mrs. Worm") is far different than in the other two.


reggiesimpson wrote: So my concern is not that we have a proneness to wipe out the earth but that our inherent survival skills (violence and imagination) will wipe us out a lot sooner and leave Mother Earth intact.


One could argue that all of our "skills" are, by definition, "survival skills"... though some may, in some or possibly all situations, have an effect counter to their presumed purpose. Maybe Taleb argues that antifragility is an inherent "survival skill". I will know if and when I get around to reading his books.

reggiesimpson wrote:The writers job should be to make easy for the reader to understand his points and especially if one delves into a 'new' concept. Thats why i have been unable to get past the contents page of Antifragile. Like you, however, i will take a look at The Black Swan.......if its in the library.


This reminds me of Mark Twain's critique of Jane Austen:
"Then is it her purpose to make the reader detest her people up to the middle of the book and like them in the rest of the chapters? That could be. That would be high art. It would be worth while, too. Some day I will examine the other end of her books and see."

Let's see if we make it to the other end of Black Swan. In my case, if I do, that, in itself, will be tantamount to a rousing accolade. Taleb is highly respected by some very smart people here. Then again, so, I would presume, is Austen. In the case of Austen, I have a hard time even sitting through the movies.

reggiesimpson wrote:Thanks for your input.


Likewise, Reggie....(smile)
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:13 pm

protagonist wrote:Hi, Reggie. Thanks for your response.

reggiesimpson wrote:While previous tribes had flaws that we can now calculate we ourselves overlook the very real flaw that are our strengths i mentioned earlier. That is our inclination to violence and our incredible imagination.............


Is there any evidence that we are more inclined to violence


It's an interesting question. People are definitely more predisposed to starting and maintaining conflicts than to avoiding or terminating them. Kahneman and Renshon wrote a paper "Why Hawks Win." They looked at various cognitive biases and noticed that all relevant biases favor hawks. Kahneman and Renshon do not make any statements about the merits of hawkish or dovish attitudes themselves, but rather observe a persistent bias in one direction. Specifically:
    - Before a conflict, the optimism bias makes it easier for people to assume that they would win and win quickly. This is similar to 85% of people considering themselves above-average drivers, lovers, and alcohol-holders.
    - During a conflict, the Fundamental Attribution Error helps maintaining it. The essence of the FAE is that when we are evaluating people's behavior we tend to disregard the circumstances in which they operate. Thus, we fight because the circumstances force us to fight; and they fight because they are violently predisposed. (They, of course, think symmetrically.)
    - During a conflict, both sides are loss averse and take more risk. They would rather take 90% chance of the total loss than the certainty of 90% loss.
    - When one side tries to make a friendly gesture, it is disheartened by the illusion of transparency. The other side is still fighting, and this side feels hurt under a (mistaken) assumption that its peaceful intentions were seen and rejected by the other side.
    - Negotiations are marred by the endowment effect. Each side values its property higher than it would have valued identical property that did not belong to it.

And so the questions are to what extent these biases are manifestations of our civilization and whether they were present in our primitive ancestors.

Victoria
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby Fallible » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:24 pm

reggiesimpson wrote:... Back to Taleb. As noted in my previous posts on the OP i find his writing style to be horrific. If an author cannot clearly elucidate his point with his words then quite frankly he needs to stop and re-valuate what his main premise is to begin with. In other words does this guy really know what he is talking about.........i have my doubts. On a present post Larry Swedroe has a particular biting criticism of Taleb/Antifragility. He puts it simply, along with other comments, that there are only a few good ideas that Taleb states in the entire book. There are basic rules to writing and Taleb seems to be incapable of displaying them. One is to state your premise clearly and concisely and with as few words as possible. The writers job should be to make easy for the reader to understand his points and especially if one delves into a 'new' concept. Thats why i have been unable to get past the contents page of Antifragile. Like you, however, i will take a look at The Black Swan.......if its in the library.
Thanks for your input.
reggie.


IMO, you'll find Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness (which, ideally, should be read before Swan - and apparently both before Antifragile, which I've not yet read) clear, easy reads. Swan also was probably best read around the time of the '08 crisis, when I did, to appreciate its full impact. The criticism of his writing "style" in Antigragile mentioned by so many good readers and writers like Swedroe, etc., reminds me of the novelist Thomas Wolfe whose first drafts of exquisite prose were often overwrought and wildly overwritten, endless words and thoughts that desperately needed organization, pulling together, or tossing altogether. He needed a genius of an editor and he had one in the legendary Maxwell Perkins. My point is that, to be fair, it's possible Taleb's writing in Antifragile got in the way of his message, his points, and ideas. I'm saying that it's possible that if he had an editor like Perkins, or a team of strong editors, it might be a different book. Then again, his editors may have made it a better book and for whatever reasons couldn't make it better still. It's unlikely we'll ever know for certain what the give and take was during the editing. Still, Taleb is read mainly for his ideas and if his writing doesn't bring them out clearly, it's up to the editor to make that happen as much as possible, usually by making suggestions to the author for a rewrite. Also, I'm sure there is extra pressure on editors working with a best-selling author like Taleb who may need more help than usual with a new book.

