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  1. Dec 2021
    1. A good library is filled with mostly unread books. That’s the point. Our relationship with the unknown causes the very problem Taleb is famous for contextualizing: the black swan. Because we underestimate the value of what we don’t know and overvalue what we do know, we fundamentally misunderstand the likelihood of surprises. The antidote to this overconfidence boils down to our relationship with knowledge. The anti-scholar, as Taleb refers to it, is “someone who focuses on the unread books, and makes an attempt not to treat his knowledge as a treasure, or even a possession, or even a self-esteem enhancement device — a skeptical empiricist.” My library serves as a visual reminder of what I don’t know.

      I prefer the positive interpretation, of how much more there is to know. Quantifying anything in terms of how much we do not have is limited because we have finite knowledge out of an infinite set.

      Each book instead of referencing something we do not know is a portal into things we have yet to know.

      I think Nassim Taleb also mentioned elsewhere that having a lot of books you haven't read shows interest in a topic.