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Publisher's Summary

By the author of the modern classic The Black Swan, this collection of aphorisms and meditations expresses his major ideas in ways you least expect.

The Bed of Procrustes takes its title from Greek mythology: the story of a man who made his visitors fit his bed to perfection by either stretching them or cutting their limbs. It represents Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s view of modern civilization’s hubristic side effects - modifying humans to satisfy technology, blaming reality for not fitting economic models, inventing diseases to sell drugs, defining intelligence as what can be tested in a classroom, and convincing people that employment is not slavery.

Playful and irreverent, these aphorisms will surprise you by exposing self-delusions you have been living with but never recognized. With a rare combination of pointed wit and potent wisdom, Taleb plows through human illusions, contrasting the classical values of courage, elegance, and erudition against the modern diseases of nerdiness, philistinism, and phoniness.

©2010 Nassim Nicholas Taleb (P)2010 Gildan Media Corp

Critic Reviews

“[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne.” ( The Wall Street Journal)
The most prophetic voice of all.” ( GQ)
"Idiosyncratically brilliant.” ( Los Angeles Times)

What listeners say about The Bed of Procrustes

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Better Read than Listened to

Read the notice at the front of the book; the author clearly recommends that you only read 4 aphorisms at a time and in a random sequence. I should have followed that advice. Instead I listened to the whole book in one sitting, while driving, and could barely remember a single aphorisms by the end of the book. Every aphorism is such a dense encapsulation of wisdom, not unlike haiku poetry, that you need to mull over them rather than listen to the whole lot in succession. I am already a fan of Taleb's writing and therefore predisposed to highly recommend the book, just not in audible form, and I will swap it for a print version instead.

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  • A
  • 25-08-2011

Read this one

Awesome book with thought provoking insights. Well read with clear audio. I enjoyed listening to this book but then went out and bought a hard copy. Each aphorism is captivating in its own way. Each sentence is its own story. To plow through them in a non-stop narrative means that a lot will be missed. To truly benefit from this work, you need to read it slowly. The optimal way to absorb this book would be to have a hard copy at the bedside and read just a few aphorisms each night.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Reich
  • 30-07-2012

Buy the BOOK

While this a good listen and full of little wisdoms, you'll want the hard bound book near your desk as a reference piece. I can see using many of these aphorisms as quotes in presentations. Lots of great stuff hear but better in book form.

8 people found this helpful

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  • T. Combs
  • 24-10-2012

Big Taleb fan? You'll like it. Otherwise, pass.

Where does The Bed of Procrustes rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Somewhere in the middle. It's a short listen, so I don't feel like I wasted my time or money, but I have to admit that it's my least favorite of his three books. *That said, I loved his other two books, and only like this one. So saying it's my least favorite isn't a harsh indictment of it.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The entire book is aphorisms. Just short, little, sentences about observations Taleb has made. Some are really insightful, some are pretty stupid.

Which scene was your favorite?

Really insightful:
"For the robust, an error is information; for the fragile, an error is an error."

Pretty stupid:
"Never say 'no' twice."

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Check out the preview. If you like it, there's lots more just like it. If you don't, then save your credit. I think this book will divide between "like it a lot" and "wow that's dumb." I am in the first camp; my wife in the latter.

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  • Chris
  • 30-07-2012

Buy the BOOK

While this a good listen and full of little wisdoms, you'll want the hard bound book near your desk as a reference piece. I can see using many of these aphorisms as quotes in presentations. Lots of great stuff hear but better in book form.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Guilherme
  • 01-07-2012

Taleb is a polarizer. I'll will love or hate him.

I can understand why some people just don't get what Taleb is talking about.

He is most known for preaching about the dangers if black swans. But in opposition to modern writings about risk management or economy, he doesn't offer any complex mathematical models (he doesn't offer any equations by the way), and he does not present the reader with a quick guide about how NOT the get in a big mess you will regret.

