The Most Interesting Man in the World

Eric Falkenstein had an interesting blog post up the other day comparing the arrogance of Kanye West to that of Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan and now his collection of aphorisms, The Bed of Procrustes.

In the case of Kanye, his arrogance is justified.  His work on both sides of the mixing board is five levels above what anyone else in the game is doing right now.  In the case of Taleb, the more I read him and about him, the more I’m beginning to think that his conceit may be somewhat justified as well.

This weekend’s must-read is a breezy New York Magazine mini-profile of the philosopher-economist as he shops for rare Kafka books and breakfasts in one of the more tucked-away neighborhoods of NYC (anything not to bump into a finance guy)…

Taleb’s previous career began at Credit Suisse First Boston, where he received his first-ever job evaluation. “I tore it to pieces in front of them. Life is worth living for these moments.” Moreover, CSFB did not fire him. He made what he has called his “fuck you” money when his bets against the market made him millions on Black Monday in 1987. He went on to work at UBS, BNP-Paribas, Banque Indosuez, and Bankers Trust. He was a pit trader in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and later ran his own investment firm. But he insists that his true vocation through it all was the 60 hours a week he spent reading for no other purpose than pleasure and self-cultivation.

Be sure to head over for the rest.


145 Minutes with Nassim Taleb (New York Magazine)

…and if you haven’t read one of Taleb’s finance-related books, do so here:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Amazon

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