Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder Hardcover – Nov 27 2012
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
“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
“[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
About the Author
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.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
The main argument: The concept of fragility is very familiar to us. It applies to things that break when you strike or stretch them with a relatively small amount of force. Porcelain cups and pieces of thread are fragile. Things that do not break so easily when you apply force or stress to them we call strong or resilient, even robust. A cast-iron pan, for instance. However, there is a third category here that is often overlooked. It includes those things that actually get stronger or improve when they are met with a stressor (up to a point). Take weight-lifting. If you try to lift something too heavy, you’ll tear a muscle; but lifting more appropriate weights will strengthen your muscles over time. This property can be said to apply to living things generally, as in the famous aphorism ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Strangely, we don’t really have a word for this property, this opposite of fragility.
For author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, this is a major oversight, for when we look closely, it turns out that a lot of things (indeed the most important things) have, or are subject to, this property. Indeed, for Taleb, all that lives, and all the complex things that these living things create (like societies, economic systems, businesses etc.) have, or must confront this property in some way. This is important to know, because understanding this can help us understand how to design and approach these things (and profit from them), and failing to understand it can cause us to unwittingly harm or even destroy them (and be harmed by them).Read more ›
The material content of the book is exceptional. To quote a line from the concluding chapter, "everything gains or loses from volatility". Something that losses from volatility is fragile. Anything that gains from volatility is antifragile. That is the basic idea, on which the book is based. Taleb then backs up his thoughts, with all sorts of historic and scientific examples. There is no set pattern to Taleb`s data. The reader can expect to figuratively speaking, be thrown in all directions.
One can look forward to an entertaining read, despite Taleb`s swagger. This book receives a very high recommendation.
What’s the opposite of fragility? Most people say robustness, resilience, or strength. Most people, says Taleb, are wrong. Fragility is to be weakened by uncertainty or volatility, while resilience is to be unaffected by volatility. What we need is something strengthened by volatility and change – something antifragile.
In antiquity, Taleb points out, he would rather be the hydra which regrew two heads when one was cut off, rather than the phoenix, which rose identical from the ashes when destroyed, or the Gordian Knot, which fell apart at the first unexpected shock (a sword, to be specific). It’s not enough to ignore volatility; we must love volatility.
That, in a nutshell, is Antifragile. Like all the best ideas, it’s a simple idea with immediate, important, and interesting consequences. In particular, Taleb argues that the modern world, in its quest for efficiency and optimization, has ignored the effects of volatility. As a result, shocks (Black Swans) have catastrophic consequences. When one hits, however, we ask the wrong question. We demand to know why we failed to predict the housing bubble or disease outbreak, instead of asking ourselves why we built a system that is tremendously vulnerable to such shocks.
Instead of eliminating centralization and vulnerability in our systems, like big corporations or big bureaucracies, however, we keep trying to predict the future, an endeavor doomed to failure. Shocks, as Taleb has argued in other books, are rare, and so attempting to predict them is impossible because they happen so rarely – we never have enough data points to draw conclusions. (For the economists reading, he believes in fat tails).Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Loved this book. A very interesting way to look at things. I've ordered the other standalone books in the series and that will hopefully fill in some of the background that he... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Andy Wakelin
Informative, anecdotal, entertaining: a mindset book. The newer edition comes packaged with the three other books in the Incerto series (and the price is right) but, if you're only... Read morePublished 4 months ago by TheSphinx
More elaboration in the dichotomy of fragile/antifragile in life. Pleasant reading and plenty of everyday life examples for defining better the notion of antifragile(different from... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Vladimir Gjylameti
Some great points and a great history of antifragile patterns, but author was very unfocused throughout the book and often got distracted insulting economists and other groups he... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Tyler D
Probably the hardest book to review.
Who should read it? Everyone. Why? It will change the way you see the world, in a good way. Read more
As a CEO of a financial publishing firm and an analytical, I want to thank Nassim for his blood sweat and tears in his study. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kindle Customer