Taleb on the other hand takes a very philosophical posture, advising the reader to think about the problem how it really is, and not how we wish it to be (platonicity). And I'm sure many people find disturbing that they won't find straight answers in his books.

stick it to the Man: He is one of the few authors I've read that defies the system and authorities openly says what he thinks are wrong with the whole, in a healthy way. If that is even possible. As himself puts in The Black Swan, When someone asks him does he manage to cross a street being so much risk adverse,he replies that everyone must cross dangerous streets sometimes, but at least he won't do it BLINDFOLDED.

After re-reading my review I realize that my review is not just about this book but all his books as a whole. I recommend reading them all, the Bed of Proscrutes being a good summary of his ideas of the Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness

1 person found this helpful

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  • Samuel
  • 26-06-2012

Good aphorisms but nothing BUT aphorisms

Any additional comments?

This book has no story to it at ALL. It's rather a collection of different 1-2 sentence assertions (aphorisms). It was lots of fun to read, but lacks any sort of storyline.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Al
  • 07-05-2011

Excellent

This book has some words of wisdom that will make you think and perhaps make you a little bit wiser as well. We try to make complex situations fit in some of our pre concieved notions and in our arrogance and lack of humility leads use to chaotic results.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Slam Bones
  • 05-01-2011

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, I love this guys no BS outlook on life, and admire the Genius. My only complaint is that it was not narrated by Mr. Taleb. It's not the Black Swan, but almost equally entertaining, if he had read it.

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  • Daniel Brenner
  • 02-05-2020

Powerful

I was initially concerned that the length of this book would mean it would contain less content than Taleb's other work. This was not the case! This title was jam-packed full of Taleb magic, a lot of it basic truths that I will benefit from encountering. And of course, the main point, the idea of the bed of Procrustes, was worth the price of admission. Bravo Taleb!

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  • Jake
  • 03-01-2020

I recommend getting this as a physical book

The review requires fifteen words but the title is sufficient. Taleb is an excellent author.

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  • Judy Corstjens
  • 31-10-2013

Fooled by poetry and neat rhetoric

I don't think anybody (pace Oscar Wilde) can write one and a half hours of aphorisms and expect to stay witty, likeable and credible. Mr Taleb ends up sounding rather up-his-own-bum, and, sometimes, just silly. He really doesn't like employment contracts (AKA wage slavery) or people who criticise his writing, and he is overly fond of sounding arty and noble and intellectual. Some of it is funny, and some of it is clever, but most of it just reveals to the reader (sorry, listener) the personality (and personality flaws) of the author. I loved Fooled by Randomness and Black Swan, which is why I tried this book, and I would recommend reading (or re-reading) those rather than trying this.

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  • Nuno
  • 22-12-2018

Take one aphorism a day

Very good read and I mean the "read" literally, since an audible book is not the ideal format for aphorisms. This should be read at your own pace. I'm definitely going to buy the printed version.

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  • Amazon Kunde
  • 11-11-2020

Best time investment one can make

Clear recording of clear observations from a clear thinker. The accuracy of the aforisms may improve your blood pressure as well.

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  • Gavin Foely
  • 24-04-2020

Quip filled

Enlightening and, in places, chortle inducing. I deduct one start for the awful introductory music.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-12-2019

A book without narrative

I can listen to it on loop. If you are looking for short and insightful quotes that can change your perspective on life... this is it

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  • Al
  • 12-11-2017

Wonderful selection of bite sized nuggets

Little delicacies of thought, insight and reflection. Not all are the same taste. some are bitter, some crunchy and others with the sweet flowing caramel centre.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-10-2017

Tells you more about the author, than the world.

Like I said. Also don't read this if you're a self conscious economist. It won't be fun

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  • Sam
  • 12-02-2017

talebbian wisdom shared in its most pithy purity

a beautiful and oftentimes humorous set of aphorisms that are sure to inspire and amuse those who read (or hear) them

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  • Miriam
  • 18-03-2012

Fun!

Definitely a fun book. Easy on the ear and can actually provide some good talking points to develop with teenage grandsons. I know 'cause I have ;)
My grandson, aged 14, and I spent at least 3 hours on the road every Sunday. This has been a wonderful way of introducing some interesting debates as opposed to what happened previously where either he or I grind our teeth at frustration on the others' choice of music.

1 person found this helpful

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