I'm liking Nassim Nicholas Taleb more and more

I've been following him on Twitter, and now I found this:
What's a IYI?

Intellectual Yet Idiot: semi-erudite bureaucrat who thinks he is an erudite; pathologizes others for doing things he doesn't understand not realizing it is his understanding that may be limited; imparts normative ideas to others: thinks people should act according to their best interests *and* he knows their interests, particularly if they are uneducated "red necks" or English non-crisp-vowel class.

More socially: subscribes to the New Yorker; never curses on twitter; speaks of "equality of races" and "economic equality" but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver; has considered voting for Tony Blair; has attended more than 1 TEDx talks and watched more than 2 TED talks; will vote for Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison because she seems electable; has The Black Swan on his shelves but mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence; is member of a club to get traveling privileges; if social scientist uses statistics without knowing how they are derived; when in the UK goes to literary festivals; drinks red wine with steak (never white); used to believe that fat was harmful and has now completely reversed; takes statins because his doctor told him so; fails to understand ergodicity and when explained forgets about it soon later; doesn't use Yiddish words; studies grammar before speaking a language; has a cousin who worked with someone who knows the Queen; has never read Frederic Dard, Michael Oakeshot, John Gray, or Joseph De Maistre; has never gotten drunk with Russians and went breaking glasses; doesn't know the difference between Hecate and Hecuba; doesn't know that there is no difference between "pseudointellectual" and "intellectual"; has mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in the past 5 years; knows at any point in time what his words or actions are doing to his reputation.

But a much easier marker: doesn't deadlift.
I especially like this one: "speaks of 'equality of races' and 'economic equality' but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver": I always love being lectured on racism by white liberals who have known about five black people in their lives, each of whom had a graduate degree. I always want to take them into the illegal, after-hours hip-hop club in Sunset Park I was in at 5 AM a few months ago, and watch them shit themselves.

Hat-tip to Leslie Marsh.


  1. I've recently learned that I fit much of this description. Next time I'm in New York, if I say something dumb about race will you take me to, hopefully figuratively, shit myself.