Aphorisms from Taleb

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After reading Black Swan  & Antifragile, I have become a Taleb fanatic.  He is truly an original thinker among modern writers. For fast readers who expect to get the gist of book in few hours, Taleb may not be their favorite. His writing style shows his erudition that beautifully mixes some fictitious story telling coupled with his autobiographical vignettes. But the best part is his witty aphorisms he throws all over in his Incerto series. So it was easy for him to publish a book of just aphorisms called The bed of Procrustes. This is probably the only book of Taleb, that I could complete in a day. I took more than 2 weeks to complete Black Swan or Anti Fragile, but during those times I was glued to every line of his writing. Below are some of my favorite aphorisms from Bed of Procrustes,
An Erudite is someone who displays less than he knows, a journalist or consultant, the opposite
If your anger  decreases with time, you did injustice, and if it increases, you suffered injustice
Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment
The fastest  way to become rich is to socialize with poor, and the fastest way to become poor is to socialize with the rich
Nothing is more permanent than “temporary” arrangements, deficits, truces & relationships; and nothing is more temporary than “permanent” ones
Wisdom in the young is as unattractive as frivolity in the elderly
The book is the only medium left that hasn’t been corrupted by the profane: everything else on your eyelids manipulates you with an ad.
Karl Marx, a visionary ,figured out that you can control a slave much better by convincing him he is an employee
People focus on role models; it is more effective to find antimodels – people you don’t  want to resemble when you grow up.
Failure of second-order thinking: he tells you a secret and somehow expects you to keep it, when he just gave you evidence that he can’t keep it himself
Only in recent history has “working hard” signaled pride rather than shame for lack of talent, finesse and mostly ,sprezzatura
It is much dangerous to think like a man of action than to act like a man of thought
Almutanabbi boasted that he was the greatest of all Arab poets, but he said so in the greatest of all Arab poems
We are satisfied with natural (or old) objects like vistas or classical paintings but insatiable with technologies, amplifying small improvements in versions, obsessed about 2.0, caught in mental treadmill
People often need to suspend their self promotion and have someone in their lives they do not need to impress. This explains dog ownership
Robust is when you care more about the few who like your work than the multitude who dislike it (artists); fragile when you care more about the few who dislike your work than the multitude who like it (politicians)
Just as smooth surfaces, competitive sports and specialized work fossilize mind and body, competitive academia fossilizes soul
Knowledge is subtractive, not additive – what we subtract ( reduction by what does not work, what not to do), not what we add ( what to do)
Love without sacrifice is like theft
What organized dating sites fail to understand is that people are far more interesting in what they don’t say about themselves
You know you have influence when people start noticing your absence more than the presence of others
Journalists as reverse aphorists:my statement “you need skills to get a BMW, skills plus luck to become a Warren Buffet” was summarized as “ Taleb says Buffet has no skills”
The curious mind embraces science; the gifted and sensitive , the art ; the practical ,business; the leftover becomes an economist

Seattle to Portland cycling 2015 - Reflections

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What is the purpose of doing such painful long rides? Cycling is my passion but these long rides were pushing beyond my limit sometimes. This question keeps popping in my mind either during the long training training  under hot sun or during the lonely riding moments in STP.  The last 80 miles of the 206 miles STP ride , was purely a mind game. Something deep inside me gave me that strength to keep going.  So definitely, the answer to my question was beyond the endorphins or runners’ high – these experiences provided acute stressors that helped me test my limits of body and mind.  On 11th July, second year in succession, along with fellow riders we started biking to Portland
Last year STP experience was tough because of the weather, the temperature shot up to 103 Fahrenheit, the hottest day in Washington. But this year, the weather gods were so kind enough to have one of the most pleasant days to ride with some occasional showers.  But for the love of adventure, this year I met with some unexpected mechanical failures in my bike –  a flat tire ayourphotot the 110th mile. My fix a flat trainings helped me to get going within 10 minutes. But the toughest one came at 120th mile hill climb after Winlock, when the chain and rear gear derailleur broke. One of my goals this year was to complete STP in a day, and this mechanical failure posed a challenge of just an STP finish. One of the passing cars helped me to take my bike back to Winlock pit stop, where Performance Bike had a shack to help the fellow bikers.  A huge thanks to Performance Bike, who helped in changing a new chain and do a temporary fix for my gear derailleurs. But the real problem now was I can no longer shift gears and it would stay on the middle gear throughout. Getting a new derailleur was not possible at that moment. It was 3.30pm and I had lost about 45minutes in fixing the bike. With a single gear and another 86 miles to go, the hills and various climbs in the rest of the route were my real test. For the lost time and the problems with my bike, I made a choice to not stop longer in any of the stops for the rest of the 80+ miles.  I averaged at 12-13 miles per hour for the rest of the day ( this is definitely slower compared to the 18-19 miles per hour speed I averaged in the first 100 miles), but had a total of only 20 minutes stop time and I kept pedaling most of the time at a steady pace. So really the lack of gear shifting and time / speed loss was still manageable with a steady pace and very low resting time to reach the finish line at Portland.  When I reached Portland , it was 10.20 PM and my legs were arguably more soar than the last year finish because of the additional efforts on the bike , but the one day rider badge, given at the finish line, made me forget all the pain in my body.
With the help of friends and family members this year as well we were able to raise about 1000 USD for a charity organization - Asha for Education (Including matching by corporates).  Last year I worked with a different NGO called Isha Vidhya, which is still one of my favorite NGOs making changes in my home country.  I had trained with bunch of other folks in Seattle who support Asha for Education, and hence a change in the charity this year. 
My heartfelt thanks to all the friends and family members who supported me in this years biking journey to Portland by contributing generously to Asha for Education. Your support definitely would make a difference. 
Looking forward to another biking season in 2016.