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Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder…

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (2012)

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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1,600507,349 (3.8)8
"The acclaimed author of the influential bestseller The Black Swan, Nicholas Nassim Taleb takes a next big step with a deceptively simple concept: the "antifragile." Like the Greek hydra that grows two heads for each one it loses, people, systems, and institutions that are antifragile not only withstand shocks, they benefit from them. In a modern world dominated by chaos and uncertainty, Antifragile is a revolutionary vision from one of the most subversive and important thinkers of our time. Praise for Nicholas Nassim Taleb "[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 "Changed my view of how the world works."--Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate"--"Examples of Antifragility: When you stress your body by lifting a big weight, your body gets stronger. New York has the best restaurants in the world because particular restaurants are always going bust, making the aggregate stronger and stronger, or antifragile. Evolution is antifragile. Certain business and investment strategies are antifragile. Older things tend to be more antifragile than newer ones - because they've been exposed to more Black Swans"--… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
So repetitive and self-righteous I couldn't finish it.
I really wanted to like this book, because I am fascinated by its thesis. The idea that certain systems (perhaps ideal systems) are strengthened by strain, the way muscles build over time in a deliberate training program.

But Taleb's book is so preoccupied with his own story, his grievances, and settling scores that I found it unlistenable. It's never a good sign when someone writing a book devotes significant passages to arguing that he is not an academic and to attacking the straw man of academics.

Read a summary, skip the book. ( )
  jscape2000 | Nov 11, 2019 |
Very long winded author. Keep repeating some points and in a way, he is telling others how he is right while others are wrong.

Also, I am not entirely convinced by his definition on the antonym of 'fragile'. according to him, the answer is not robust or resilience but antifragile. However, I think the word 'antifragile' represents thriving, perseverance and adaptibility to the author. Unfortunately, the picture cover of this book does not represent antifragility. How can it be antifragile when it is the easiest box to topple down?

Lots of examples, well researched but hard to read. Basically, if you read the title, author believes that we can gain more from random and disorder events rather than following certain boring plans.

According to author, meeting a snake and conquering it makes you strong while constantly getting scolded by boss makes you weak. However, I think we should just build resilience and not care about all these small details.

Some good learning points like your situation is good if you gain more from random events, barbell strategy, optionality, payoff from randomness and don't be a tourist. ( )
  Wendy_Wang | Sep 28, 2019 |
This is a must-read. It was particularly enjoyable directly following Taleb's previous work The Black Swan because you get to watch how his thinking and ideas evolved beyond those expressed in TBS.

Some of his ideas aren't new but he does present a few novel interpretations and syntheses I'd never read or thought about before. There is a lot in common with Jacob Lund Fisker's philosophy about the "renaissance ideal" (I recommend reading him too).

I appreciated the amount of time and heart he clearly put into his book, too. Writing with an eye towards accessibility for all people with more technical material in the appendixes and generous references, including a good glossary, and a bit of a topic-oriented credit section. This book is polished.

Taleb, at least in his books, is very consistent with his own philosophy about calling out fraud and people who are harmful. Whether they are or not, I do not fully know, but I like that an author is willing to be consistent with his own personal philosophy in a medium that is difficult to reverse - skin in the game, as he says.

Absolutely worth the read and I will be re-reading this book again as it's chock-full of good ideas and the character behind the writing is a lot of to read. ( )
  pspringmeyer | Aug 29, 2019 |
This book is okay. I didn't think it was phenomenal or anything, mostly because I kept becoming distracted while I was reading it. He probably mentions it at one point, but I don't know what a "Black Swan" is at all. It refers to one of his older books, but I haven't read that one yet at all. So a lot of the time I am lost while he is talking about one thing or another.

His reference to "Fat Tony" also puzzles me. I mean, does he mean the Simpsons mafia boss character? Did he make this person up? Is he using him just to demonstrate a point, or is there really a Fat Tony that made a killing on Kuwait Oil speculation? Maybe I need to read this again and pay more attention. I did enjoy the stuff that I understood, but at the same time, it starts to meander for me, and that is never good.

On the other hand, I bought this for $6.98 since it was in the bargain area, so ka-ching. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
Taleb's writing is hard to pin down. Currently, I'm of the mind that he's a mixture of Montaigne, Seneca, Burke, and Kanye West. The form of the book, hard to summarize and jumping from observation, to studies to personal anecdotes reminds of Montaigne's Essays. Taleb's style, of both venerating Nature, and mocking mathematical models while showing that he is more than capable of playing the field himself is totally Seneca. His staunch opposition against naive interventionism is heavily Burkean. I happen to agree with his warnings against top down meddling of complex systems that we don't understand. Rather than assume that systems are like machines with adjustable knobs, he advocates tinkering slowly to discover via experience what works. Although an admirer of science, Taleb reminds us not to carry the metaphor too far when it comes to social affairs. Taleb's also a bit Kanye, he says what he means, no matter who it offends. Put together, it's a highly enjoyable read. Usually, I take one or two lessons out of a book; this book is the exception. I can honestly say that Taleb with Black Swan and now with Anti-Fragile has changed the way I think and approach questions. That's what every book should strive to do. ( )
  vhl219 | Jun 1, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Sometimes Nassim Nicholas Taleb is led astray by his contrarianism, but then that is his point: If you don't take risks, you don't get results. This is a bold, entertaining, clever book, richly crammed with insights, stories, fine phrases and intriguing asides. Does it achieve its goal, or does it cram and twist the world on to a Procrustean bed of one theory, thereby somewhat contradicting its own empirical and pragmatic outlook? I am not sure. I will have to read it again. And again.
added by Taphophile13 | editWall Street Journal, Matt Ridley (Nov 27, 2012)
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1846141567, 1846141575

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