Just trying to enlarge the "writing style" perspective here.

P.S. In what may be an example of the challenge an editor faces with an author like Taleb, here's an article (referred to on this thread) on the Kahneman/Taleb appearance at the NYPL by CFA Jason Voss. Voss said each was asked by the moderator to write a biography of seven words or less. Taleb described himself as “Convexity. Mental probabilistic heuristics approach to uncertainty.” Kahneman: “Endlessly amused by people’s minds.”

Both comments are fascinating, but if you were an editor, which man would you prefer to edit?
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:34 pm

protagonist wrote:Hi, Reggie. Thanks for your response.

reggiesimpson wrote:While previous tribes had flaws that we can now calculate we ourselves overlook the very real flaw that are our strengths i mentioned earlier. That is our inclination to violence and our incredible imagination.............


Is there any evidence that we are more inclined to violence or are more imaginative than Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon (who, like us, were homo sapiens)? Or that such an inclination towards violence contributes to our survival, given our extremely,ridiculously short history as a species to date (a few hundred thousand years)? Or did we, perhaps by serendipity and greater "fragility" of the other groups (and not necessarily because of a "better imagination" or a more violent inclination) , just happen to develop a better weapon? Or did we evolve as better hunters? Or were the other species more susceptible to disease as an accident of evolution? I believe I read a theory that we survived because of our evolved physiognomy, allowing us to run faster than others. I don't know that there is any evidence of our species being intrinsically more or less violent than Neanderthal, or that modern homo sapiens is more or less violent than Cro Magnon homo sapiens, or even if we are, that such an inclination contributed to our survival and to the extinction of the others. But I am not an anthropologist- I am not up on the research in this field- so I could be wrong.



I defer my knowledge of anthropology to lectures by professors far more knowledgeable then i. I use the term Homo Sapiens as they did in separating the tribes. It was they who explained the ultimate survival skills of violence and imagination in us and used multiple examples that seemed quite reasonable to this day. I suspect it is the brew of both skills that has given us the edge not necessarily one over the other. Cro Magnon (our nearest relative) were far more adaptable to the weather than us and were apparently excellent hunters. They had a small problem, however, and that was their birth rate vs death rate that doomed them by one or two percentage points. Our tribe presently performs 100,000,000 sexual intercourse a day and with that 1,000,000 females get pregnant and a little less than 500,000 humans are born viable daily. The first rule for survival (after eating) is reproduction of the species and we seem to be doing a "survivably" good job at it. Hmmm where is Maslow when i need him? We even have some Cro Magnon genes in us so i guess we were practicing Antifragility back then (or it was just bloody cold). Whether one can chalk this "interaction' up to our violent nature ( and/or imagination???) is open for discussion. Further, a previous tribe lasted for 500,000 years but only created one tool. They have vanished. With our imagination we have created a plethora of tools. Early man (even up to a few thousand years ago) lived on the razors edge of existence and i think serendipity had very little to do with our survival.


reggiesimpson wrote:I am about to singe a few more hairs. Our imagination has created religion. As i noted in an earlier post regarding the soul the three great religions survive based on the promise that you will move on to an afterlife upon death. In other words you wont be meeting Mr. and Mrs. Worm.


Which are the "three great religions", and what makes them "great"? If you are going by sheer numbers, then I suppose you mean Christianity (33%), Islam (22%), and Hinduism (14%). Of course, that distribution was vastly different a mere 2000 years ago, when only one of the above three existed, and certainly the concept of an "afterlife" in Hinduism (where you could BECOME "Mr. or Mrs. Worm") is far different than in the other two.


Christianity, Moslem and Hebrew. Not necessarily based on numbers. I am self quoting many sources and i do not mean to disparage Hinduism. These three promise a terrific afterlife. How you may ask? By promising you that you will get to see your Mother and Father, friends, siblings all of those who have passed or will pass in the future. It beats becoming a worm.
I took the position of atheist a long time ago (age 11) as i need clear cut explanations and religion is based on beliefs and wasnt enough for me. I certainly understand the strength and comfort it gives people and as i said earlier if it helps you get through life then so be it.
Many years ago i read what was then an uncommon notion for a book...........atheism. The books title is The Illusion of Immortality by Corliss Lamont. While he started to write a book proving the existence of God the evidence he uncovered told him the exact opposite. It was a rare concept years ago but i suspect Christopher Hitchens kept it under his pillow.




reggiesimpson wrote: So my concern is not that we have a proneness to wipe out the earth but that our inherent survival skills (violence and imagination) will wipe us out a lot sooner and leave Mother Earth intact.


