Here's Why Nassim Taleb Goes Nuclear On His Critics On Twitter

If you weren’t watching the finance twitter this weekend, you missed a good show.

Author, financial philosopher and economist hater Nassim Taleb went ballistic on some critics who called out one of his old comments.

Nassim Taleb’s whole thing is how you should be “antifragile,” and it’s not intuitive how it’s a demonstration of being antifragile to fly into a rage when some folks poke at you on Twitter.

So we asked him about that, and his answer was that he had a moral compulsion to do so. Specifically, he says that if someone attacks him, and he thinks the attack is BS, then he would attack the guy in a private conversation for being a fool. And Taleb believes he shouldn’t have a different private persona than a public persona, so therefore he must bring the attack to Twitter.

(BTW: The nature of the fight is that someone brought up the fact that in 2010 Nassim Taleb says it was a no-brainer to short Treasuries. Most people would say this hasn’t done well [though Taleb disagrees with that], but Taleb thinks it’s BS to bring it up since he favours bets that have a huge payoff and long odds of success, so obviously he’ll get most of his calls “wrong.”)

As for bringing fights to Twitter, Taleb says one of the following conditions must be in place.

…his critics 1) use “straw man arguments” (misrepresenting my ideas to critique them), 2) transform low probability bets into deterministic predictions, 3) mistake P/L for prediction.

So there you go. If Taleb feels that you use straw man arguments, or don’t understand the nature of probabilistic predictions. And if he would have been inclined to attack you in private, he feels compelled to attack you all out on Twitter.

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