The picture that you see above comes via my good friend, Kyle Trouble, who took a screenshot of it for posterity. That one Twat exposes the twat who twatted it as the giant Gamma that he is. And that is genuinely unfortunate, because Nicholas Nassim Taleb is in fact a brilliant intellectual, who rightly called out people suffering from severe cases of intellectualism.
I wrote the post referenced in that last link more than 5 years ago, on the basis of a link sent to me by another good friend, Last Redoubt. And, at the time, I had great respect for the author of The Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness, and especially Antifragile. I thought that NNT’s ideas were excellent, though he did come across as a “roaring asshole”, in the words of my very first boss.
I was willing to excuse his lack of tact and manners, because his basic ideas seemed sound. Unfortunately, it looks like NNT “took the ticket”.
And here’s why:
Gammatude is a function of both nature and nurture. Unfortunately, you can never really get away from innate Gammatude. You can manage it, but if you fail to manage it properly, it will resurface and make you take the ticket.
Gammatude is a horrible curse, in general. Gammas are highly disruptive, immensely irritating, and wholly convinced of their innate intellectual superiority. They make absolutely AWFUL team leaders and managers, because their lack of socio-sexual status, combined with their wholly inflated opinions of themselves, repel and annoy everyone around them. They can go into incredibly destructive compulsive rage spirals as well – if you piss off a Gamma, and YOU INEVITABLY WILL, simply by being better than him at anything, be prepared for the mother of all snarky passive-aggressive meltdowns and sulk-fests afterwards.
There are good aspects to being a Gamma, of course. Gammas are highly talented and obsessive in areas that hold no interest for anyone else. That means you can put them to good use in niche, specialised functions that demand technical excellence and focus. Just keep them away from the women, because either the Gamma will say something WILDLY offensive and inappropriate, or the women will get so pissed off by his very presence that they’ll try to punch him.
If you have innate Gamma traits, you can go a VERY long way toward fixing the problem, simply by following my advice on the subject. (I hasten to add that “my” ideas on the subject are absolutely nothing of the sort – all credit for anything related to the Socio-Sexual Hierarchy goes to Our Beloved and Dreaded Supreme Dark Lord (PBUH) Voxemort the Most Malevolent and Terrible.)
I am well aware that I have certain Gamma traits. They continue to cause problems for me, even to this day – for instance, despite what you might think, I actually dislike confrontation and conflict, in general. (The “get DA GURRRRRLZZZ” problem that plagues so many Gammas, though, doesn’t affect me anymore – which, incidentally, is a very good sign that you’ve gone a long way toward treating your Gammatude, if you get to that point.) I will struggle with these problems for the rest of my life. But at least I know it, and I don’t pretend that being a Gamma is a Good Thing.
NNT, on the other hand, evidently has no clue.
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
Consider the hypocrisy, nonsense, and ridiculousness of his Twat. If you know anything about Taleb, you know that he started out as a quant – a brilliant mathematician and computer scientist who would put those skills to use in creating esoteric derivatives pricing models in the world’s leading investment banks.
I actually have a copy of his textbook on derivative pricing, sitting in storage. It is VERY good indeed. You can also tell, just by reading it, that Taleb has a MONSTROUSLY large ego, which has been liberally fed by those around him.
Stop and think about that for a moment.
He used to work in LITERALLY THE MOST COMPETITIVE INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD, where talent like his could (and still does) command huge salaries and god-tier status. (If you don’t believe me, go lookup one Bjarne Stroustroup – he’s the man who invented the C++ computer language. That guy is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and his achievements and towering legacy are such that he will have a job FOR LIFE, in the most super-cyclical, layoff-happy industry anywhere.)
And now he’s telling us that competition is bad for the soul.
Let’s give him the absolute benefit of the doubt and say that he’s just trolling. I wouldn’t put that past him, given his personality.
That doesn’t change the fact that he slammed competitive sports as “unhealthy”.
This idea is literally anti-factual. It is so stupid that I’m shocked someone of his intellect would utter it.
Competitive sports are a VERY Good Thing. Competition causes us to put in effort to improve ourselves – to put in effort, training, time, and resources, to achieve the best results that we can.
Last time I checked, that was the very basis of a functional free-market economy.
It’s Got to Work This Time!
Let’s run a bit of a thought experiment. What would happen if you had a world without competitiveness?
