Taleb, more BS

When I made a post a few weeks about Taleb being called out on his BS, I was not cherry picking, but rather this habitual on the part of Taleb.

So a few days ago, Coinbase announced its IPO, valuing the cryptocurrency exchange, founded in 2012, at around $60-80 billion.

Taleb retweeted approvingly a tweet by Peter Schiff (whose predictions have all been wrong and whose investment ideas have produced terrible returns, and yet for some reason is very popular) that the founders and early investors of Coinbase had sold almost the entirety of their stake after it had gone public on unsuspecting investors, who are left ‘holding the bag.’ Taleb calls this ‘reverse skin in the game’.

In the comments, people were quick the point out that Taleb and Schiff had egregiously misinterpreted the data. The purported sales represent a small fraction of the total shares owned by said individuals. Founder and CEO Brian Armstrong only sold 2% of his $14 billion stake, not 70% as purported by Taleb and Schiff.


So Taleb gets called out yet again for spreading bullshit. This is not even subjective but rather an outright misconstruction of the data. Does Taleb fess up? No, he doubles down, as the left tends to do when confronted for being wrong.


This post is especially interesting and revealing because it offers a glimpse into how much wealth Taleb has, which has always been shrouded in mystery even though one can reasonably infer he is wealthy, but now we have a way of estimating an actual figure. Some Googling shows Taleb as of 2011 sold 3 million copies of his bestseller The Black Swan, probably by far the most successful of his 4 books. So I estimate he sold a combined 7 million books, maybe 5 million of them being The Black Swan. If his books retail for $20 and the he gets a 10% cut, which is the industry average, then he probably made at least $14 million, for a total net worth of $90 million, altough this is a very crude estimate and assumes no large expenses. It may also explain why Taleb has so much resentment it seems against the ultrawealthy and dismisses billionaires as not having skin in the game or as being crony capitalists, and doesnt count Coinbase astrue capitalismortrue entrepreneurism’ (even though Coinbase was funded 100% by private money), because even though Taleb is very wealthy, he is not among the upperupper crust, so I am guessing there is some envy and resentment.

Much of class warfare in America is the .1-1% vs. the <.001% , not the 99% vs 1% as the media tries to frame it. For example Bernie Sanders is rich, but not among the top .001%, and, similar to Taleb, much of Sanders’ rhetoric is directed against the ultra-wealthy, whose wealth is ill-gotten and does not count as ‘true capitalism’, but, in invoking Marx, Taleb and Sanders are in agreement that billionaire wealth must be attributable to exploitation of some form. 

Envy can also explain Taleb’s constant attacks on academia, Nobel Prize recipients, and economists, becase Taleb is covertly desirous of their success and recognition that he himself was never able to attain. Taleb attacks academia, but admits that he has actually tried to get his work on Covid published in peer-reviewed journals, so evidently being recognized beyond his large and loyal but otherwise average-IQ Twitter following, does matter to him.  Taleb was never able to achieve any aclaim by academia, such as in top-ranked journals (instead of bottom-ranked ones that will accept almost anything for a fee), for his ‘black swan theory’ and other concepts, not becase there is a conspiracy against him or heterodox ideas as he claims, but becase his ideas are unoriginal and his quality of his scholarly work is just, overall, poor. He takes ideas that are already known or quaint and repackages them as PDF pre-prints rendered with Mathematica, which, juding by his sucess as a writer and on Twitter, this is good enough to have a career as public intellectual and convey the outward appearance of being a ‘really smart person’ to someone who has never seen an integral before, but insufficient, not surprisingly, to win over journal editors.  This is much like Taleb boasting about his 300-pound deadlift personal record, which to someone who has never lifted or knows anything about weightlifting, is an impressively large number, but is otherwise a quantifiably mediocre lift.