Taleb on Memory

Memory is more of a self-serving dynamic revision machine: you remember the last time you remembered the event and, without realizing it, change the story at every subsequent remembrance. [The Black Swan, pg. 71]

What a lovely surprise, that TBS has nuggets of writing inspiration scattered throughout the philosophy, history, and economics. As a good friend noted, the best book is one you have to put down and savor, which is why it’s taking me so long to get through TBS … it’s just packed full of yummy thinkies.

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3 responses to “Taleb on Memory

  1. It’s the difference between reading for depth and reading for surface, NTTAWWT. The best books are the ones that make you go, hey I never thought of that before, and off you go into a reverie. Those ones stay with you, while the page-turners are all pretty much interchangeable.

    The first book I remember making me put the book down to wander off into my thoughts was The Unbearable Lightness. Up to then I’d been reading to tick the boxes, either for study or to cut the notches on the bedpost sort of thing.

    But good books are like crack: if they don’t deliver a hit right away, and I allow for 50 pages, then I’m going to another supplier. One you’ve tasted it, you can’t go back.

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  2. This black swan sounds like an interesting book. I’ll have to add it to the list. Right after the rest of the Steig Larsen books, because annoying Alan is the most important thing. Like even more important than eating.

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  3. Oh, thanks for reminding me about Larsson. I knew I’d forgotten something. I wonder if forgetting to continue a book is a sign of anything. I mean, I remember now and then, and even read a few pages, but every time I remember reading it it’s even worse than when I actually read it. Remembering Tolkien, on the other hand, always takes me back to Ithilien on a warm spring day.

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