Great Thinkers You Follow

Title. I don't mean interviewers, I mean people with a perspective.

I'll start:

  • Peter Zeihan: Unique perspective due to his unique background (geopolitical risk strategy consultant) and unique fact gathering apparatus (filtering through local news to find what is actually going on). Not everything he says is true, which comes up when he wanders outside of his lane of expertise, which I only realized when he had a talk about an area that I have expertise in. Nevertheless, his body of knowledge and ability to draw lines between such knowledge is astounding and he is clearly a genius. 
  • Charles Bremmer: Almost like Peter's mirror image. He offers a more conventional perspective on geopolitical topics.
  • Sam Harris
  • Nassim Taleb

A few other more specific to my subsector which I don't want to give to avoid doxxing myself. 

 
boromon

That's inspirational, thanks for sharing link

Sure thing. Brian references the Penn Positive Psychology center every now and then, which is a good resource.

https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/our-mission

My life coach used to teach there at the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program and highly recommends it. I was interested, but didn’t want to pay the tuition.

My sister sent me a year subscription to Heroic under Brian Johnson and it has been good so far. It is basically videos and developing daily positive habits.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 

^^ This is the best comment. Disregard every other statement in this thread (including ones I have made). McCusker is a supreme shaman. He's slowly educating Shane on the shamanic pathway. McCusker is the modern complement to 1980s Terence McKenna. 

All the honorable acknowledge the McDuopoly. No exceptions. 

 

I lost all respect for Sam Harris when I heard him talk about how it was ok for the media to silence the Hunter Biden laptop story at the elections because Donald Trump was a fascist.

Here's a guy telling us about "objective morality" yet this conclusion sounds pretty totalitarian. Very scary if you think about it a little deeper.

Reminds me a lot of atheist communist regimes who didn't believe in God but believed in shutting down and sending to the gulag anyone who disagreed with their ojbectively good worldview. Why does this stuff always tend to head for this direction....it is not intellectual. It is a worldview that whatever comes to my mind is objectively correct, anyone who disagrees is wrong, and I am God of morality and all right / wrong.

 

It heads that way because it is the natural progression of a world view where your "intellectual superiority" means that you simply know more.  Becuase you know more you therefore should be put in charge and be able to direct the lives of everyone else.  Because you can make decisions for everyone else you must be a more capeable person and therefore should be put in charge of more things.  The cycle simply repeats itself until you have deluded yourself into thinking that you should control everything for everyone all the time. 

 

I don’t care about the Biden stuff at all but it seems like Sam Harris stopped being relevant like 7 years ago. It seems like he’s shot himself in the foot enough times in the public eye that people don’t take him seriously anymore, which I think is a plus. He’s usually ranting about generic skeptic stuff and then saying “free will doesn’t exist” and then recusing himself from having to deal any of the logical progressions of that argument (such as ramifications for the justice system, educational system, etc.) The only people I know that find any of his musings remotely useful do so as it relates to the academic practice of philosophy, not related to any real-world consequences or professional fields of practice. For someone with as much education as he has, I would’ve expected him to continue being a reasonable voice in politics/culture, but he seems to just continue holier-than-thou dunking on Republicans (which is easy these days) and religious people

 

He has said hundreds of fucking brain dead shit like this.   The ironic part is it took Trump for people to realize that much of what Harris said before that was just as fucking stupid.  People just didn't really look into what he was actually saying before that. 

 

I really like Zeihan. Although, as you said, when he is outside his realm, he talks out his ass. Don’t we all? Still, his mind operates on a level mine may never achieve.

Malcolm Gladwell is great! Jared Diamond is awesome. Sam Harris is sharp and was already mentioned. Daniel Kahneman is brilliant but some of his work is scrutinized—I guess that is true with everyone on this list.

 

I find Taleb to be insufferable, but maybe that's just me...

Personally I have really been getting into Aristotle lately, right now reading Nicomachean Ethics along with the Cambridge Introduction. Good stuff.

After that probably going to spend some time on Nietzsche.

 

Taleb is definitely a person that could be described as insufferable, but unfortunately (or fortunately), he seems to actually be correct most of the time (it’s been a while since I’ve listened to many interviews with him/read his books, so I could be wrong). Personally, I’d rather hear helpful statements from an annoying person than counterproductive ones from a pleasant one. Also, I know Skin in the Game and Fooled By Randomness are often in recommended reading lists, but they seem to travel down a winding path of statistics, and I was bored with SITG after reading ~50% (maybe that’s a good ratio after all, better than being a total dud). I don’t think it should be required reading for traders (quant or not). Could make for a cool discussion piece, but I don’t think it’s an irreplaceable “canon work” for many professional fields.