One could argue that all of our "skills" are, by definition, "survival skills"... though some may, in some or possibly all situations, have an effect counter to their presumed purpose. Maybe Taleb argues that antifragility is an inherent "survival skill". I will know if and when I get around to reading his books.



I defer to my earlier criticism of Taleb. I think his ego far outweighs his skill of explaining his main point and therefore validating it.
reggiesimpson wrote:The writers job should be to make easy for the reader to understand his points and especially if one delves into a 'new' concept. Thats why i have been unable to get past the contents page of Antifragile. Like you, however, i will take a look at The Black Swan.......if its in the library.

This reminds me of Mark Twain's critique of Jane Austen:
"Then is it her purpose to make the reader detest her people up to the middle of the book and like them in the rest of the chapters? That could be. That would be high art. It would be worth while, too. Some day I will examine the other end of her books and see."



The vast majority of my previous BH posts are short and i hope to the point. I try to follow the rules of Strunk and White from Elements of Style and i am fully aware of my short comings in grammar ( i keep "the little book" within reach).
Let's see if we make it to the other end of Black Swan. In my case, if I do, that, in itself, will be tantamount to a rousing accolade. Taleb is highly respected by some very smart people here. Then again, so, I would presume, is Austen. In the case of Austen, I have a hard time even sitting through the movies.



I look forward to your analysis of Swan. I will most definitely keep the wine nearby as i wade through it ( a common antifragile skill). Thanks again. reggie
reggiesimpson wrote:Thanks for your input.


Likewise, Reggie....(smile) [minor quote fix by admin LadyGeek]
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:41 pm

Apologies to protagonist,and anyone else, for screwing up my reply (that is separating his quotes and my answers). I have tried to put enough space between them for coherence sake. Long posts are not my forte. Again i apologize.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:47 pm

Fallible. Good point. As there is a natural inclination for one to be happy/satisfied in life i can only suspect the editors choice would be the more natural one.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby livesoft » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:49 pm

@Fallible & reggiesimpson, et al., thanks for the reviews about editing. I must say that I could not finish reading any of Taleb's writings. I am glad I borrowed books from the public library and thus did not pay for them. By the same token, I am glad I purchased Kahneman's latest book.

Perhaps there is an opportunity for someone to come along and re-write Taleb for the masses. :)
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby LadyGeek » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:51 pm

reggiesimpson wrote:Apologies to protagonist,and anyone else, for screwing up my reply (that is separating his quotes and my answers). I have tried to put enough space between them for coherence sake. Long posts are not my forte. Again i apologize.

Use color instead of spacing. Select the text, then "Font color" - blue will standout in the quote. "Preview" to see how it looks before posting ("Submit").

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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:02 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:Hi, Reggie. Thanks for your response.

reggiesimpson wrote:While previous tribes had flaws that we can now calculate we ourselves overlook the very real flaw that are our strengths i mentioned earlier. That is our inclination to violence and our incredible imagination.............


Is there any evidence that we are more inclined to violence


It's an interesting question. People are definitely more predisposed to starting and maintaining conflicts than to avoiding or terminating them. Kahneman and Renshon wrote a paper "Why Hawks Win." They looked at various cognitive biases and noticed that all relevant biases favor hawks. Kahneman and Renshon do not make any statements about the merits of hawkish or dovish attitudes themselves, but rather observe a persistent bias in one direction. Specifically:
    - Before a conflict, the optimism bias makes it easier for people to assume that they would win and win quickly. This is similar to 85% of people considering themselves above-average drivers, lovers, and alcohol-holders.
    - During a conflict, the Fundamental Attribution Error helps maintaining it. The essence of the FAE is that when we are evaluating people's behavior we tend to disregard the circumstances in which they operate. Thus, we fight because the circumstances force us to fight; and they fight because they are violently predisposed. (They, of course, think symmetrically.)
    - During a conflict, both sides are loss averse and take more risk. They would rather take 90% chance of the total loss than the certainty of 90% loss.
    - When one side tries to make a friendly gesture, it is disheartened by the illusion of transparency. The other side is still fighting, and this side feels hurt under a (mistaken) assumption that its peaceful intentions were seen and rejected by the other side.
    - Negotiations are marred by the endowment effect. Each side values its property higher than it would have valued identical property that did not belong to it.

And so the questions are to what extent these biases are manifestations of our civilization and whether they were present in our primitive ancestors.

