T Nation

The PWI Required Reading List


Just for fun, did you guys see this?
Thriller, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson is getting some good reviews.
I rarely read anything in the thriller, political intrigue genre. Of course, nobody could have the details to write a fictional president like someone who has actually been the president.

From his fictional president, “Our democracy cannot survive it’s current downward drift into tribalism, extremism, and seething resentment.” Amen, President Clinton.


I’ve head it’s very good.


No way, I’m with the metoo movement.


Have y’all seen this?


This is fantastic. Good find.


Expect JBP lists Pinker.

Pinker. Ugh.


I can’t read Pinker. #teamNasim


@loppar @dchris

I’ve only read a couple articles by Pinker, mainly heard him speak and a few interviews (which tbh he’s a terrible speaker and terrible interviewer imo)

What do you guys find wrong with his writing?


Well, in order to avoid writing a wall of text you can check out the spectacular Taleb vs Pinker feud. If valid arguments debunking Pinker’s statistics peppered with copious amount of Taleb’s insults such as “non-deadlifting chinless asshole” are too tiresome, then I suggest reading John Gray’s takedowns of Pinker.


Gracias … I’ll sift through them


John Gray is marvellous. His column in the Newstatesman is required reading.


Moving this conversation to books.

@ Taleb and Pinker

I haven’t read Taleb yet, and I know some of you guys really like him. @loppar and @dchris, what would be the best place to start with Taleb?

I read the John Gray critiques of Steven Pinker that you put up @loppar. Thank you. In that first link, he’s talking about Pinker’s newest book, Enlightenment Now, which I haven’t read, so I can’t really speak to that. There’s some overlap in topics, but as I mentioned, I’m starting with The Blank Slate and it’s a great read, IMO.

There are ongoing hot debates within that field, (the anthropology of war), and Pinker covers a lot of that in Blank Slate, but the points covered in Gray’s reviews there are only a very, very small fraction of the ideas in The Blank Slate. The book covers a lot of ground in cognitive science, evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics. WAY more in there than anthropology of war stuff.

You can read Pinker arguing back and forth with people in his field, but most of us aren’t going to know enough to take a stance on these arguments.

It’s heavy reading for me. Lots of science and philosophy.

Here’s one discussion, if you’re interested.



@ My Taleb Question.

I knew we’d talked about him before. I remember looking at Black Swan, and I read a couple of essays by him, but I think I got distracted with other things.


I started with Anti-Fragile, but probably best to start with Fooled By Randomness>Black Swan>Anti-Fragile-Skin in the Game. His books build upon each other, which he calls the incerto*.

He also has a blog on Medium.


I’m sure you pointed me to his blog in another thread. I remember reading a few essays there. Thanks, Chris.


I believe I linked this for you months(year ago?).


Isn’t what he’s talking about similar to Gaetano Mosca’s elite theory? Which itself borrowed elements from the Pareto principle.


Yes. That’s it. We were talking about strange economics, where the minority of people end up deciding what’s in the store. That kind of thing. Thank you.


Kinda… The elite theory is that the elite control the world. NNT’s Minority Rule doesn’t limit it to one minority (the rich). An example: if Muslims and Jews do not eat non-kosher food, and they represent X% of the population, then you are limiting your market to 100% - X% = Y. It’s cost effective and simple to produce food that is kosher and place a small insignia notating ‘kosher’. In effect, the minority, or X%, has dictated the practice of thousands of businesses. He goes into many more other examples as wel.


Excellent book.