 

Ugh, I think Taleb is a hack.  He had one interesting idea and now repackages it every couple years in new wrapping paper and pretends it is some kind of new insight.  And every time, he dilutes the premise and makes it clear that maybe he doesn't actually fully understand his initial insight.  That, or he's just grubbing for more money - either way, hard to respect him as a "thinker" instead of a popular author, and in that case, why not Sue Grafton?

 
trying_my_best

makes it clear that maybe he doesn't actually fully understand his initial insight

Elaborate?

Well, either he thinks all these "new" "ideas" are originals, in which case I'd argue he doesn't get that he's just rehashing the same points over and over again in different wrapping paper, or he does know that (which I am 99% sure is the case) and this is all just an attempt to make a lot more money by publishing the same book over and over again and hoping people continue to buy it.

And while I haven't read any of his work since Antifragile, my recollection was that he doesn't really propose any practicable solutions to the problems he identifies.  It is all very well to say "we need a society/system/whatever that is capable of adapting to and evolving in response to black swan events," but he never actually describes what that society looks like.  Or if he has, I hope someone will tell me, because I don't remember reading it.  Nor does he really engage with the counterpoint, which is that a system which is designed to deal efficiently with 99% of situations but which fails miserably 1% of the time may actually be superior to one which deals inefficiently with 99.99% of situations but effectively never fails catastrophically.  The shortsightedness of the human component of it, in other words, is a feature and not a bug

 

Scott Galloway is a hack.

He attracts you in with his snark, biting commentary, and humorous delivery. But the longer you stay you realize he is pretty deluded, and ultimately shouldnt try to make a living giving out life advice when his life itself has been a self admitted depressed mess. Some things that quickly realized with him:

- Hard on about tech, will make good points and then relentlessly hammer them home as if it's his own personal mission to see Google, Facebook/Meta, etc. fail. Think this stems from some kind of insecurity and messiah complex which he is ripe with 

- Extremely narrow minded on path to success. The ONLY way to fulfillment is go to the best brand school you can get into, move to a tier 1 city, work 60+ hours in tech/consulting/banking/other prestige path, marry late, etc. and this may all pay off in 20 years trust me. He has horrible blinders and lives in a bubble (more on that next) so this is really the only walk of life he is exposed to as a NYU professor, and maybe only walk of life he has been exposed to for quite some time. 

- That bubble I mentioned? Again comes out with every writing piece he does. Cant discuss the latest tech acquisition or retail merger without hamfisting the latest puff piece buzzwords from a recent New York Times op ed. Whether it's about how all of his success is because he is a white male (lol what), holding 'January 6th' up as a cultural 9/11 (wait I thought this guy was a business professor), or more ramblings about how middle america is a bigoted wasteland - all coming across as smug and smarmy as possible. 

- Above all, a hypocrit on value of education. Getting lectured on the importance of a good college education in terms of ROI from a NYU professor of all places is like being told the value of having your own vacation spot from a time share salesman. Dude is part of the problem, but lacks the fortitude to really critically address the one small part of the world he has direct influence over

Sexy writing style. Shallow content.

 

Understand your comments entirely but I still enjoy maybe one out of every five podcasts he releases, which isn’t a terrible ratio. He occasionally takes risks with new talking points but lately it’s been too much of the “young people will never buy a house” trope which we’ve all heard plenty of already

 
MonkeyNoise

- Above all, a hypocrit on value of education. Getting lectured on the importance of a good college education in terms of ROI from a NYU professor of all places is like being told the value of having your own vacation spot from a time share salesman. Dude is part of the problem, but lacks the fortitude to really critically address the one small part of the world he has direct influence over

Sexy writing style. Shallow content.

I've never listened to or read the guy, but claiming that NYU is the higher education equivalent of a timeshare is pretty obviously inaccurate, and if the cracks of bias in your argument are showing this badly, then maybe the rest of it is equally jaundiced.

 

Seconding Scott Galloway, but the hit rate for his recent podcasts has been ~20% for me lately. I feel like he’s hammered the point about the generational divide problems enough, and I enjoy his discussions about specific business problems, marketing case studies, and operating recommendations more than economic rants about how young people can’t buy homes nowadays (which is somewhat of a problem, but it’s taken over much more airtime than it deserves IMO)

 
indegobanana

That in itself, is a great thought.

“For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Lk 14:11) 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 
AdjectiveNounNumber01

Somewhat related to this thread, I think biographies can be pretty interesting reads. The latest Walter Isaacson biography about Elon is very well written and worth a purchase

I just bought this recently, but haven’t read it yet.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee