Procrustes was a cruel estate owner in Greek mythology who insisted that guests fit the traveler’s bed to perfection. He would cut off the legs of those who were too tall, and those who were too short were painfully stretched.

This became a metaphor for the author Nassim Taleb, who is critical of the way many academics expect people to adjust to theories than to have the theories reflect the reality of the people.

Thus The Bed of Procrustes was the title Taleb selected for a collection of aphorisms.   They are brutally direct, often hostile or harsh, sometimes seemingly arrogant, but still quite insightful.  A short sample:

Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love.

I suspect that they put Socrates to death because there is something terribly unattractive, alienating, and nonhuman in thinking with too much clarity.

Education makes the wise slightly wiser, but it makes the fool vastly more dangerous.

Using, as an excuse, others’ failure of common sense is in itself a failure of common sense.

The opposite of success is not failure; it is name dropping.

What fools call “wasting time” is often the best investment.

Someone who says “I am busy” is either declaring incompetence (and lack of control of his life) or trying to get rid of you.

Modernity: we created youth without heroism, age without wisdom, and life without grandeur.

Men destroy each other during war; themselves during peacetime.