Greek god. Philosopher. Adonis. The only person on earth who has earned the right to have an opinion about anything. All appropriate characterizations of one Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and the way at least three-quarters of all living homo sapiens have described NNT in their conversations with friends and in their diaries. And while his many admirers have surely studied him in great detail in the hopes of one day having the opportunity to unlock his heart or simply bask in his reflected glory for a moment or two, not everyone has a comprehensive list of the things that rev Taleb’s engine and, more importantly, that tick him off. Luckily, a recent profile by Chronicle writer Tom Bartlett has produced a near-complete guide to the likes and dislikes of Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Read it, print it out, carry it in your pocket– but really, consider taking the time to commit it to memory. Your chance may only come along once and you don’t want to fuck it up by fumbling around your notes because you can’t remember what his thoughts are on “bourgeois bohemian bonus earners” or fruit.


Pumping iron (“He writes in Antifragile that readers, upon meeting him, ‘have a rough time dealing with an intellectual who has the appearance of a bodyguard.’ I wouldn’t have guessed bodyguard, though he is thicker—thanks to a newfound love of weightlifting”)

Smart sciences


People with “skin in the game”

Double espressos

Guessing games (“He asked me how much I thought he made during the crisis. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘Guess.’ ‘Five million?’ He laughed. ‘Try times 10,’ he said.”)




Business schools (“specifically the one at Harvard,” which “lectures birds to fly and then arrogantly claim credit when the fledglings become airborne”)

Structured learning

Fruits without Greek or Hebrew names

Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig


“Unctuous, fawning travel assistants”

“Bourgeois bohemian bonus earners”




Paul Krugman

Thomas Friedman



Air conditioning


Soccer moms

Smooth surfaces

Federal Reserve bankers

Bankers period

Economists (“weak, ignorant, fearful, and generally pathetic”)

Robert C. Merton

Myron Scholes

Gary Pisano

Career academics



“Bureaucrato-journalistic talk”

Bob Rubin

Google News



“The inexorable disloyalty of Mother Nature”

Social sciences

Regular shoes

Hope this was helpful. Good luck out there.

This Is Not A Profile Of Nassim Taleb [Chronicle]
Related: Nassim Nicholas Taleb Became The Chiseled Adonis You See Before You Through A Strict Regimen Of Picking Up Rocks And Lying In Bed For Two Years

44 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (44)

  1. Posted by guest2 | December 21, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Sorry Matt NTT hates footnotes.

  2. Posted by Question | December 21, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    How many nipples does Shazar have?

  3. Posted by Circumcision PhD | December 21, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Skin in the game ???

    So, members of the tribe not welcome ?

  4. Posted by guest | December 21, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    It's listed under likes…

    -details quant

  5. Posted by Guest | December 21, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Try reading

  6. Posted by Bored Guest | December 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    I thought the italicized parts had to be Bess' commentary, but I read the article and apparently he really does ask the author to guess how much he got paid, and said "try 10x that number". Who DOES that??

  7. Posted by davidrusso | December 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Saw Nicky T at a roofdeck party about 12 months ago failing miserably to pick up decidedly unimpressed chicks 25 years his junior. Homeboy is built out of playdoh. He couldn't guard bodies at a morgue.

    He is smart, though. In that "I was a failed trader for 20 years then realized I could get people to buy my musings about being a failed trader" sort of way.

  8. Posted by Hobbes | December 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    I don't understand why he dislikes smooth surfaces when you can use that to describe the area between his legs and in front of his asshole.

  9. Posted by Bogarrette | December 21, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    The gooch?

  10. Posted by Missav Sherona | December 21, 2012 at 2:05 PM


  11. Posted by soccer mom | December 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    i dislike soccer moms as well

  12. Posted by Gooman | December 21, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Given his massive bodybuilder-esq apperance, Taleb is confident he will be selected 1st overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.

  13. Posted by Lowly Assistant | December 21, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    [Setting: NY Health & Racquet Club. Nassim is wearing a Marcus Allen LA Raiders mesh jersey cropped at belly button with rosin-coated palms. Anal_yst is wearing mesh lifting gloves with a Gold's Gym A-shirt.]

    Anal_yst: [Jumping rope] Your book was wack, bro.

    Nassim: [Spotting an attractive female] Right, right. Because you're so accomplished.

    Anal_yst: [Puts rope down; approaches Nassim] Swans are for fags, dawg. [Moves towards Elliptical]

    Nassim: [Helps attractive female raise bar] Very mature. Very mature, indeed.

    Anal_yst: [Inputting metrics into machine] Just sayin' man. Swans are pussies. They can't even fly efficiently with the weight that they have. Gay.

    Nassim: [Still spotting attractive female] Such BIG words for a man performing cardiovascular exercises. What can you bench? Ha ha! What…maybe, 25 pounds?

    Anal_yst: [Turns over elliptical; storms towards Nassim, red-faced] TRY TIMES 10, YOU FUCKING BITCH. TRY TIMES 10!

