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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Classic: Nassim N. Taleb and His Rules for Life. Who will break the status quo?

Classic:  Nassim N. Taleb and His Rules for Life.  Who will break the status quo? | Agile Learning |

"The controversial thinker who predicted the 2008 financial crisis hates bankers, academics and journalists. Carole Cadwalladr took the risk of meeting him."

"The controversial thinker who predicted the 2008 financial crisis hates bankers, academics and journalists. Carole Cadwalladr took the risk of meeting him."


In The Black Swan he argued that modernity is too complex to understand, and "Black Swan" events – hitherto unknown and unpredicted shocks – will always occur.
What's more, because of the complexity of the system, if one bank went down, they all would. The book sold 3m copies.  


Antifragile, the follow-up, is his most important work so far, he says. It takes the central idea of The Black Swan and expands it to encompass almost every other aspect of life, from the 19th century rise of the nation state to what to eat for breakfast (fresh air, as a general rule).

 I'd been expecting a popular science-style read, a Freakonomics or a Nudge. And then I realised it's actually a philosophical treatise.


"Exactly!" says Taleb. Once you get over the idea that you're reading some sort of popular economics book and realise that it's basically Nassim Taleb's Rules for Life,'s actually .....something like a chivalric code d'honneur for the 21st century. Modern life is akin to a chronic stress injury, he says. And the way to combat it is to embrace randomness in all its forms: live true to your principles, don't sell your soul and watch out for the carbohydrates.


Some of the gems of this journalistic piece:
"Experience is devoid of the cherry-picking that we find in studies."
 "You have to pull back and let the system destroy itself, and then come back. That's Seneca's recommendation. He's the one who says that the sage should let the republic destroy itself."

Size, in Taleb's view, matters. Bigger means more complex, means more prone to failure. Or, as he puts it, "fragile". It's what made – still makes – the banking system so vulnerable.
 In The Black Swan, one of Taleb's great examples of "non-linearity", or Black Swan behaviour, was blockbusters. There's no predicting what will be the next breakout success, or next year's 50 Shades of Grey, but when they take off, they fly off the charts, as The Black Swan did. The book itself was a Black Swan phenomenon. As Taleb is fond of pointing out – and as the small print beneath advertisements for mutual funds states – past performance is no indicator of future growth.


When the financial journalist Michael Lewis profiled a collection of individuals who, like Taleb, saw the crash coming and shorted the market, he described them as "social misfits". It takes a certain sort of personality to stand apart from the herd. And Taleb's cantankerousness, his propensity for picking fights, and for taking stands does also seem to be the source of his greatest triumphs. It was horrible, though, he says.

"Really horrible. Between 2004 and 2008 were the worst years of my life. Everybody thought I was an idiot. And I knew that. But at the same time I couldn't change my mind to fit in. So you have this dilemma: my behaviour isn't impacted by what people think of me, but I have the pain of it.

You must have felt incredibly vindicated?

"Vindication doesn't pay back. Nobody likes you because you were right. This is why I'm glad I made the shekels."

…Taleb is a fighter. And like the Roman generals, he believes in going into battle, leading from the front.

If you're going to make the case for war, you need to have at least one direct descendant who stands to lose his life from the decision.


….he gives good lunch. And he does something which no interviewee in the history of interviews has ever done – he pays. Whatever else he does or doesn't do, Nassim Taleb puts his money where his mouth is. He has skin in the game.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

I discovered this gem recently.  Carole Cadwalladr does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the irascible Taleb, with a well written touch of poignancy.  I've become a fan of his ideas because of my own beliefs in the power of groups, teams and communities, and because we are due for many more "Black Swan" events due to the fragile nature of connected businesses.   

Technology is both a blessing and not.  I hope  there will be alternative forms of finance that will arise to solve the problems we've experienced since 2008, as well as what will continue to be a jobless recovery.  More about that soon.  ~  Deb 

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Rescooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN from Connectivism!

The Attack on Higher Ed — and Why We Should Welcome It, MOOC Redux, TED Blog

The Attack on Higher Ed — and Why We Should Welcome It,  MOOC Redux, TED Blog | Agile Learning |

George Siemens taught the first MOOC back in 2008. He shares his take on why they're still valid -- and what might happen next in Higher Ed.


