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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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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Not The Same Old Garden Path - How We Can Literally Think Differently -

Not The Same Old Garden Path - How We Can Literally Think Differently - | Agile Learning |
Best-selling author William A. Donius shares what neuroscience has revealed about how we can learn to literally think differently to be more innovative.

The process of using the non-dominant hand, considering a question and allowing an answer to flow forth from that hand without consciously thinking about it, is in effect, walking yourself down a new garden path – a truly amazing experience. 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

How to think differently, using your body in a different way, is VERY helpful to agile learning.  ~  D

Deborah Long's curator insight, July 6, 2013 8:57 PM

Drawing on both sides of the brain particularly the non dominant side opens one to new experiences and ways of thinking.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, July 11, 2013 1:20 PM
Breaking through our patterned thinking is essential to adaptive and agile learning, esp. when we don't know what we don't know." Getting out of that comfort zone is a challenge, books like this help.
Free Your Mind's curator insight, July 31, 2013 1:00 AM

Neuroplasticity has proven that we can really re-train our brains for just about everything.  Given the right amount of effort and time you really can train yourself to react differently and be happier.  It's worth trying!

Rescooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN from PREDA - Le contenu que l'on retient!

Thoughts on “Collective Intelligence”

Thoughts on “Collective Intelligence” | Agile Learning |

Fascinating nuggets from the book summary of Collective Intelligence by Pierre Lévy (click through post here to locate & enlarge the chart):


The premise: Humankind must acknowledge the potential of cyberspace to enable beneficial new forms of complex collective thought, collective expression, and social organization.

Technology makes this feasible (p. 246). The author's ideas are reminiscent of:

  • Vannevar Bush‘s collective memory
  • Marshall McLuhan‘s notion of a forthcoming “global village”
  • Douglas Engelbart‘s vision of the computer as a tool to augment human thought,
  • J. C. R. Licklider‘s plans for symbiotic human—computer networks.


Lévy calls for a revolution in society’s understanding of itself – the expansion of subjectivity (cf. Lévy, 2000).



  • Multi-modal and dynamic (p. 120)
  • Virtual worlds instruments of self-knowledge and self-definition 
  • Deterritorialized with self-organization
  • Continuous self-invention of human communities
  • Computer-aided imagination 
  • The collective can choose to foster & encourage individuality
From another reviewer:
Levy begins with the premise that the prosperity of any nation or other entity depends on their ability to navigate the knowledge space, and ... knowledge space will displace the spaces of the (natural) earth, (political) territory, or (economic) commodity. 

Via Pierre Levy, Frederic DOMON
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

One word: Fascinating! (nod to Mr. Spock)

The language of the post & the book itself is academic, yet the ideas are wonder producing.  I think we are seeing the first signs of what Lévy describes in social media, gaming and in group processes like Open Space Technology, among other things.  ~  D

María Dolores Díaz Noguera's curator insight, January 14, 2014 4:50 AM

Great one.

Miguel Angel Perez Alvarez's curator insight, January 14, 2014 2:14 PM

Inteligencia colectiva, evolución

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, January 31, 2014 11:18 PM

Cyberspace big thoughts, and perhaps indicating a fusion or an evolution of knowledge management in a group space.

Rescooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN from Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend?!

The Nature of the Future – Education & Change, Review by Harold Jarche

The Nature of the Future – Education & Change, Review by Harold Jarche | Agile Learning |

Marina Gorbis identifies unique human skills [that] should be the core of any public education program.

  • Sensemaking
  • Social and emotional intelligence
  • Novel and adaptive thinking
  • Moral and ethical reasoning

As Gorbis write... “Learning is Social”.

We need to learn how to work better with machines, letting machines do what they are good at.

Gorbis shows how machines and average people can outperform experts at playing chess. 

“Weak human + machine + better process

was superior to a strong computer alone

and, more remarkably,superior to a

strong human + machine + inferior process.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Sensemaking of MOOCs and adaptive learning.  Trust a smart process.  ~ Deb

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, April 26, 2013 2:38 PM

It's not just the skills, it's the social and the process, lest all the talk about MOOCs and universities and skill training lead to engineering and accounting.  ~  Deb