Victoria

Victoria. I submit that our very existence demonstrates our proneness to exercising our violent skills throughout history.
In keeping with the OP the chaos that violent outbursts creates may very well be at the heart of financial Swans/Fat tails. As has been previously discussed in trying to predict these categories of financial breakdowns and failing to do so successfully may be inherently tied to our own unpredictability! Hopefully the constructive use of our imagination may enable us to better predict these episodes (which seem to be getting closer together 1987,2000,2008).
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby reggiesimpson » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:10 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
reggiesimpson wrote:Apologies to protagonist,and anyone else, for screwing up my reply (that is separating his quotes and my answers). I have tried to put enough space between them for coherence sake. Long posts are not my forte. Again i apologize.

Use color instead of spacing. Select the text, then "Font color" - blue will standout in the quote. "Preview" to see how it looks before posting ("Submit").

===========================================
(General comment) While I'm at it, please try to keep focused on investing.

Thanks. I need practice.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby protagonist » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:31 pm

Hi, Victoria.

VictoriaF wrote: Kahneman and Renshon wrote a paper "Why Hawks Win." They looked at various cognitive biases and noticed that all relevant biases favor hawks. Kahneman and Renshon do not make any statements about the merits of hawkish or dovish attitudes themselves, but rather observe a persistent bias in one direction.


Couldn't this be due to the (seemingly) obvious fact that the more powerful force is the one most inclined to hawkish behavior in the first place, rather than in the inherent bias favoring hawkish behavior per se? The 98-pound weakling is not usually stupid enough to kick sand in the face of the big bully, nor is the spear-holder likely to waive his spear in the face of the guy holding the gun. An unarmed diver would not be very wise to swim up to a hammerhead minding its own business and punch it in the eye, but if armed and in the safety of her boat the weakling suddenly turns hawkish. For obvious survival reasons, you don't tug on Superman's cape...those inclined to "hawkish" behavior in the first place are those most likely to win by using it, and in most cases, they do. History is filled with examples of the mouse ignoring the obvious, roaring, and getting clobbered (eg: Masada, or more recently, Saddam Hussein's invasion of the US-ally Kuwait).


VictoriaF wrote: Specifically:
    - Before a conflict, the optimism bias makes it easier for people to assume that they would win and win quickly. This is similar to 85% of people considering themselves above-average drivers, lovers, and alcohol-holders.


Thanks. It's reassuring to hear that I am in the majority.

VictoriaF wrote:- During a conflict, the Fundamental Attribution Error helps maintaining it. The essence of the FAE is that when we are evaluating people's behavior we tend to disregard the circumstances in which they operate. Thus, we fight because the circumstances force us to fight; and they fight because they are violently predisposed. (They, of course, think symmetrically.)
- During a conflict, both sides are loss averse and take more risk. They would rather take 90% chance of the total loss than the certainty of 90% loss.
- When one side tries to make a friendly gesture, it is disheartened by the illusion of transparency. The other side is still fighting, and this side feels hurt under a (mistaken) assumption that its peaceful intentions were seen and rejected by the other side.
- Negotiations are marred by the endowment effect. Each side values its property higher than it would have valued identical property that did not belong to it.


This is all really interesting.

VictoriaF wrote:And so the questions are to what extent these biases are manifestations of our civilization and whether they were present in our primitive ancestors.


Just about every discovery in the past 50 years or so regarding the "distinction" between us and other species has led to the conclusion that we are more alike than we ever imagined. I've had pet birds and dogs, gotten to know them well, and honestly, I don't think their responses to stimuli and the demands of their environment are all that different than my own....and that probably includes a lot of those you outlined above. I'm unaware of her source, but my daughter, a student of evolutionary biology, tells me that we share 55% of the same DNA as brewer's yeast. Without proof one way or the other, I would imagine we and our Neanderthal cousins were very, very much alike in the way we think and deal with survival.
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Re: Taleb and Kahneman: Antifragility vs. common-man attitud

Postby protagonist » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:40 pm

Fallible wrote:
My point is that, to be fair, it's possible Taleb's writing in Antifragile got in the way of his message, his points, and ideas. I'm saying that it's possible that if he had an editor like Perkins, or a team of strong editors, it might be a different book. Then again, his editors may have made it a better book and for whatever reasons couldn't make it better still. It's unlikely we'll ever know for certain what the give and take was during the editing. Still, Taleb is read mainly for his ideas and if his writing doesn't bring them out clearly, it's up to the editor to make that happen as much as possible, usually by making suggestions to the author for a rewrite. Also, I'm sure there is extra pressure on editors working with a best-selling author like Taleb who may need more help than usual with a new book.


This has been reiterated by so many here, which is perhaps why, until now, I have chosen to digest Taleb's ideas through his excellent volunteer editors, especially you and Victoria, than to tackle the work myself.

Fallible wrote: described himself as “Convexity. Mental probabilistic heuristics approach to uncertainty.”


Nothing could reinforce that choice of mine better than the quote above. I tried "google translate" to no avail.
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