I had a lot of wonderful "Aha" moments listening to this audio book about Antifragile vs. Fragile systems. The author has identified a key underlying paradyne for failure or success, whether personal, in business or with government programs.
Long ago, another book: Leadership and the new science by Margaret Wheatley convinced me that nature is self organizing and business can be set up to be self organizing. Nassim Nicholas Taleb echo's that idea and states, the natural order is overwhelmingly Antifragile, while our manmade order tends to be Fragile. The earth and mankind have evolved all by themselves without some great leader calling the shots, because nature is Antifragile. If we listen/obey leaders who tell us how to live our own lives (which we already know intuitively and logically), we are likely to become Fragile.
Fragility is all about risks. An activity is Fragile, if the downside (negative) risks predominate over the upside risks or the downside risks are greater than the upsize risks. Fragile is the property of most manmade systems. How does that apply to us? Modernity has created structures that allows certain groups of people, like corporate bankers, politicians and academics to take excessive risks without any skin in the game and thereby pass the downside consequences onto others, making them Fragile. One way avoid this Nassim Nicholas Taleb argues, is to make ourselves Antifragile by insisting all decisions makers affecting our lives have skin in the game. However, bankers, politicians and academics usually have no skin in the game. In fact, often they gain at the expense of the people they serve. So the solution is, limit the size and power of banks, corporations and government to minimize the damage.
Taleb also points out that top down decisions by leaders who don't understand complex system, such as our economy, and have no skin in the game pass laws/regulations that make small problems large; for example our Financial Crisis:
1. The Federal Reserve made our financial system Fragile when it tried to prevent a small adjustment/recession by keeping interest rates too low and ended up causing a housing bubble plus the great recession.
2. Taxpayers became Fragile when large banks took excessive downside risk because the government protected the banks against that risk at taxpayer expense.
There is a bit of fluff in the book, but overall Taleb makes a great case limiting downsize risk and how we can achieve it. He deserves Nobel Prize.
Taleb has a bone to pick. Apparently, it's with air conditioners, insurance companies, dietitians, economists, and academics (a group in which he, himself, must be included). He thinks that all of these people/things keep us from suffering enough to be strong. Save yourself the time and pick up anything by Gladwell, it'll be a better read with much less hateful navel-gazing.
Husband, father, IT Leader and Innovator specializing in Retail Energy pricing and costing systems
This book is dense. I cannot wait to listen to it a second and third time because I know the revelations will keep coming. I am a newbie when it comes to Taleb's writing. I have not read or listened to his other writings. I found this book not only satisfying, but provocative. And it lives up to Talib's description as a book that is not an addendum to previous writing. I highly recommend a listen!
“As you know, madness is like gravity...all it takes is a little push.” The Joker
It is very hard to accept all the ideas presented in this book (or any of Taleb's books) but that is an author that makes you think about and challenge everything he comes across. An instant classic.
Antifragile is about some bitter person who feels that no one respects them and how anti-fragile they are in their resentment of their peers.
The narration was spot on for the tone of the book. The narrator is not the issue.
I thought this would be a book about investing strategy. It is so much more. I will have to buy the hard copy and re-read it several times. There is a lot of meat to digest. Five-star work all the way. Taleb's comparison of the current state of academic research at publish-or-perish institutions with counterfeit watches is spot-on. I do not know of any practitioners in my field who bother to read any of the "leading journals" of academic research. Joe Ochman's narration is also outstanding. He does an excellent job coping with Taleb's broad vocabulary of unfamiliar English words smattered with foreign words like "flâneur." This book will expand your vocabulary if nothing else! I write mainly to voice my strong objection to the producer's decision to bleep Taleb's occasional use of expletives. Taleb is nothing if not a wordsmith and when he inserts an expletive it is for effect, either to show contempt for the idea he is debunking or to get the reader's attention. There is no excuse for the producer inserting a loud "bleep" over words like "bullsh*t." I listened to this book in the car and the bleeps are higher in volume that the surrounding speech. On several occasions, I thought someone was honking at me! The bleeps are unnecessary and disconcerting. May I suggest revising the recorded book to omit the bleeps? An excellent book that deserves a listen from every thoughtful person who is disturbed by current trends in academic research.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. —Wayne Gretzky
Ever since i read fooled by randomness, I've read and recommended all of Taleb's books. He is the master of anti bulls*h*i*t.
The most memorable moment of Taleb's books are as usual his conclusions and afterwords. It is like listening to the wise Grandfather I never had.
When he explains his ideas on antifragility is also very interresting because the concept has been around all his previous books, but it is the first time he explains in a way I feel like I really get his point.
Taleb writes about what he wants to write about, he does not just say it as you listen his book you can feel he is not constrain about anything because he really say what is on his mind and curses very often
A few times it's gets boring when he rumbles on and on about the same subject, but his message is so universal that this could even be a philosophy book though I'm sure the author woudn't agree to that.
I like Taleb's books, that's because I like his story.
But this time I don't get it. The story gets lost when a annoying beep makes me lose my train of thought.
Is this recording defective?
Or am I missing something here.
I'll try to ask for my money back.
I always go for unabridged.
Should I now also find out if the book was messed up by beepling idiots?
I would highly recommend this book to friends who are looking for a better way with both eyes open: the eye of knowledge and the eye of the empiricist. Taleb has extended himself well beyond the Black Swan. He gives us in Anti-Fragile a new way of looking at the world. He answers why Mother Nature is so enduring and why most man-made complex systems are so fleeting and also why they blow up so spectacularly.The insight I have gained from Anti-Fragile is priceless. I wish many more people would consume this deeply, savoring the incongruity with one's knowledge and the real world. We are all 'suckers' if we do not. I can only aspire to be more like Fat Tony.
Anti-Fragile is the simplest idea I NEVER heard of. This book shakes what one knows to its foundations. Even if you loved the Black Swan this book is 'not da same ting'.
I think his narration is superb.
No. Many sittings, many times over.
I've read all his books and, like all the others, I feel lost for the first chapter and then... it starts to click and I understand what he's talking about. Really interesting smack down of economic icons and I couldn't agree more. "Skin in the game" doesn't guarantee good results but it does keep one honest. I highly recommend this book but, unfortunately the politicians who need to read this probably won't.