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Hamilton
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 27th, 2001, 2:46 am

Evening all,The title of this thread was a fascinating turn of phrase that I've just encountered in John Le Carre's The Tailor of Panama. The reason I raise it, is that I was fumbling for a phrase to describe Nassim Taleb's Dynamic Hedging and the prose that he uses.This isn't necessarily a criticism, but it does seem to be true generally that those of us who come by our knowledge "the hard way" and don't obtain the requisite professional certificates, tend to be a little pedantic.I've been guilty of the offense myself in a previous life.Anyways, just food for thought.I think.
 
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Omar
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 27th, 2001, 4:16 am

I was fumbling for a phrase to describe Nassim Taleb's Dynamic Hedging and the prose that he uses. >>Dr Nassim Taleb to you, Mr Hamilton.
 
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Paul
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 27th, 2001, 9:56 am

Nassim is a big pussycat and a wonderful guy. I will not hear a bad word spoken about him! BTW he never criticised anyone for the incorrect use of the word 'exponentially'! "Let he who is without sin..." P
 
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David
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 27th, 2001, 10:42 am

<< Nassim is a big pussycat and a wonderful guy >>This incomprehensible guy caused me several broken teeth while delving into his book Fooled by Randomness
 
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Hamilton
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 27th, 2001, 11:39 am

<<<exponential criticism>>Touche....but of course I'm a self educated grammarian and linguist so my pedantry is understandable!Actually, I'm not sure DOCTOR [Hi Omar!] Nassim Taleb is a great example, but, hey I've found a great phrase that I'm just itching to use, and I've got to find *someone* to use it on.
 
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Paul
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 27th, 2001, 12:02 pm

David, you're supposed to read it not eat it!P
 
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reza
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 27th, 2001, 3:59 pm

it's funny, I personally don't have strong feelings on the subject, but almost every other person in the industry I've talked to does. Specially those who have read "Dynamic Hedging": some Hate it and despise it, say it's pedantic and full of non-sense ...on the other hand, some Love it and consider it "The Book" to have, they almost consider Taleb their God … (I guess we can call them “the Taleban” ?)
 
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Hamilton
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 28th, 2001, 1:53 am

<<correction>>Kicking Taleb off of the forum would be a Taleban.
 
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Omar
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 28th, 2001, 3:15 am

Pretentious prose aside, the real problem, in my opinion, with "Dynamic Hedging" is that one feels that the author has a lot to say, and one would like to hear it, but one is unable to because of the convoluted, and at times incomprehensible exposition. I put the blame squarely on the publisher. This book did not receive the copy editing attention it deserved. I guess the people at Wiley simply publish so many books, they have no time for careful production.
 
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Hamilton
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 28th, 2001, 4:30 am

<<Omar- Wiley,bad editing>>I agree with you Omar. I got the impression that it wasn't just my innumeracy preventing me from grasping much of the book. I also had the distinct impression that there was an exceptional book in there somewhere, and I was sorry that I never got a chance to read it.
 
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jungle
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 29th, 2001, 3:28 pm

re: DH, well, it's fascinating, even if it isn't always comprehensible. i have his second book on order, timed to arrive straight after my midterms. i think we should get another column by the great man. agree? and it should surely be Dr. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, PhD, MBA, if we're being pedantic.
 
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JeremyWeinstein
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 29th, 2001, 10:24 pm

The leCarre book was much better than the movie, but that's not saying much. I honestly don't find the self-educated to be pedantic (or even obtuse) in this field, mainly because it moves so fast that I think self-education is the norm. I sometimes regret that I haven't written something as clearly as I should have, but I usually get a second chance if I've said anything worthwhile.
 
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Aaron
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 30th, 2001, 4:40 pm

"Pedantic" is one of those irregular adjectives in English that give non-native speakers so much trouble. I am precise, you are pedantic, and he masks his ignorance by carping about irrelevancies.In the first person, it does seem to me that self-educated people (including, as Jeremy points out, just about everyone in applied quantitative finance) have to be precise. In a formal educational setting, you get used to abbreviated notation. For example, at Chicago someone could say "and the usual CAPM assumptions," which came out as one sylable (roughly, "YCMS"), and everyone knew exactly what was meant because listing those assumptions was the first question on every year's PhD qualifying exam. There were dozens of other word/gesture combinations, copied from some professor's lecture, that everyone understood. Self-educated people aren't exposed to that.In the second person, I think there's no difference based on form of education. Some people like to get details right even when they don't matter, others don't. The world needs both kinds.In the third person, I think this is almost solely confined to educated people, probably because people without formal education cannot get away with it.
 
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Max
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 30th, 2001, 8:11 pm

I think Dynamic Hedging is such a good book because there are so few good books by practioners. I think there are so few good practioner books because:1) good traders have too high an opportunity cost to write good books when they are still intellectually active2) many 'good' traders are really just lucky, or their alpha is derived from a discipline that doesn't have much generality and so most of their opinions are pure noiseAs per the meandering philosophical rambling of certain authors, this is where a good editor can really earn their pay, keeping an author from succumbing to distracting and self-indulgent observations. Good writers are necessarily opinionated and introspective, so they need a strong editor to tell them when they are going too far (save that for coked-up cocktail chatter).
 
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David
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Pedantry of the self educated

October 30th, 2001, 11:56 pm

<< I think Dynamic Hedging is such a good book because there are so few good books by practioners. I think there are so few good practioner books because:1) good traders have too high an opportunity cost to write good books when they are still intellectually active2) many 'good' traders are really just lucky, or their alpha is derived from a discipline that doesn't have much generality and so most of their opinions are pure noise >>Bingo!! You are the man! (To your attention Omar)
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