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.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” - Albert Einstein
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.
Unique perspective with real utility. Top quartile.
Applying a scientific and intelligent rationale for traditionalism.
Read with believably conceited indignation which would have been off-putting were it not earned and justified.
"I spit in your general direction"
As a physician and leader, I'm drawn to innovative ideas that can guide our work and lives in a healthier and more fulfilling manner. Taleb's principles provide a compelling counter to our tendency to over-engineer and "fragilize" our lives and businesses. Resonant.
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?
Vain anti-intellectual posturing. Ideas could be captured in 3 minutes, bloated into 15 hours.
Re-read Nate Silver's "Signal and Noise"
Bullsh*t in, bullsh*t out. Not his fault.
No. I regret the money and time spent.
Cut out 3/4 of the book, all the self-indulgent egotistical bosh. He appears to believe we owe him hours of our time attending to his sniveling about how he's the first person in the universe to have a coherent thought, and all the rest of us dumb barbarians hate him. He desperately needed an editor to sit him down and burn the boring pages in front of him, but he appears to be too fragile to cope with that. That he mistakes his inability to edit himself with courage is ironic, and it's downright pathetic that he felt so threatened by his so-called "enemies" that he literally tries to make himself look physically strong. Read/listen to Nate Silver for what this book could have been.
That it took SOOOO freakin' long for him to say anything that I was interested in hearing.
Poor Joe! He did a pretty good job of representing the whiney and yet over-bearing tone of that uncle you really hope doesn't show up for Thanksgiving dinner, but I'm afraid his voice will now forever be associated with it in my mind. I don't know if I'll be able to listen to another book narrated by him unless he can radically change his delivery. The other significantly annoying thing about the narration was the bleeping-out of words. The first time this happened, I was on a plane, and I thought it was some alarm; I practically jumped out of my seat. Then when it happened again, apparently randomly, I thought it was the passenger next to me, who had their phone out. Finally, when I heard it in the airport lounge, I realized it was coming from the narration! After that it was just completely annoying and distracting. Very bad production decision. If you can force yourself to listen to Taleb at any length, his vulgar language is the least of your problems.
Incredible frustration. I was quite interested in the ideas, but screamingly bored and annoyed by the immaturity of the ego-trip. I listen a lot while driving, and for most of the first half, trying to excavate a few gems from the pile of ego sh*t, I was mostly in the mood to stop, kick him to the curb in the Montana wilderness and let him practice being anti-fragile with a passing grizzly. I nearly didn't even download the second half. After I finally held my breath and plunged into the ego-pigsty again, he eventually seems to have run out of (most of) his hot air, and get down to some interesting concepts. I even smiled once--at the part about the ancient technology of shoes, and how we're now being sold a technology for going barefoot. There's some fun, interesting stuff in there, but WHY make it such punishment to get to it?
I would highly recommend reading this in print, so that if you're interested in the ideas, you can skim most of it, particularly the first half. Or good lord, get this guy a ferocious editor, he's in desperate need of help.