QUICKLINKS AND VIEW OPITONS
‘Don’t ask a barber if you need a haircut’ says Black Swan author, Nassim Taleb
Saturday, September 19, 2009 8:11 am Email this article
"Don't ask a barber if you need a haircut" said Nassim Taleb, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Visiting Professor at London Business School and author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.
Taleb noted this on MSNBC's show, The Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan, on August 3rd, 2009.
Let me say this in another way to drive the point home.
- a drug company or
- a drug company salesman or
- or a university researcher
- or a doctor
- or a psychiatrist
- or a professional medical organization like:
- the American Psychiatric Association or
- the American Diabetes Association or
- the National Cholesterol Education Program...
- or scientist from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or
- or anyone from the World Health Organization (WHO) or anywhere else...
... if a drug is...
- safe or
- effective or
- can cause a side effect or
- can cause serious harm or
- if you should take this drug...
... if the doctor or the researcher or the scientist has ever been paid by a drug company as...
- a researcher or
- as a "Consultant" or
- to be on their "Scientific Advisory Panel" or
- to be on their "Speakers Bureau" or
- to do studies of their drugs or
- to coauthor a paper about their drugs.
The reason for this is that money affects what people say.
Drug companies only pay people who say things that will help the drug companies sell more drugs.
If a doctor or a psychiatrist or a researcher or a scientist were to ever say anything negative about a drug, the drug company would immediately stop paying them as a "consultant" or a "scientific advisor" or as a "researcher" or to be on their "speakers bureau".
So, if they have been paid, you will not get an objective opinion, but instead, only one side of the story.
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