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]