Following the schedule of our reading calendar.
We are presented here with a short literary presentation of two characters already known from previous books: Nero Tulip and Fat Toni. The first is probably a kind of Nassim’s alter ego with a lot of coincidences in their lives and characters. The second, Fat Toni, represents the essence of a man of action in Taleb’s sense of the word. Somehow Fat Toni is a kind of guy and personality that Taleb admires although is completely out of reach to him.
Both guys, coming from two universes, have understood the basic game going on: suckers that don’t understand the non-predictability of our world will loose all their money. Each one has arrived to this understanding from different ways: one from erudite comprehension of the subject, the other by everyday life experience.
The text is full of deep reflections that show emotional turbulence in Taleb’s (everybody’s?) life:
To Nero one should first warn people that they are suckers, while Tony was against the very notion of warning. “You will be ridiculed,” he said; “words are for sissies.” (…) These people won’t give you and your ideas respect unless you take their money. (p. 148)
There is another dimension to the need to focus on actions and avoid words: the health-eroding dependence on external recognition. People are cruel and unfair in the way they confer recognition, so it is best to stay out of that game. (p. 148)