Mandelbrot and Taleb on PBS

Let me start by saying that I like Nassim Nicholas Taleb and BenoĆ®t Mandelbrot quite a lot. I don’t agree with them all the time, but that is generally true of people I like. I recall reading Mandelbrot’s book The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence some years ago and being struck by how much sense Mandelbrot makes. It helped that his early work related to markets was in cotton prices and I am an agricultural economist.

Below is a video segment from PBS News Hour where they interview NNT and Dr. Mandelbrot (notice how I did not use his initials? gotta show him some respect). It’s a good interview, but it cracks me up that the host clearly has Mandelbrot’s ideas confused with Edward Lorenz, the man who coined the phrase ‘Butterfly Effect.’ See 4:55 in the video for the most blatant confusion. Mandelbrot does a good job of ignoring the confusion but eventually at 6:20ish he starts to redirect the host to his true thought contribution which is that big movements are under-anticipated. To the host’s credit Mandelbrot and Lorenz have co-authored papers so it’s not like they are totally disconnected.

I can’t mention Mandelbrot without posting this great tribute song/video made in honor of his namesake Mandelbrot Set.

Shameless commerce (yeah, I stole that from those Car Talk Guys) related to this post:

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