Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Front Cover
Random House, Nov 27, 2012 - Business & Economics - 519 pages
30 Reviews
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world.

Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish.

In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better.

Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call “efficient” not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of the Titanic save lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. 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 loud and clear.

Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.

Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb's message is revolutionary: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it.

Praise for Antifragile

“Taleb takes on everything from the mistakes of modern architecture to the dangers of meddlesome doctors and how overrated formal education is. . . . An ambitious and thought-provoking read . . . highly entertaining.”—The Economist

“This is a bold, entertaining, clever book, richly crammed with insights, stories, fine phrases and intriguing asides. . . . I will have to read it again. And again.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[Taleb] writes as if he were the illegitimate spawn of David Hume and Rev. Bayes, with some DNA mixed in from Norbert Weiner and Laurence Sterne. . . . Taleb is writing original stuff—not only within the management space but for readers of any literature—and . . . you will learn more about more things from this book and be challenged in more ways than by any other book you have read this year. Trust me on this.”—Harvard Business Review

“By far my favorite book among several good ones published in 2012. In addition to being an enjoyable and interesting read, Taleb's new book advances general understanding of how different systems operate, the great variation in how they respond to unthinkables, and how to make them more adaptable and agile. His systemic insights extend very well to company-specific operational issues—from ensuring that mistakes provide a learning process to the importance of ensuring sufficient transparency to the myriad of specific risk issues.”—Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of PIMCO, Bloomberg
  

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Distilled brilliance

User Review  - Aashith Gaurav - Flipkart

If you're a fan of his previous work, this is like a Capstone book to cover all the previous ones. He brings in various concepts from Fooled by Randomness, Black Swan, among others and binds it in a ... Read full review

Review: Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

User Review  - Stephen Antczak - Goodreads

Very interesting, if at times the author's personal preferences seem to cloud his judgment about certain things (like Paleo eating). Read full review

Contents

Prologue
3
Chapter
14
The Triad or A Map of the World and Things
20
THE ANTIFRAGILE AN INTRODUCTION
29
Overcompensation and Overreaction Everywhere
41
The Cat and the Washing Machine
54
What Kills Me Makes Others Stronger
65
BOOK MODERNITY AND THE DENIAL 0F ANTIFRAGILITY
83
Fat Tony Debates Socrates
249
THE NONLINEAR AND THE NONLINEAR
263
The Philosophers Stone and Its Inverse 2 90
290
VIA NEGATIVA
301
Time and Fragility
309
Medicine Convexity and Opacity
336
To Live Long but Not Too Long
357
THE ETHICS OF FRAGILITY AND ANTIFRAGILITY
373

Tell Them I Love Some Randomness
100
Naive Intervention
110
Prediction as a Child of Modernity
134
A NONPREDICTIVE VIEW OF THE WORLD
141
Senecas Upside and Downside
151
Never Marry the Rock Star
159
OPTIONALITY TECHNOLOGY AND
169
Lecturing Birds on How to Fly
187
Chapter 17
193
When Two Things Are Not the Same Thing
202
Chapter 2b Fitting Ethics to a Profession
407
Chapter 25 Conclusion
421
Glossary
427
Appendix I
435
Appendix II
447
Additional Notes Afterthoughls and Further Reading
457
Bibliography
505
133
510
251
516
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Nassim Nicholas Taleb has devoted his life to problems of uncertainty, probability, and knowledge. He spent nearly two decades as a businessman and quantitative trader before becoming a full-time philosophical essayist and academic researcher in 2006. Although he spends most of his time in the intense seclusion of his study, or as a flâneur meditating in cafés, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. His main subject matter is “decision making under opacity”—that is, a map and a protocol on how we should live in a world we don't understand.

Taleb's books have been published in thirty-three languages.

Bibliographic information