Nassim Taleb Gets Into Historic Twitter Brawl, Proving To Everyone How ANTIFRAGILE He Is

nassim taleb

“Black Swan” (and more recently, “Antifragile”) author Nassim Taleb is known, among other things, for his impassioned arguments against his detractors (especially on Twitter and Facebook).

Yesterday, Taleb sent out a tweet that caused a few other tweeters to poke fun, including Joe Cotterill, a reporter for the Financial Times; Lorcan Roche Kelly, Chief Europe Strategist at Trend Macrolytics; and Karl Whelan, an economist who worked for several years at the Federal Reserve and the Central Bank of Ireland.

To make a long story short, Taleb didn’t find the jokes funny.

The whole thing quickly devolved into a pretty heated exchange that ended up running all the way until this afternoon.

We have chronicled the conversation here.

It all started with a simple generalization, as Twitter conversations often do

Of course, as is also common on Twitter, the jokes began immediately as fellow tweeters thought of clever counterexamples

This was followed by some further analysis of said counterexamples

Taleb's Twitter handle had been included in the aforementioned tweets, so he decided to jump back in to the conversation, coining a new term

Taleb's tweet and novel term sparked a joking response from Karl Whelan

In keeping with the (mostly) jocular nature of the conversation, Kelly coined a new term of his own, inspired by Taleb's previous tweet

Whelan responded with another joke (subtle jab at Taleb?)

Though Taleb's Twitter handle was not mentioned by Whelan in the previous tweets, Taleb returned to the conversation and (almost literally) threw the book at Whelan

Whelan responded to Taleb, playing off Taleb's earlier response to Cotterill and Kelly

This is when Taleb started attacking Whelan's profession

When Whelan didn't respond, Taleb came at him again

And again

Finally, Yvonne Whelan decided to get involved with a question of her own about Taleb

Whelan gave her the short version

Taleb sought to clarify, taking another dig at Whelan in the process

A third-party observer's tweet mentioning Taleb and Whelan sparked a new round of conversation

Taleb insinuated that Whelan, a former Central Bank of Ireland economist during the mid-2000s, contributed to the Irish banking crisis

Whelan noted that he also worked at the Fed in the late 1990s

That prompted Taleb to really let loose

Whelan mused on the conversation up to this point

Taleb, meanwhile, continued the onslaught

That led Whelan to offer his parting shot:

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