Can Aphorisms Take the Cake?

If anyone has a crack at making a book of aphorisms a bestseller, it’s economist and philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Best known for his long-running business bestseller The Black Swan, he’s back with The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms. Among his  incisive pronouncements:

  • “You will get the most attention from those who hate you. No friend, no admirer and no partner will flatter you with as much curiosity.”
  • “You remember e-mails you sent that were not answered better than e-mails you did not answer.”

Janet Maslin in New York Times sums up the book’s appeal:

Mr. Taleb is so calculatedly abrasive in this smart, attention-getting little book that he achieves his main objective. “A good maxim,” he writes, “allows you to have the last word without even starting a conversation.”

Orders are modest at libraries we checked, but given Taleb’s track record, this could be one to watch.

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Retail Price: $18.00
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-11-30)
ISBN / EAN: 1400069971 / 9781400069972

Other Notable Nonfiction On Sale Next Week

The Essential American by Jackie Gingrich Cushman (Regnery) is a collection of 25 documents and speeches that Newt Gingrich’s daughter considers critical to understanding United States history. She recently appeared on Fox News to promote it.

Make Miracles in Forty Days: Turning What You Have into What You Want by Melody Beattie (Simon & Schuster) outlines a program of self improvement via gratitude, surrender, and connecting with our essential power.

A Voice from Old New York: A Memoir of My Youth by Louis Auchincloss (Houghton Mifflin) explores the late author’s connection with New York City. Kirkus says, “the author’s prose is lapidary, graceful and eminently readable. In a world of postmodern letters, Auchincloss draws a curtain on a premodern, Whartonesque way of life.”

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