One spring day a few years ago, I was surprised to receive an invitation from a think tank sponsored by the United States Defense Department to a brainstorming session on risk…The symposium was a closed-doors, synod-style assembly who would never have mixed otherwise. My first surprise was to discover that the military people there thought, behaved, and acted like philosopher – far more so than the philosophers we will see splitting hairs in their weekly colloquium in Part Three. They thought out of the box, like traders, except much better and without fear of introspection. An assistant secretary of defense was with us, but had I not known his profession I would have thought he was a practitioner of skeptical empiricism…I came out of the meeting realizing that only military people deal with randomness with genuine, introspective intellectual honesty – unlike academics and corporate executives using other people’s money. This does not show in war movies… When I expressed my amazement to Laurence, another finance person who was sitting next to me, he told me that the military collected more genuine intellects and risk thinkers than most if not all other professions. Defense people wanted to understand the epistemology of risk. Nassim Nicholas Taleb The Black Swan.
For more on the remarkable Taleb, who wrote Fooled By Randomness, his wikipedia entry is here.