While his points regarding the failure of statisticians to accept that sometimes markets can't be modeled and trying to do so is futile makes total sense to me, his talk of using OTM options to profit from fat-tail events is nothing new, and completely ignores how options are actually priced. You'd think the author of Dynamic Hedging (a great way to learn options, actually) would understand the volatility frown/smile and skew. If his thesis was really right you could just buy highly levered front and back spreads simultaneously (a "W" shape R/R profile) and let play those forever, hoping to eventually cash in on a tail event. I'll save you the trouble, the back tests (post '87 crash, when fat tails began being priced in) don't exactly show this one to be a big winner. You'd also think a statistician would understand (less than) zero-sum games. Finally, you'd would hope someone with that much education in financial markets to have at least some vague inkling of the concept of value and value creation/extraction/destruction. He could learn a thing or two about that Pettis article I linked yesterday.
Then there is his wanna-be philosopher, Roubini-humping act; it's getting really old. The reality of it is that he's a washed-up trader working in academics and trying to ride Roubini's coat-tails. I may find Roubini insufferable, but he's a smart man that makes great, insightful points, even if I disagree sometimes. Roubini is also trying to, in addition to making money, make a difference and point-out problems, purportedly so we can fix them. What the fuck does Taleb bring to the table? He's just another asshole trying to make a dollar off of your labor. Go on SSRN and search his name and see what you come up with. Look at his twitter, where he tests out his "aphorisms/epigrams." and then try to figure out where he's adding value to the chain. Just look at these examples:
BusinessBookReaders with my prose are like deaf persons in a Puccini opera: they may like a thing or two while wondering "what's the point?"Aha! How witty, that philosophical truth! C'mon. Taleb is a philosopher in the same way the drunk sophomore at some college bar trying to diagnose you is a psychologist. The difference being that the drunk girl intents to actually continue her education and will one day probably be a real psychologist. Taleb will never be a philosopher, he's just a philistine looking for money and attention. You know how it's just so-easy to roll your eyes at The Tipping Point and think "congratulations on learning about exponential growth curves"? Nassim Taleb is basically the Malcom Gladwell of his genre--which gets a little circular when you consider Outliers is just a rehash of the same ideas in The Black Swan, which is basically just a really long "Accept the possibility that what you know may be wrong and or incomplete."
The characteristic feature of the loser is to bemoan mankind's flaws, biases, & irrationality --without exploiting them for fun and profit.
Stimulus w/ deficit, even if effective, is as immoral as borrowing from your grandchildren (without asking them) to repay your gambling debt
You will be civilized the day you can spend time doing nothing, learning nothing, & improving nothing, without feeling slightest guilt.
Real philosophers require only long walks to figure out what mere people need crises, accidents, serial bailouts, & calamities to understand
Finally, I'm just going to quote Falkenstein, who's risk/return paper should should have read at least three times by now:
Gee, someone should write a book about blow-hard traders who misrepresent their track records and take excessive risk with other-people's money, all due to cognitive biases they are too shallow to notice in themselves. Oh yeah, Taleb has done that! I guess his insider status gives him better insight.Look, I could go on about how insufferable I find this man for another 500 words, but I'll summarize it: He's a man that doesn't give a fuck about progress; therefore I no longer give a fuck what he has to say.