Before today, the best Hate List ever made by a pontificating writer was written by the late, great Christopher Hitchens, who once declared that “the four most overrated things in life were champagne, lobsters, anal sex, and picnics.”
Today, we have a new contender for the title courtesy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the Black Swan author, NYU professor, and all-around public intellectual. Taleb’s new book, Antifragile, has been accompanied by a rash of interviews that have, as a side benefit, brought certain details about Taleb’s personal life to light. We’ve learned, for example, that Taleb “avoids fruit that does not have an ancient Greek or Hebrew name and drinks no liquid that has not been in existence for at least 1,000 years.” And that the fiftysomething author considers himself “an intellectual who has the appearance of a bodyguard.”
Now, courtesy of the Chronicle of Higher Education, we have a nearly comprehensive list of the things Taleb cannot stand:
He’s not a fan of social scientists, the Chronicle writes, who he thinks are beset by “petty obsessions, envy, and icy-cold hatreds.” But his distaste for the soft sciences pales in comparison to the other annoyances on his list:
He is, for instance, annoyed by editors who “overedit,” when what they should really do is hunt for typos; unctuous, fawning travel assistants; “bourgeois bohemian bonus earners”; meetings of any kind; appointments of any kind; doctors; Paul Krugman; Thomas Friedman; nerds; bureaucrats; air conditioning; television; soccer moms; smooth surfaces; Harvard Business School; business schools in general; bankers at the Federal Reserve; bankers in general; economists; sissies; fakes; “bureaucrato-journalistic” talk; Robert Rubin; Google News; marketing; neckties; “the inexorable disloyalty of Mother Nature”; regular shoes.
Taleb is also not a fan of profiles about him. After the Chronicle’s writer said he would be writing a profile rather than a Q&A, Taleb stormed off, saying, “Go write fiction then! I haven’t given you enough for a profile anyway!”
I’m assuming blog posts about profiles would fall somewhere between smooth surfaces and Google News.