The padding that fattens the Black Swan up from a chapter to a book is worse than irrelevant fluff; it is angry, righteous and self-congratulatory. It also hints at a flimsy grasp of the non-financial subjects he strays on to and of the philosophy of science.
Taleb's scepticism is not restricted to the chance of very unlikely events. He thinks that we generally know less than we think, and that economics and much of modern science is bunkum. The Nobel Prize for economics and its winners cause him special psychic pain. At a conference in Mexico in 2009 (which you can see on YouTube) he claimed that the supposed knowledge of modern doctors has made no contribution to extending our life expectancy. The human body, like the weather and the economy, is too complex to be amenable to science. As evidence, he claimed that when elective surgery is briefly suspended (perhaps because of a strike), death rates do not increase. I will not insult you by pointing to the well-known facts that contradict this scepticism about modern medicine, nor explain how Taleb's "evidence" could be correct without supporting his conclusion.
Taleb's extra-curricular absurdities are often expressed in the style of a post-modernist literature student. He talks about "narratives", "reductive categories" and "what lies on the other side of the veil of opacity". He thinks that claims about the origins of the universe or the reality of death need no evidence when uttered by the religious, because they are using holy terms rather than scientific ones. He thereby endorses the relativists' fantasy that a mere choice of jargon can absolve you of all intellectual obligations.
He has now published a book of aphorisms, The Bed of Procrustes, heavily promoted on the BBC Today programme. A collection of aphorisms would usually be assembled by a fan after a lifetime of brilliant work and pithy nuggets of wisdom. But Taleb cannot wait, nor rely on others fully to appreciate his wisdom. So he has delivered his own collection of freshly-cooked nuggets. It is not only the vanity of the enterprise but the aphorisms themselves that are excruciating. They reveal Taleb's obsession with a handful of topics, but mainly with himself: erudition (that's him), charm (him), wisdom (him), nerds (not him), the internet (which is for nerds, not him), philosophers (him), suckers (not him), hard work (which is not for geniuses like him), paid academics (not him, except in fact) and the great men of antiquity (of whom he is a late example). If only it were true.