  14. Posted by A girl can dream... | December 21, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    I'm enjoying these posts, and dreaming of a future where no one pays any more attention to this pompous guy.

  15. Posted by I lost mine | December 21, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Wouldn't you have more skin in the game?

  16. Posted by Quant me maybe | December 21, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    If the world does end shortly, I will die knowing he's gone, too.

  17. Posted by Guest | December 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    He seems so different on Louie

  18. Posted by Guest | December 21, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Hey, on "Likes" he left out "myself"

  19. Posted by Sigmud Freud, CFA | December 21, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Clearly his self loathing showing through.

  20. Posted by Lowly Assistant | December 21, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Katie Couric: Nassim…I just want to say that it's a pleasure to sit down with you.

    Nassim: Thanks Katie. Nice to be here!

    Katie: So…I read your book, "Black Swan." Really phenomenal stuff. It really seems to encapsulate just how crazy and random life can be!

    Nassim: It certainly is wild out there, Katie.

    Katie: I'm always so impressed with authors. I know that it takes a lot of time and personal restraint to sit down for months and pen a couple hundred pages.

    Nassim: Well, absolutely. You need focus. You need will-power. You need to really set aside your desires.

    Katie: Does that self-restraint carry into your personal life? Or are you able to shelf it when you're "off the clock?"

    Nassim: No, I'm a pretty focused person. I mean…definitely.

    Katie: Well this is silly, but…you know Pringles? [Giggles] You know [Imitates baritone voice] "Once you pop, you can't stop!" You know that? Well…I mean. C'mon – you couldn't really just have one, right?

    Nassim: Try times 10! [Winks]

    [Both erupt in laughter]

  21. Posted by Incitatus | December 21, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    I generally "have a rough time dealing with an intellectual" that's so very intellectual he can't grasp that most gym folks could bury him in a "Wanna try my workout, Tubby?" challenge.

  22. Posted by LiveStrong | December 21, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    J Gundlach Likes/Dislikes

    Likes: goatees, geniuses (self included), restraints, handcuffs, dildos, glass bottom boats (the urban dictionary variety), hardcore pornos (including 'Hit Er in athe Shitter, Slap Er in the Crapper', 'Creampie Surprise' and 'Big Trouble in Little Vagina'), kittens and puppies.

    Dislikes: TCW, Bill Gross

  23. Posted by Danker_Banker | December 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    the 'nacho'?

  24. Posted by CaucasianpleasE | December 21, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    The sandbar

  25. Posted by LetsBreel | December 21, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Obviously not being truthful. Otherwise "Proofreading" and "Writing concisely and comprehensibly" would be items one and two on the Dislikes list.

  26. Posted by Bored Guest | December 21, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    "People have a hard time dealing just how brilliant & jacked I am."

  27. Posted by Quant me maybe | December 21, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Nicholas Taleb, what Ben Bernake would look like if He were an alcoholic with an emerging meth issue.

  28. Posted by Mrs_Slocombe | December 21, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Humm…Likes: “Pumping” iron, sandals, and “skin” in the game. Dislikes: regular shoes and “fruits” without Greek or Hebrew names….Greek God….sounds like Greek Passport.

  29. Posted by guest | December 21, 2012 at 9:55 PM


  30. Posted by poenis | December 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    No, that's called the "taint." Cause taint dick and taint asshole.

  31. Posted by Guest | December 22, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Huh. Thanks for the etymology lesson.

  32. Posted by HomerSimp | December 22, 2012 at 12:55 AM


  33. Posted by Enlightened | December 24, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Holy shit. Great post!

  34. Posted by Guest | December 24, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    +1 for all the losers here who are waiting for an opening bell that probably won't come

  35. Posted by Bored Guest | December 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    I guess I'll just have to check back tomorrow…

  36. Posted by samo | December 24, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    to unlock the iCelltphone, turn to sucking ones own pen15

  37. Posted by CFA v MBA Fan | December 25, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    So it seems most of NNT's vitriol is reserved for business schools – does this mean that he is a CFA fan or does he sh*t on that designation as well?

    – Guy who didn't read "Fooled…" or "Black Swan"

  38. Posted by bsbuster | December 26, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    he's just an overrated shit trader thinking he is some grand fuck philosopher

  39. Posted by Guest | December 26, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    "Bankers period"

    Sorry PMCO.

  40. Posted by george76 | December 26, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    How much did he make in his tail risk fund after 9/11, the blackest of all swans? Five million? Try times zero.

  41. Posted by JIMBO | December 26, 2012 at 4:54 PM


  42. Posted by Adjudicator | December 28, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Sorry, wrong. There has yet to be a comment thread equal to the original HBCP threads.

  43. Posted by Momo Coats | January 2, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb has devoted his life to problems of uncertainty, probability, and knowledge. He spent two decades as a trader before becoming a philosophical essayist and academic researcher. He will be remembered for years to come

  44. Posted by Momo Maternity Coats | January 2, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    I strongly agree hear hear