The answer is that you would have perfect Communism, and every single time we’ve ever tried that in human history, mass starvation and destruction has been the inevitable result.
Update: My old friend, Last Redoubt, wrote in to me about this post, and as he rightly and correctly pointed out, NNT has written repeatedly in the past about how to apply Wolff’s Law – aka Cortical Remodelling, aka LIFT HEAVY SHIT SO THAT YOU TEAR UP YOUR MUSCLES AND GET STRONGER IN THE PROCESS – to your life. When you place your body and mind under stress, and then allow both to recover, you get stronger, tougher, and faster. This is the very essence of competition. And this is what NNT himself is bashing now.
It is also worth pointing out that, in his original rant against the Intellectual-Yet-Idiot, NNT said that IYIs don’t deadlift, and posted a picture of Andy Bolton, the first man ever to deadlift over 1,000lbs raw, as an example of someone who isn’t an IYI.
I guess that NNT forgot that Mr. Bolton accomplished that unbelievable feat in a COMPETITION, and that he has since gone on to coach Eddie “The Beast” Hall in his record-breaking deadlifts.
The Destructive Gamma
The true danger of unrestricted Gammatude is now becoming readily apparent in the self-immolation of Boris the Floppy-Haired Sheepadoodle, over in PommieBastardLande. Most of his idiotic failures are self-inflicted, to be sure, but there is no doubt that his former electoral tactician, Dominic Cummings, is behind much of the damage.
And there is a very good reason for that. Mr. Cummings is a COLOSSAL Gamma. Worse than that, he is a vengeful Gamma, and a spurned and scorned Gamma is EXTRAORDINARILY dangerous.
Herein lies a significant management lesson. If you do not squash Gammas, and squash them HARD, then they can, and will, leave land-mines for you to step on:
In the book-lined drawing room of his elegant four-storey Islington townhouse, Cummings will have read a poll from YouGov last Friday with quiet satisfaction. It revealed that voters dislike almost every leading political figure – not least Johnson – with the exception of Mr Sunak.
Cummings has boasted privately that he helped engineer Sunak’s promotion to Chancellor in February 2020 after Sajid Javid resigned from No11. Cummings has even boasted that he ‘tricked’ Boris into losing Javid after a row over his choice of special adviser.
And while Cummings himself has long since departed from Government, the team of No10 advisers he assembled is still in place – but they’re next door, with Sunak.
The so-called joint unit – originally hand-picked by Cummings to work for Boris and the Chancellor – now answers only to Sunak.
One minister said: ‘Be in no doubt, Cummings is a huge admirer of Sunak and would want him to succeed where he thinks Boris has failed.’
No one epitomises the growing self-confidence of the Treasury more than Liam Booth-Smith, who became head of the unit in February 2020.
‘Cummings and Booth-Smith have a mutual respect for each other’s intellect,’ says one source. ‘They are also united in another important respect: their contempt for the PM.’
Does Cummings dream of a call to return to No10 under Prime Minister Sunak? ‘He’s deluded enough,’ said one Boris supporter. ‘Sunak’s not that daft.’
If you’ve ever seen, or read, Shakespeare’s Othello, then you know that Iago is the perfect depiction of the vengeful Gamma. When you have that kind of character in your proximity, you are just asking for trouble.
Conclusion – Expel Your Gamma
NNT’s Twat is a perfect example of how Gammas never quite outgrow their worst tendencies, without significant help and effort. And NNT’s statement, taken to its logical conclusions, results in a man like Mr. Cummings.
If you are a Gamma, understand that you have it within your power to fix your own problems. It’s not that hard. You just have to buckle down and DO IT.
If you know a Gamma, then you need to get him away from your teams and your women as quickly as you possibly can. Gamma behaviour is sneaky, subversive, deceptive, and downright dangerous when left unchecked.
If you don’t believe that Gammas exist, well, I’ve got news for you – they exist among crustaceans just as much as they do among humans:
And if you have a destructive Gamma nearby – you must act swiftly, and ruthlessly, to crush that nuisance before it becomes a genuinely dangerous problem. Do it quickly, and beg forgiveness later, because you’re going to need it. The dangers of Gammatude are far too great to be underestimated or dismissed.
And someone who pretends to be an intellectual-yet-not-idiot, like NNT, damned well should know better.