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October 12, 2006

G. K. Chesterton on the nature of life


"Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait."

This observation should be written above the entrance to every hedge fund's headquarters.

In a nutshell Chesterton explains why it is that positions blow up.

My version, used to explain to anesthesiology residents why it is that I want them to focus on the patient in front of them rather than the bank of monitors to the side: "Machines will always break your heart."

You could do far worse with the next few minutes of your time and life than explore the website of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Dean's Professor in the Sciences of Uncertainty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who understands just how fundamental are the forces that simply refuse to play by the rules.

October 12, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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will buy this book

Posted by: stephen charney | Oct 23, 2006 12:35:13 PM

Another lesson of the Amaranth blow-up is that a 1929-like crisis can happen once more! :-(

Posted by: Pascal.Boulerie | Oct 12, 2006 4:33:23 PM

The book is marvelous, if you haven't read it -- heavy sledding in a few spots but you *will* walk around seeing things differently in its wake.

Posted by: AG | Oct 12, 2006 4:12:58 PM

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