StudentsReview :: New York University:: Adjunct/Assoc. Prof. Nassim Taleb Course Grades, Reviews and Ratings
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New York University

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Adjunct/Assoc. Prof. Nassim Taleb
New York University
Overall C-
17 ratings,  [AVG: 4 min, 41 sec]
Workload: Easy/None Responsible Grading: F

Enjoys Teaching D Arrogance: A problem
Speaks & Writes Clearly D Respect for Students: None
Sensible Lectures D Appreciates Creativity: Less
Organized course D Student Feedback is: Ignored
Instructor Effort D
Entirely Useless
Grading System:
Course Requirements:
Unclear or random
Assignment Instructions
Exam Design:
Badly written
Exam Coverage:
Unknown or Unclear
Grades Reflect:
Not much
Final Grade Verification:
Allows some "fudge factor"
Gets class involved D+
Competent with material D
Friendly/Sociable D
Adds to content D
This instructor is:



Overall: F
Extremely arrogant.  Students should massage his ego. 
Student Competency: Expert-Level
Student's Grade: A
Liked Instructor?: Strongly Disliked
Overall: F
I didn't learn anything new.  Beginning probability and statistics covered this better. 
Should do to do well...
Do not question his assertions.  Extremely intolerant of disagreement.  Proposes concepts as new or his own, when they have been published and presented better before.  Doesn't adequately credit sources. 
Should know...
Instructor is very arrogant.  Do not question his assertions.  Extremely intolerant of disagreement. 
Student Competency: Expert-Level
Student's Grade: A
Liked Instructor?: Strongly Disliked
Overall: F
Should do to do well...
Taleb criticizes the success of notables as luck, but tries to elevate himself above them by claiming he plays the extremes.  Yet his “success” appears minimal and doesn't approach the consistent good results of others. 
Should know...
At Palmoma Partners, Taleb was removed from trading after heavy losses and put in the research area.  This would have made for an interesting class example of a failure of his trading strategy. 
Student Competency: Expert-Level
Student's Grade: A
Liked Instructor?: Strongly Disliked
Overall: F
Should do to do well...
Instructors criticizes others who have achieved success in a surperficial and arrogant fashion. 

Should know...
An earlier commenter mentioned Paloma Partners, and it would be a good case study to find out what went wrong with Taleb's trading strategy then.  Any sign of self-examination or humility on the part of this instructor would be a welcome change. 
Student Competency: Expert-Level
Student's Grade: A
Liked Instructor?: Strongly Disliked
Overall: F
Should do to do well...
A lot of the observations are pretty simplistic.  As supplementary reading, Taleb's book Fooled By Randomness does not list references, but gives exactly the same examples - without credit - as in a much earlier publication by John Allen Paulos called INNUMERACY which came out in 1988.  False positives, Bayes' theorem examples, classical references, gambling, confusing conditionality, the newsletter example, Tversky and Kahneman are all in Palous' book.  Taleb seems to be a good self-promoter, but Paulos' book has more meat.  Did Taleb think we would forget? 

Should know...
Instructor seems to have contempt for the understanding of others and berates the press and assumes most of the popultaion does not have an IQ as high as his.  True, but most students in courses like this have IQ's as high as his.  His emotional IQ is extraordinary low, however, and he seems so insecure that he must prove he is smart to make up for other shortcomings. 
Student Competency: Expert-Level
Student's Grade: A
Liked Instructor?: Strongly Disliked
Overall: F
Should do to do well...
Think for oneself.  Challenge the teacher. 
Should know...
Praise the professor and honour his superiority and need for attention
Student Competency: Expert-Level
Student's Grade: F
Liked Instructor?: Strongly Disliked
Overall: A
A great class particularly if you want to learn about uncertainty and error in statistical models as opposed to mechanically applying models to fit data. 
Student Competency: Unusually High
Student's Grade: A
Liked Instructor?: Really Liked
Mediocre class. 
Taleb's logic has internal inconsistencies.  If one questions - don't dare critique - his arguments, the student is perceived as an “enemy.” Yet, Taleb freely criticizes the success of people he views as lucky.  Is he their enemy?  He doesn't seem to grasp where this fuzzy logic leads. 
Taleb has significant insecurities and passive aggressive issues that may even be pathological.  Students be warned. 
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