Taleb quote on our urge to narrative certaintyBoth the artistic and scientific enterprises are the product of our need to reduce dimensions and inflict some order on things. Think of the world around you, laden with trillions of details. Try to describe it and you will find yourself tempted to weave a thread into what you are saying. A novel, a story , a myth, or a tale, all have the same function: they spare us from the complexity of the world and shield us from its randomness. Myths impart order to the disorder of human perception and the perceived “chaos of human experience.”
French biography is a sub-species of fictionIn an interview with The New York Times in 1989, Mr. Lottman suggested that his work showed an American-like passion for hard facts that he believed some French historians and biographers ignored or fudged in favor of their own intellectual theories. Of his 17 books — published in English and translated into many languages, including French — 15 were about French intellectual, artistic and political life.“The French continue to use the a priori method, which is to know in advance what you want to say about a writer and then find anecdotes to make the story interesting,” he said in the interview with The Times. “And so, I have in front of me very fertile fields and no competition.”He added, “It may seem absurd that you can go back to the 19th century and still find virgin territory, but you do.”His method, he said, was more that of the journalist than the professor. “A lot of so-called French biographers imagine that they can invent things, dreams and thoughts of the figure they are writing about,” he told a French literary journal in 2007.
Emotions also have an impact on the bottom line. A 1996 study published in the journal Training and Development assessing the value of training workers at a manufacturing plant in emotional management skills — teaching employees to focus on how their work affects others rather than simply on getting the job done — found that union grievance filings were reduced by two-thirds while productivity increased substantially. And a study of a Fortune 400 health insurance company conducted by Peter Salovey, a psychology professor at Yale, looked at the correlations between emotional intelligence and salary and found that people rated highest by their peers in emotional intelligence received the biggest raises and were promoted most frequently.