If Nassim Taleb Wasn’t Non-Anti Cool


An Antifragile Hans Christian Anderson chilling with the ugly duckling in the pre-black swan years.


Once upon a time I knew this metal sculptor.  He was very talented.  I commissioned some metal sculptures from him for a project I was working on.  They were awesome.  The guy had fantastic talent as a metalworker.  He had this amazingly cool warehouse studio in an otherwise questionable area of downtown Asheville, North Carolina.  I don’t remember his name as this was over a decade ago.

Then one day I had another metal sculpture project and I went to see him.  There was someone there talking with him already when I got there.  I stood back a reasonable distance, say fifteen feet, while they conducted their business.  I noticed the sculptor wasn’t speaking.  He was only writing stuff down on a sheet of paper.  I figured he had laryngitis or something.

After the other customer left, I approached to discuss my project.  He wrote down a couple of things on the paper such as a price quote and the date when I should come back to pick up the job.  I gave him 1/2 the money which was standard procedure and then I left.  When I came back a few weeks later another customer was there.  I asked the customer “What’s up with his voice?” referring to the sculptor.  The customer said “He’s not talking to anyone.”  I asked the customer if the sculptor had laryngitis.  The customer said “No, he just doesn’t want to talk to people.  It’s a waste of time.  He wants to do metalwork, so for the next year he is not going to talk to anyone.” 

There you have it.  That’s how you go from being a super cool sculptor to a super duper cool sculptor.  I know Nassim Taleb has embargoed himself from the press in the past in an effort to create a false scarcity of his self-proclaimed wisdom.  Maybe he should have stayed with that embargo strategy a little longer.

If you’re disappointed with Nassim’s handling of the media’s criticism of his new book Antifragile:  Things That Gain From Disorder, then Dave’s got a practical suggestion on how you can express your feelings.  You can pre-order Dave’s new book.  The book is done and should be coming out in e-book form shortly.  It’s not really a wisdom book like Nassim’s.  It’s really a practical handbook for business owners and managers.  It’s all about increase and how to increase your business if you’re responsible for a business or maybe you know someone who is.  Starting, owning and running businesses can be a real challenge.  I know, I’ve done it for over thirty years and nearly a dozen times. 

If you know someone who would like to boost their business and have their business work for them more while they work for the business less, then tell them about my new book.  Maybe you can order it for them for Christmas instead of buying Nassim’s book.  I know Nassim probably wouldn’t like that, but my wife would think you’re awesome.  She’s much more non-anti-cool than Nassim and she says “We want your order, not disorder and everyone gains from Increase… guaranteed!”  Feminine yes, but fragile… no. 

If you want to receive an email when the book comes out, then send me an email with the subject “increase” and send it to tradewithdave (at) gmail (dot) com.  I’ll make sure you get a notice when the book comes out and I’m sure we’ll put a notice up here on the site.  Unlike Mr. Taleb’s book, this book isn’t a big deal to the world, but it may be helpful to someone who owns, manages or is responsible for the sales of any business.  They may be in commercial real estate, own a hair salon or be running one of those increasingly popular gourmet food trucks.  Maybe the person you buy the book for is the sales manager for a big company or a small car dealership.  Maybe you send a copy to the CEOs of Groupon or Zynga – sure looks like they could stand some increase about now.   If someone is looking to increase their business, the book may help them in a variety of ways.  We’re going to sell the book, but you can send me an email for free, so go ahead.  I won’t spam you if you don’t spam me. 

tradewithdave (at) gmail (dot) com

If you decide to criticize my book, that would be great because I could sure use the publicity.  I promise that the lawyer’s at Penguin Publishing won’t contact you because the book is not being published by Penguin and I don’t expect that I’ll be interviewed by Charlie Rose or even Stephen Colbert.  Having a business that increases its sales is cool.  I may not be cool.  My new book may not even be cool, but you and your business could be cool… or not anti cool as the saying goes.  As far as “ethical obligations” to use Mr. Taleb’s terminology, I only have this to say.  Thank you for your time.  I’m much obliged. 

Here’s a link to what is NOT selected passages from Nassim Nicholas Talebs new book Antifragile:


Here’s a link to Josh Brown’s explanation of his takedown from his site as inspired by the book publishing isn’t funny… it’s serious culture over at Penguin:


Lisa Pollack of FT Alphaville also falls victim to the Taleb non-anti-cool factor: http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2012/11/19/1267633/deep-thoughts-by-nassim-nicholas-taleb/ 

If you are having a tough time understanding what all the fuss is about, then maybe a few words of wisdom from Jack Handy will help bring some antifragility back to your world.

The Economist Magazine weighs in on the entertainment of weightlifting in-your-face intellectuals: http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21566619-how-surprises-make-you-stronger-stress-best

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