The Bed of Procrustes
Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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In this profound and playful book, Nassim Nicholas Taleb presents his ideas about life in the form of aphorisms, the world's earliest - and most memorable - literary form.
Procrustes was a character from Greek mythology who abducted travellers and invited them to spend the night in a special bed, which they had to fit to perfection. They never did. Those who were too tall had their legs chopped off; those who were too short were stretched.
Every aphorism here is about a Procrustean bed of sorts - we humans, facing the limits of our knowledge, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies and pre-packaged narratives. Only by embracing the unexpected - and accepting what we don't know - can we see the world as it really is.