Our Top Economists: Plaster-Vagina Enthusiasts, Cavemen


After meeting last year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern Business School professor Nouriel "Dr. Doom" Roubini and Black Swan author Nassim Taleb became fast friends, bonding, we hear, over the distinction of being two of the first people to call the crash, a fondess for Julia Allison, and the fact that "they're both horny Semites." They're also both rather exceptionally flamboyant: Roubini has a loft decorated with plaster vaginas, was recently photographed freaking Gwen Stefani, and once, we are told, removed his shirt at a holiday party for his company, RGE Monitor, in order to reveal an "insane quantity of body hair." Taleb, for his part, is apparently a bit of a dandy and a practicing "New Age Caveman" — though he prefers you to use the Latin term, according to yesterday's Times.

Mr. Taleb, who rejects the label “caveman” in favor of “paleo,” avoids offices (including his own) as much as he can. He prefers to think on the go. Dressed in a tweed coat and Italian loafers, this paleo man is a flâneur, sometimes walking miles a day, ranging from SoHo to 86th Street.

These are two of our top economic minds, by the way. But as Felix Salmon, the Reuters columnist who used to work for Roubini and recently posted a picture of himself in a fuchsia suit sitting astride a yoga ball, pointed out to us: "Just because you're a serious person, it shouldn't mean you have to be boring."

The New Age Cavemen and the City [NYT]