From the best-selling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a book on how some things actually benefit from disorder.
In The Black Swan Taleb outlined a problem, and in Antifragile he offers a definitive solution: how to gain from disorder and chaos while being protected from fragilities and adverse events. For what Taleb calls the "antifragile" is actually beyond the robust, because it benefits from shocks, uncertainty, and stressors, just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension. The antifragile needs disorder in order to survive and flourish.
Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is immune to prediction errors. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is everything that is both modern and complicated bound to fail? The audiobook spans innovation by trial and error, health, biology, medicine, life decisions, politics, foreign policy, urban planning, war, personal finance, and economic systems. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are heard loud and clear.
Extremely ambitious and multidisciplinary, Antifragile provides a blueprint for how to behave - and thrive - in a world we don't understand, and which is too uncertain for us to even try to understand and predict. Erudite and witty, Taleb’s message is revolutionary: What is not antifragile will surely perish.
©2012 Nassim Nicholas Taleb (P)2012 Random House Audio
"[This] is the lesson of Taleb...and also the lesson of our volatile times. There is more courage and heroism in defying the human impulse, in taking the purposeful and painful steps to prepare for the unimaginable." (Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point)
"[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne." (The Wall Street Journal)
"The most prophetic voice of all.... [Taleb is] a genuinely significant philosopher...someone who is able to change the way we view the structure of the world through the strength, originality and veracity of his ideas alone." (GQ)
Taleb makes same argument over and over again. except this time he is more impressed with himself.
I have been a member for years. Out of all my reads this just floored me. I am not a sophisticated guy and if your aren't either you will love this Book.
I responded favorably to the decision not to bore general readers with the technical details of making statistical infrences about relationships when the underlying distributions are not assumed to be typical "normal" distributions. I would have liked to have seen more treatment of so-called cascade failure events and what engineering has come up with in their preventative strategies, but I suspect that is more about me than the book.
I appreciated the breadth of issues the author brought to bear.
I'm going to need to listen to this book again to get the full benefits it may have to offer. I went through it the first time too fast, and I did not spend time looking at the .PDF file containing graphics which was made available in support of the text. The next time through I'm going to give the technical issues a much closer "read."
I agree with other reviewers that at times the author spends a little too much energy boosting his own ego, either consciously, or more likely simply as an unconscious manifestation of his life experiences and the battles he alluded to in his career. I may even take the time to dig up some of the more collaborative scholarly papers referenced in this book and track down related research in my field of social organization which focuses on organizational design and organizational structures.
I'm willing to allow the possibility that some life-altering truth might be contained in Mr. Taleb's latest. But I'll never get to it -- at 50 minutes in, I'm throwing in the towel. In a book such as this, within an hour one might hope for some concrete discussion of the author's thesis. What we get here is little more than a screed, a polemic against academics, most of business, government -- actually, pretty much everybody except for Mr. Taleb. We're forced to endure a never-ending stream of straw man arguments and ad hominem attacks, delivered with a ceaseless contempt that is wearying -- and a bit disturbing. On this point, Mr. Ochman shines -- the author's contempt and anger are unflinchingly delivered.
The thesis that emerges -- to the extent it is allowed to -- seems to be that complex systems behave in unpredictable ways, and that efforts to micromanage said systems will inevitably, over time, produce massive failures. Conversely, left to their own devices, unfettered by the hands of bureaucrats, such dynamic systems will prove successful. Oh, and fragile things tend to be, well, fragile.
Who do I see about getting my credit back?
If you are a CEO, Entrepreneur, successful person or have not made it yet, then I don't know what words to use to convince you to read this book.
Arts & Sciences is what I am about. I have no talent for business. I am an amateur photographer with contest wins and places. Work in a hospital lab. Married 41 years.
Good expression. Professional job.
No way this could be a film.
Could have been shorter and still made the important points.
This book is erudite, yet practical. Taleb is the most important thinker to make his mark in this new century. Maybe I am lapsing into hyperbole, but I don't want to understate how powerful this book is. This book lays waste to conventional wisdom and the tired left-right dynamic. Have you ever read a book that challenges the way you see nearly everything?
There is nothing to compare this too. This is the most intense book since Nietszche's Will to Power.
The whole concept of 'skin in the game.' In twenty years this may be the measure of everything.
Lead me to Seneca and Lucretius.
If this site is around 100 years from now, this book will be a bestseller then. Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman will be trivia.
Very near the top
There is incredible insight about the way the world works in this book. It is not a light and breezy read. You have to think and think hard when you read it. So this is a thinking person's book and if that is not what you are looking for then skip it.
This is a very different book than the usual pap you will read so I suggest you make a very value-adding exchange - shell out the price of a lunch and buy this book.
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