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The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms

Hardback

By (author) Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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  • Publisher: ALLEN LANE
  • Format: Hardback | 128 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 204mm x 17mm | 220g
  • Publication date: 2 December 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846144582
  • ISBN 13: 9781846144585
  • Sales rank: 75,128

Product description

In this profound and playful book, Nassim Nicholas Taleb presents his ideas about life in the form of aphorisms, the world's earliest - and most memorable - literary form. Procrustes was a character from Greek mythology who abducted travellers and invited them to spend the night in a special bed, which they had to fit to perfection. They never did. Those who were too tall had their legs chopped off; those who were too short were stretched. Every aphorism here is about a Procrustean bed of sorts - we humans, facing the limits of our knowledge, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies and pre-packaged narratives. Only by embracing the unexpected - and accepting what we don't know - can we see the world as it really is.

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Author information

Nassim Nicholas Taleb spends most of his time as a flaneur, meditating in cafes across the planet. A former trader, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University. He is the author of Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan, an international bestseller which has become an intellectual, social, and cultural touchstone.

Review quote

Like Twain and Wilde before him, Taleb eats paradoxes for breakfast...The aphorism is Taleb to a tee. It showcases his wit and learning, and provides ways to fillet his enemies. All his usual suspects are present to be corrected: bankers, fools, politicians, journalists...Present, too, are his heroes: the curious, the intellectually anarchistic, the idle philosopher. -- James Kidd Independent on Sunday [A] quirky, entertaining collection of aphorisms, covering everything from the web ("like a verbally incontinent person") to the injuriousness of doing too much work ("My idea of the sabbatical is to work for (part of) a day and rest for six") ... a wry, often hila-rious glimpse. -- Robert Collins The Times