The Bed of Procrustes: 15 highlights

  1. Studying neurobiology to understand humans is like studying ink to understand literature.
  2. People reveal much more about themselves while lying than when they tell the truth.
  3. Mental clarity is the child of courage, not the other way around.
  4. Most info-Webmedia-newspaper types have a hard time swallowing the idea that knowledge is reached (mostly) by removing junk from people’s heads.
  5. Supposedly, if you are uncompromising or intolerant with BS you lose friends. But you will also make friends, better friends.
  6. True humility is when you can surprise yourself more than others; the rest is either shyness or good marketing.
  7. Another marker for charlatans: they don’t voice opinions that can get them in trouble.
  8. You can only convince people who think they can benefit from being convinced.
  9. Even the cheapest misers can be generous with advice.
  10. Trust those who are greedy for money a thousand times more than those who are greedy for credentials. [Curious what people think about this. In some cases credentials can mean reputation.]
  11. When conflicted between two choices, take neither.*
  12. They think that intelligence is about noticing things are relevant (detecting patterns); in a complex world, intelligence consists in ignoring things that are irrelevant (avoiding false patterns).
  13. In twenty-five centuries, no human came along with the brilliance, depth, elegance, wit, and imagination to match Plato—to protect us from his legacy.
  14. For the classics, philosophical insight was the product of a life of leisure; for me, a life of leisure is the product of philosophical insight.
  15. The first, and hardest, step to wisdom: avert the standard assumption that people know what they want.

More from Taleb’s own website

Published by

Dr Martina Feyzrakhmanova

I am a hospital doctor and founder of an education platform. Avid reader and writer of introspective blogs.

6 thoughts on “The Bed of Procrustes: 15 highlights”

  1. This aphorism (When conflicted between two choices, take neither.) conflicts with one I was told: when confronted with a choice or two things, always take the third. The story used to sell this was of an older shopper who asked the greengrocer “How much are the lemons?’ He replied “Two for 99 cents?” She asked “How much for one?” He said “50 cents.” She said “I’ll take the other one.”

    This aphorism is, I think, more valuable because it strikes out against the forces limiting our choices, which are often arbitrary and slanted to the advantage of others.

    I have enjoyed your blog this year and hope you will be continuing. You offer many good things to think about! Happy Holidays and a prosperous new year!

    Liked by 1 person

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