The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Chance and Will

Nassim Taleb says nobody can predict anything, so:

Random tinkering is the path to success. And fortunately, we are increasingly learning to practice it without knowing it — thanks to overconfident entrepreneurs, naive investors, greedy investment bankers, confused scientists and aggressive venture capitalists brought together by the free-market system.

Note however that the corollary is not that life is random; it’s that success must therefore come through the recognition of amazing accidents and lucky breaks, and the grabbing hold of them with both hands.

August 20, 2007 / Uncategorized


The insight you’ve highlighted here seems true to me, but I have to say that overall I found the book either obvious or so unpersuasive that I didn’t read far enought to find this.

Did you buy the premise, Robin? I just never could figure out what the buzz was for this book …

Okay, so I didn’t read the book, but I am a big fan of Taleb’s core insights, which he has expressed in many other venues, in part b/c they flow from the same economic logic I was inculcated w/ in school.

That said, I can definitely see how the insights would not be enough to sustain an entire tome.

I mean, once you get Taleb’s argument that the world is much more random than we want to believe, and that our brains are constantly imposing patterns and causes on things that don’t truly have them (or: they do, but they’re SUPER complex, and we have no way of listing them out)… that’s sort of it.

OTI says…

The book is a little long

If you have ever read When Genius Failed, it covers a lot of the same ideas in roundabout ways and is a lot more compelling.

Radiolab ran a good program earlier this week on emergent systems and they had a nice part where they represented the brain and perception as a bunch of singers all hitting the same note (one singing a shape, one singing a color, one singing a taste -all together they were coffee). The basic ideas seemed to be that pretty much all of perception is seeing a pattern.

I guess we are pretty much screwed if statistical analysis and likelihood are all we have to rely on to maintain our sense of reality.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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