Have you ever gazed upon classical Greek philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb and thought to yourself, “That man has a body from the gods. I could never hope to match him in brains, but what about brawn? If only I could obtain the details of his diet and fitness regimen”? Well, friends, today is your lucky day. Despite still being on his second tour of self-imposed quiet time, Taleb granted several interviews to publications reviewing his new book, “Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder,” and, naturally, the topic of his physique came up, specifically the various ways he keeps it in such enviable shape. (He also touches on the exercises that led to him having a brain three times the size of the typical astrophysicist, though please note that these should be appreciated but not be attempted by average humans, who could hurt themselves quite badly.)

In speaking with New Scientist, Taleb addressed his workout routine of the body (picking up rocks, squat thrusts), his workout routine of the mind (sucking the blood of his haters), and how he keeps his immune system in fighting form.

I lift stones and do weightlifting. I don’t go to the doctor except when I’m very ill, and when I go to India, I drink a drop of local water. Things like this harness the body’s antifragility. I have never had personal debt and never will. I also picked a profession in which I am antifragile, because any attack makes me stronger. When I write about something, I have skin in the game.

And from The Economist, we learn that the women who fed him fruit while he laid in bed for two years reading doctoral theses on probability and statistics would find themselves on the business end of hissy fit on the occasions they dared to grab whatever was on sale at Whole Foods.

“Antifragile” is as much about the author as it is about the world. He is a weightlifter and calls himself “an intellectual who has the appearance of a bodyguard”. He avoids fruit that does not have an ancient Greek or Hebrew name and drinks no liquid that has not been in existence for at least 1,000 years. He has little time for copy editors, even less for economists, bankers and those who cluster at Davos. He once spent two years in bed reading every book about probability he could lay his hands on.

Deep thoughts, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb [updated] [FT Alphaville]
Stress Best [The Economist]
Antifragile: How to make an unstable world strong [New Scientist]
Black Swan Author Nassim Nicholas Taleb Is the Incredible Hulk [Daily Intel]

37 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (37)

  1. Posted by Guest | November 19, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Where is the “always with the three names” tag?

  2. Posted by guest | November 19, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    where the hell is the 'always with the three names' tag?

  3. Posted by Mr. Nanoverse | November 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Man, he must be doing something right. His muscles are so big that he can't even cross his arms without looking awkward.

  4. Posted by Hobbes | November 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    I think the secret to his brilliance is that he smells his own farts.

  5. Posted by Tony | November 19, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Billionaire genius playboy philanthropist.

  6. Posted by asdf1234 | November 19, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I'm sure writing OTM puts has been great the last few years. Anyone know if Universa is still in business?

  7. Posted by Nailz6 | November 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Still a pussy.

    – C. Gasparino

  8. Posted by Closed | November 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    He buys them actually.

  9. Posted by Pussy | November 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Syrian, not Greek.

    Seems like they could use some tough guy help there.

  10. Posted by asdf1234 | November 19, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    doh, you're right, even more expensive strategy.

  11. Posted by dos equis guy | November 19, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    he is "the most intellectually arrogant man in the world"…

  12. Posted by Christopher | November 19, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    "He once spent two years in bed reading every book about probability he could lay his hands on" — were there lots of books on probablity already clustered within an arm's length of his bed before the 2 year period began, or did he have servo-mechanisms that went out from the bedroom to find such books and bring them back to him while he remained inert as per his sacred vow?

  13. Posted by Philosophy 101 | November 19, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    But does he even exist?

  14. Posted by fitting in | November 19, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    was the most consistent performer in our line up — loosing 60%+ whether the market was up or down. very impressive… i think we paid up to liquidate… he should continue lifting stones.

  15. Posted by TNT | November 19, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Here is a one line explanation of all his philosophy, plus his name: N(n,t) — merely normal, taken to n-th degree, with a bit of fat (tail).

  16. Posted by Ronald "Mac" Donald | November 20, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    I too have been described as an intellectual with the appearance of a bodyguard.

  17. Posted by Infinite guest | November 20, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Hey !

  18. Posted by Subcontinent-moroco | November 20, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    they're not the cleanest people in the world

  19. Posted by qwestion | November 20, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    Billy Joel wants his face back.

  20. Posted by joe silverback | November 20, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    The baboon wants his face back

  21. Posted by PermaGuestII | November 20, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    I know, right?

    -J. Pierpont Morgan

  22. Posted by Guest | November 20, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    I pick things up and put them down

  23. Posted by Krugman | November 20, 2012 at 9:41 AM


  24. Posted by UBS Board | November 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    It's like us with Investment Banking.

    Don't count us out, we'll be back on the highs.

  25. Posted by el guesto | November 20, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Seriously… wtf?!

    – Lee Harvey Oswald

  26. Posted by Louis Bacon | November 20, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Nassim Taleb carries around a tank of oxygen so he doesn't have to breathe the same air as you. He has never made eye contact with a waiter. He often delivers speeches in Urdu so he doesn't have to share a language with anyone nearby. His children describe Taleb as a "unknowable, distant enigma." Every word you speak is like a tiny knife jabbing at his eardrums, and if Taleb uttered a word in your presence it would be like the voice of God in your head.

  27. Posted by guest | November 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    It's called a B-Boy stance, Kid

  28. Posted by Guesticle | November 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    In other words, he is a giant douche.

  29. Posted by Balls Mahoney | November 20, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Is he a hedge fund manager, rapper, or terrorist?

  30. Posted by dos equis guy | November 20, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    i don't always lose money, but when i do its because i overpay for tail hedges

  31. Posted by Gretyui | November 24, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Funny how he read so much about statistics to dismiss it and, when it comes to nutrition, he basically trusts in magic – more crazy than smart, I guess…

  32. Posted by binaryoptionsjt | November 25, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Actually the guy is Lebanese. I have done extensive work based on his Taleb distribution and am using it as a trading strategy for binary options – I even quoted him at http://www.binaryoptionsreports.com/

  33. Posted by Magic MG | December 23, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Great comments! I always thought this deuche was a self absorbed idiot as this article just adds more fuel to the fire. Does he actually think his average sized brain power is even relevant in today's age? Does anyone know how his hedge fund is performing or is that not even in existence anymore?

  34. Posted by top forex brokers | May 13, 2013 at 4:20 AM

    Hi Bass! Thank you for this interesting article. I enjoy reading it and i learn from your post. Definitely share this on my social network account for reference.

  35. Posted by Natural health 101 | October 28, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Health of body is very important.If you are not healthy and solid fitness then you can not find a good skin attraction and smart body.

  36. Posted by 5-htp.pw | April 21, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    This is one of the best posts that I’ve ever seen; you may include some more ideas in the same theme. I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post

  37. Posted by Melissa | July 9, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    I also picked a profession in which I am antifragile, because any attack makes me stronger. When I write about something, I have skin in the game. http://www.theslimmingsupermarket.co.uk