Author(s): Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Antifragile is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don't understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, and The Bed of Procrustes.
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
"Ambitious and thought-provoking . . . highly entertaining."--The Economist
"A bold book explaining how and why we should embrace uncertainty, randomness, and error . . . It may just change our lives."--Newsweek
"Revelatory . . . Taleb] pulls the reader along with the logic of a Socrates."--Chicago Tribune
"Startling . . . richly crammed with insights, stories, fine phrases and intriguing asides . . . I will have to read it again. And again."--Matt Ridley, The Wall Street Journal
"Trenchant and persuasive . . . Taleb's insatiable polymathic curiosity knows no bounds. . . . You finish the book feeling braver and uplifted."--New Statesman
"Antifragility isn't just sound economic and political doctrine. It's also the key to a good life."--Fortune
"At once thought-provoking and brilliant."--Los Angeles Times
Wall Street's principal dissident -- Malcolm Gladwell The hottest thinker in the world -- Bryan Appleyard The Sunday Times A guru for every would-be Damien Hirst, George Soros and aspirant despot -- John Cornwell Sunday Times A superhero of the mind -- Boyd Tonkin Nassim Taleb, in his exasperating but compelling book Antifragile, praises "things that gain from disorder" - people, policies and institutions designed to thrive on volatility, instead of shattering in the encounter with it -- Oliver Burkman Guardian More than just robust or flexible, it actively thrives on disruption -- Julian Baggini Guardian full of important warnings and insights -- Julian Baggini Guardian Modern life is akin to a chronic stress injury. And the way to combat it is to embrace randomness in all its forms...the great seer of the modern age Guardian Something antifragile actively thrives under the impact of the unexpected...to embrace randomness rather than trying to control it The Sunday Times Enduring volatility is one thing; what about benefiting from it?...That is what Taleb calls 'antifragility' and he thinks that it is the ultimate model to aspire to-for individuals, financial institutions, even nations...may well capture a quality that you have long aspired to without having quite known quite what it is...I saw the world afresh The Times 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 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 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 What sometimes goes unsaid about Taleb is that he's a very funny writer. Taleb has a finely tuned BS detector, which he wields throughout the book to debunk pervasive yet pernicious ideas... Antifragility isn't just sound economic and political doctrine. It's also the key to a good life Fortune A new kind of strength...not invincible but better able to handle life's inevitable surprises...such a combination leaves open the possibility of big rewards while minimizing exposure to risk Los Angeles Times At once thought-provoking and brilliant, this book dares you not to read it Los Angeles Times Antifragility is the secret to success in a world full of uncertainty, a system for turning random mutations to lasting advantage... Economist
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a radical and paradoxical philosopher for our times.He has spent his life immersing himself in problems of luck, uncertainty, probability, and knowledge, and he has led three high-profile careers around his ideas, as a man of letters, as a businessman-trader, and as a university professor and researcher. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute.His books Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan have been published in thirty-three languages. Taleb refuses all awards and honours as they debase knowledge by turning it into competitive sports.