One economic thinking/philosopher we enjoy here at Strong Towns is the Patron Saint of Strong Towns Thinking, Nassim Taleb. Seriously, I try to absorb everything the guy says because his thoughts surrounding the idea of anti-fragility seems to be the only truly viable explanation for what is going on in the world today. We strongly recommend you read his book, the Black Swan, and check out our YouTube page where we have a number of his videos.
I came across an interview with Taleb that I had not heard before by way of another interview I had seen referenced online, that being with economist Mark Blyth, of the Austerity video fame, among other professional contributions to the economic debate.
When you listen to these two - Taleb and Blyth - you are not going to hear the same thoughts or conclusion. I'd like to think that is a hallmark of our approach here at Strong Towns - our ability to hear multiple perspectives and find nuggets of value in each. Taleb and Blyth speak some hard truths - Taleb about building robustness and Blyth about the social impact of economic decisions - and are worth listening to.
The Radio Open Source show is one that I find myself coming back to again and again. The host, Christopher Lydon, is well-read and intelligent and does a great interview. You can connect with Radio Open Source podcasts on iTunes. I'm a subscriber and would highly recommend it.
There are two interviews I want to pass on today. The first is of Taleb from last June. In it he talks about everything from the current economic crisis to sovereign debt to how the flat world has made us more susceptible to disease outbreak. He states, and we agree, that the "crisis" has just begun. A fascinating discussion that will help you look at our world in a different and empowering way.
The other is a more recent interview with Blyth. He hits on a lot of the Black Swan themes but ties it back to the overall social impact. Blyth is a colorful speaker and also a very intelligent guy so this is a fun listen.
Great planning can't just be a land use endeavor. We've seen how the world evolves when zoning is the only tool in our toolbox. It is just sad. True placemaking - building places that endure because they endear - involves an intersection of land use with engineering, finance, art, social understanding and all of the aspects that comprise the human experience. To build Strong Towns, we have to be today what the Renaissance was to the Dark Ages - a great awakening.
I encourage all of our readers to check out these two interviews and read the books on our Essential Reading list as a starting point to developing a innate awareness of fragility, resilience and the need for Strong Towns thinking.
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