Our friend Joseph Moore at Yard Sale of the Mind, a site surely on everybody’s list already, whose photograph appears atop this post, wrote
It doesn’t get much more civilized than that! I’d say fine coffee, a tasty pastry and a good book — and a nice hat (1)- represent an apex of culture just below a Latin High Mass in a great cathedral.
Hear him! Everybody who is anybody is reading Uncertainty: The Soul of Modeling, Probability & Statistics. Some (me) are even saying it makes the ideal Christmas gift.
The (1) represented a footnote, which was this:
Nearly had the Full Briggs going: I’d put on a tie, grabbed a jacket and a hat, because the next thing I’d be doing after the race was gathering up the rest of the family and heading off to Mass, and I need the hat to keep my bald head warm. The Full Briggs, as I understand it (and, being a Californian, I may be incapable of truly appreciating it) is for grown men to wear a suit, tie and hat as default clothing, only deigning to dress otherwise for specific purposes, such as if one were a professional wrestler or astronaut or something. As a native Californian who grew up amidst surfers and welders, my reaction to this could be summed as: Whoa. Dude. Those noir shamuses do look pretty natty, I must confess.
This is a fair, but incomplete, representation of The Full Briggs. Suits are recommended, yes; but it’s not suits per se, but the jacks-slacks-tie-hat combo that provides balance and luster to a gentleman’s existence. Ties are not de rigueur unless in a suit, but they’re highly recommended especially when the temperatures drops below 90 F. (That’s not a misprint: 90 F, 32 C.)
Men, can you imagine the figure you’d cut in a comfortable jacket, devil-may-care tie, loosely knotted, even old, even wrinkled pants and shoes (the species pants do not include jeans, and shoes do not mean sneakers), a battered fedora or wool cap, sitting in a café or on a park bench reading the Book of the Year? Your wives, if you have them, will have to stand guard over you to keep the philosophy groupies at bay. And if you’re not married, well, here is the ultimate mate bait.
Beats a cute dog. And you don’t have clean up after Uncertainty.
Incidentally, you don’t have to sit. Unlike some ponderous philosophical tomes, Uncertainty was designed to be light, refreshing, short—and true. This means you can, and should, carry it with you wherever you go. Being seen carrying it is the surest path to advancement.
If somebody asks you what’s so special about the book, you can quip, “Die p-value, die die die” (the title of one section). Nothing beats a conversation about these undead scourges of statistics. Or you can say “Everybody believes hypothesis tests prove cause, even when they say they don’t believe it; if they really didn’t believe it, they’d never use another hypothesis test for the rest of their lives.”
And there are many more possibilities. Too many to list! Do what Joseph did. Do The Full Briggs!