The Bed of Procrustes - Deepstash
The Bed of Procrustes

The Bed of Procrustes

Nassim Nicholas Taleb



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Narrative Bias: Our Minds Prefer Coherent Stories to Truth

Narrative Bias: Our Minds Prefer Coherent Stories to Truth

Our brains have a natural tendency to create coherent narratives to make sense of the world around us, even if those narratives are not necessarily accurate or complete.

This bias can lead to oversimplification and a failure to appreciate the complexity and randomness of life.


288 reads

Overconfidence: The Illusion of Control

Overconfidence: The Illusion of Control

Overconfidence is a common human trait that can be dangerous, particularly in situations where we have limited control over outcomes.

We often underestimate the role of luck and randomness in our lives, leading us to make bad decisions and take unnecessary risks.


244 reads

Optimization Leads to Fragility

Optimization Leads to Fragility

Seeking theoretical perfection or maximum efficiency often makes things more fragile and prone to disruption in practice.

Overoptimization narrows tolerances, removes redundancies and streamlines away safety nets that provide resilience.

It is better to favor empirically antifragile systems and activities that gain from uncertainty over theoretically optimal but fragile ones.


216 reads

Antifragility: Beyond Resilience

Antifragility: Beyond Resilience

Antifragility means having systems, processes and activities that actually improve when faced with volatility, shocks and stressors. It goes beyond resilience or robustness to exploit uncertainty.

We should engineer and participate in antifragile domains that dynamically learn and strengthen from disorder rather than merely withstand it.


180 reads

"Good Enough" Beats Optimal Illusions

"Good Enough" Beats Optimal Illusions

True optimal solutions are often unknowable in complex domains with many variables. Don't chase fictional best-case scenarios drawn from models and assumptions.

Settle for what empirically seems to work well enough in practice, avoiding overoptimizations.


176 reads

Accept the Gray Areas

Accept the Gray Areas

Seek nuance, avoid false dichotomies. Binary, black-and-white thinking and simplistic models ignore the organic interconnectedness and complexity of the real world.

Appreciate gray areas and overlaps rather than forcing false choices.


169 reads

Plan for Unpredictability

Plan for Unpredictability

Randomness, uncertainty and unpredictability are unavoidable facts of life. Black swan events happen. We cannot accurately forecast or model everything, especially in nonlinear systems.

Accept the limits of prediction and prepare to adapt.


166 reads

Imperfection Enables Antifragility

Imperfection Enables Antifragility

Some errors and guided trial-and-error are necessary features for antifragility. Systems that are overprotected from all shocks and stresses tend to weaken.

Allow imperfection to enable dynamic gains from stressors, learning and evolution.


157 reads

Curiosity Over Optimization

Curiosity Over Optimization

Pursue activities and gather knowledge for their own sake rather than narrow utility. Curiosity, not optimization, is crucial for fulfillment, optionality and avoiding fragility.

Learn broadly guided by interest, not just specialized investment.


159 reads



Engineer in electronics


The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms" is a book written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It was published in 2010 and is a collection of aphorisms, or short philosophical sayings, on topics such as randomness, uncertainty, and human nature. The title of the book refers to the Greek myth of Procrustes, a bandit who would stretch or amputate his captives to fit them to the size of his iron bed. Taleb uses this story as a metaphor for the dangers of forcing people or ideas into predetermined categories or molds.

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