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Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder | [Nassim Nicholas Taleb]

Antifragile: Things That Gain 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 Nassim Nicholas Taleb (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"[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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    S. Salazar Canada 03-07-13
    S. Salazar Canada 03-07-13 Member Since 2013

    Cartel

    ratings
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    10
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    "Another Mind Bending Masterpiece"
    Where does Antifragile rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Taleb has been my favorite author the past 3 years running. I found this latest piece to be another well thought through, consequential, mind bender in the tradition of his previous Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness instalments. My only misgivings with this present work is his medical assertions e.g. describing ADHD kids as needing to be let out of their cage, or his experience of overcoming a back injury without needing surgery. For anyone in my field these arguments erode his credibility as much as Jenny McCarthy claiming immunizations cause autism. He would have been well served to discuss his medical ideas with my peers prior to putting pen to paper or stick to examples from his field of expertise in finance. Otherwise, another bloody good book!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Randomness.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    N/A


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    N/A


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fred LAKE OSWEGO, OR, United States 03-04-13
    fred LAKE OSWEGO, OR, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm Trying to see the world with my ears.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is one of the best books I have read"

    Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
    This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It deals with a difficult subject honestly and prompted me to think about the issues surrounding quality of life. Be warned, not a book to read on public transport unless you don't mind having an emotional melt down in public!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lance 02-19-13
    Lance 02-19-13 Member Since 2012

    I listen to learn, gain new perspectives, and grow

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The free minds guide to statistical probability"
    What made the experience of listening to Antifragile the most enjoyable?

    The fictional Characters in the book might throw you off at first, but as the book moves along it really helps you follow his talking points and makes the book very enjoyable given it relatively dry subject matter


    What about Joe Ochman’s performance did you like?

    Very well read!


    Any additional comments?

    The majority of the book goes over blind spots or subjective fallacies that the majority of the population holds. He makes you aware of these blinds spots in a very methodical way using great examples that will definitively stick with you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BRUCE 02-10-13
    BRUCE 02-10-13
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    "Maybe not so original"

    Three general thoughts about this book:

    1. It was generally interesting (although not concise), and made me think about investments in new ways.

    2. He claims that his "antifragile" idea is so original, there is no word for it in any of the major languages. The problem with this claim is that any serious student of the Bible will recognize his "new" idea as the old "refiner's fire." Difficulties and hardships help us to grow and improve.

    3. It would be better to read this book. LIstening when driving in traffic makes it difficult to give it the level of concentration it deserves.

    Finally, he must have been dropped on his head by an academic when he was a baby. He has a level of animosity towards them that makes me grin, but seems unjustified.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan York, PA, United States 01-14-13
    Nathan York, PA, United States 01-14-13
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    2
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    "I strongly recommend this book"
    What made the experience of listening to Antifragile the most enjoyable?

    Even if I had anything negative to say about this book (which I don't), those negative things would further draw your attention to this book!


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    There were a lot of comparisons to the markets of today I liked.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Nero and Fat Tony's views of the current economic situation.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, it made me re-evaluate my thinking about the world and how I can better myself by living a less risky life by having the right KIND of risk.


    Any additional comments?

    The only negative thing I have to say is that the author promotes his profession as a writer more than I cared to hear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luca uitikon, Switzerland 01-14-13
    Luca uitikon, Switzerland 01-14-13 Member Since 2006

    physicist, 65 yo, interested in general science, history, philosophy, good fiction, atheism, business, economy, war

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    "very disappointed."
    Would you try another book from Nassim Nicholas Taleb and/or Joe Ochman?

    never


    What was most disappointing about Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s story?

    no substance. no analysis. no deepening. just repetitions and platitudes.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment. waste of time and money.


    Any additional comments?

    I was motivated to by buy the book by an interview with Mr. Taleb in "The Economist"

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William 01-13-13
    William 01-13-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Taleb's books are the ones I recommend the most"

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb has an abrasive personality which comes through very strongly in his writing. A lot of people will be turned off by that, but if you can get past that and really listen to his ideas you will be rewarded with well though out ideas that are presented in an easy to understand way. His books should not be considered light reading, you will need to spend time thinking about them to digest the ideas! I love his books and look forward to each new one. You may not agree with everything he says but his books will get your juices flowing and get you thinking. What more can you ask for from a book?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Indianapolis, IN, United States 01-12-13
    J Indianapolis, IN, United States 01-12-13 Member Since 2003
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    "I want tobe antifragile. This make too much sense!"
    Would you listen to Antifragile again? Why?

    Yes, I need too.


    What other book might you compare Antifragile to and why?

    The Drunkards Walk
    Black Swan (of course)


    Have you listened to any of Joe Ochman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I must have. They all read better than I do.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His overall strength of purpose and his wellingness to tell some "want to bees" to kiss off was good for him .


    Any additional comments?

    Listen and observe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Green Cupertino, CA, United States 01-07-13
    Green Cupertino, CA, United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2015
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    25
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    "Powerful ideas shared in a good story"
    Would you listen to Antifragile again? Why?

    I might listen to some parts that I want to 'go over' again. Most of the book is relative easy but some ideas worth a second visit.


    What other book might you compare Antifragile to and why?

    The black swan is similar in the way of telling the ideas using stories.


    Which character – as performed by Joe Ochman – was your favorite?

    Fat Tony from Brooklyn.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherwood Kamakura, Japan, Japan 01-05-13
    Sherwood Kamakura, Japan, Japan 01-05-13 Member Since 2006
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    5
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    "Interesting, insightful, and thought-provoking"
    What made the experience of listening to Antifragile the most enjoyable?

    The definition of Anti-fragility and consideration of this new concept in a wide range of contexts.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The logical definition of a vastly under-appreciated concept followed by persuasive examples of the many contexts in which it apples, including human physiology, biology more broadly, investment decisions, and macro-economics.


    Have you listened to any of Joe Ochman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Robustness is not the opposite of fragility.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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