As the failures and shortcomings of MOOCs were disseminated, schadenfreude mingled with personal beliefs prompted academics to lament completion rates and the failure of online learning while self-validating their own importance.

Corporate MOOCs will be the big trend of 2014. ...MOOC providers will ...fill in the gap that existing universities do not address. 




...[George Siemens is] struck by the range of errors and misunderstanding within both camps.

...MOOCs are here to stay, in some form or other, not least because universities face many structural challenges. 

…what learners really need has diversified over the past several decades as the knowledge economy has expanded. Universities have not kept pace with learner needs and MOOCs have caused a much needed stir — a period of reflection and self-assessment. To date, higher education has largely failed to learn the lessons of participatory culture, distributed and fragmented value systems and networked learning. MOOCs have forced a serious assessment of the idea of a university and how education should be related to and supportive of the society in which it exists.

So what happens now?

Corporate MOOCs will be the big trend of 2014. ...MOOC providers will partner with corporations and fill in the gap that existing universities do not address.

Related posts & tools by Deb:


Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Turbulence, escalating costs point the way way to disruptive new forms of learning, highlighting networked learning, open systems and giving systems that have the correct balance of process, involvement and results.  

Flexibility and adapting to change is the essential new competency of the millenium, especially for higher education. ~  Deb

Richard Platt's curator insight, February 3, 2014 10:14 PM

Universities just got told off

Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

The Shifts We Will Barely Feel - Adaptation via Chris Brogan

The Shifts We Will Barely Feel - Adaptation via Chris Brogan | Agile Learning |

PEOPLE WON’T EVER DO THAT:  The enemy of understanding change and shifts is the mindset that says “no one will give up owning their music.”

More examples from top blogger Chris Brogan:

It’s the mindset that says, “Stay at someone’s house? Too creepy. Hotels only.”

The moment you shift your thoughts into “people won’t” territory, you’ll miss what can happen, what might happen, and what will happen.

  • People won’t want dinners that take 3 minutes to heat up. 


  • People won’t want food handed to them through windows. 


  • People won’t want to read blogs from unknowns when they can follow the mainstream. 


  • People won’t type 140 character messages.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Did  you ever hear about "salad in a bag?"  Now, in the US, it is ubiquitous, along with veggies in a bag, milk in boxes, refried beans in a bag.  ~  D

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Rescooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN from Effective Technology Integration into Education!

The State of Digital Education.

The State of Digital Education. | Agile Learning |

The State of Digital Education Infographic #elearning #edtech #edtechchat

Related tools & posts by Deb:

  • Stay in touch with Best of the Best news, taken from Deb's  NINE multi-gold award winning curation streams from @Deb Nystrom, REVELN delivered once a month via email, available for free here,via REVELN Tools.




Via Dan Kirsch, Bonnie Bracey Sutton, Suvi Salo, Ivon Prefontaine, PhD, Mark E. Deschaine, PhD
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

What is happening with Digital Learning, 2014?   This infographic provides perspective and key phrase that speaks volumes, "Education's Internet Moment is Now."  ~  Deb

Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, July 14, 2014 7:48 PM

The challenge we face is that School is an outdated technology itself. We need substantial structural change.

Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Winning the Generation Game - Crossing Over

Winning the Generation Game - Crossing Over | Agile Learning |

“WHY do you pander to them?” This question kept being put to Marian Salzman, the boss of Havas PR, by her older workers in the days after the firm launched its latest recruitment ad..."

...A recent survey by Ernst & Young, which asked American professionals from each age group their opinions of each generation, found significant differences, not all of them predictable.  (Chart in original source.)

 ....To get them to work together ...[Ernst & Young] is encouraging them voluntary work in cross-generational teams. Millennials may be cool with this; their older peers not so much.  

Related articles by Deb:

3 Success Factors for High Performance Teams, and What Gets In the Way


Change, Innovators, Creativity and Community, Will it Blend?


Co-Creation in Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges & the Road to Commitment



Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Connect the dots, from the article - Baby-boomers, GenX and Millenials.  Which group is seen as:

  • hard-working and productive
  • best team players
  • good at tech stuff but truculent  & work-shy?

This piece shares research and raises state-of-the-practice questions about how to work across generational differences.

~ Deb

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