The Acrobat and the Fly

Many of the memes that drive our political behaviors inherently push us toward Competitive Games and tribalism. Resisting these memes means losing both arguments and credibility – and we have to be willing to do both.

Read more

Gandalf, GZA and Granovetter

When we try to define others’ cartoon, we take away their agency, and strip away their humanity. And we do it with our clients, every time we guess what behavioral box they fit it.

Read more


AI BS Detectors & the Origins of Life (by Silly Rabbit)

Confidence levels for the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Claude Berrou on turbo codes and informational neuroscience, and thermodynamics in far-from-equilibrium systems.

Read more

Pressure and Time

Red: [narrating] In 1966, Andy Dufresne escaped from Shawshank prison. All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with …

Read morePressure and Time

1914 is (still) the New Black

There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen. – Vladimir Lenin (1870 – 1924)  In 1914, Europe had arrived at a point in which every country except Germany was afraid of the present, and Germany was afraid of the future.  – Sir Edward Grey (1862 – 1933)  Last week’s email, …

Read more1914 is (still) the New Black

1914 is the New Black

Man in Black: All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right … and who is dead. – “The Princess Bride” (1987)  Time is a game played beautifully by children. – Heraclitus of Ephesus (535 – 475 …

Read more1914 is the New Black

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity. – Sigmund Freud (1886 – 1939) To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most useful in times of stress and darkness. – Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Left Hand of Darkness” (1969) Is everything connected, so that events create resonances like …

Read moreSometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

It’s Still Not About the Nail

Reader reaction to the March 31 Epsilon Theory note, “It’s Not About the Nail”, was probably the strongest and most positive for any note to date. The message in a nutshell: financial advisors of all stripes and sizes would be well-served to do more than serve up old-school diversification platitudes in this Brave New World …

Read moreIt’s Still Not About the Nail

It’s Not About the Nail

Do, or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations – one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it – …

Read moreIt’s Not About the Nail

Why Take a Chance?

Vinny Forlano: He won’t talk. Stone is a good kid. Stand-up guy, just like his old man. That’s the way I see it. Vincent Borelli: I agree. He’s solid. An effin’ Marine. Americo Capelli: He’s okay. He always was. Remo, what do you think? Remo Gaggi: Look… why take a chance? At least, that’s the …

Read moreWhy Take a Chance?

The Clash of Civilizations

Thomas Cole, “The Course of Empire: Destruction” (1836) In the emerging world of ethnic conflict and civilizational clash, Western belief in the universality of Western culture suffers three problems: it is false; it is immoral; and it is dangerous. – Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” (1996) The …

Read moreThe Clash of Civilizations

Mike Tyson: Master Game Theorist

Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. – Mike Tyson My long-term strategy turned into a 12-hour strategy. – “Survivor” contestant Dale, voted out in last week’s tribal council Reality doesn’t interest me. – Leni Riefenstahl, acclaimed German film director and Nazi stooge Ben, there is no such thing as a …

Read moreMike Tyson: Master Game Theorist

Calvin the Super Genius

People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don’t realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world. ― Bill Watterson, “Calvin And Hobbes” Here is the most fundamental idea behind game theory, the one concept you MUST understand to be an effective game …

Read moreCalvin the Super Genius

The Game of Thrones and the Game of Markets

Two items for the mid-week. First, an invitation to attend a Salient Webinar I’ll be presenting next Thursday, September 18th at 2pm ET, titled: “The Game of Thrones and the Game of Markets”. I’ll be tying together various threads from past Epsilon Theory notes, with the goal of showing how to listen to financial news and …

Read moreThe Game of Thrones and the Game of Markets