Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Things that Gain from Disorder

In Antifragile, Nassim Taleb develops the idea that the opposite of fragility is NOT robustness. While fragile entities will break in chaotic environments, robust entities merely resist change. Taleb elaborates on the concept of antifragility - or things that grow in response to chaos.

Antifragile concept

Just as the bones in the human body get sturdier as they are exposed to stress and strain and gossip or feelings of unrest intensify when there are efforts enacted to repress them, most aspects of life ultimately benefit from stress, chaos, instability, and unrest. What Taleb has identified in Antifragile and gives the book its title is the group of items that not only improve from chaos but more importantly require it as they work to endure and even prosper in the modern world.

In The Black Swan, Taleb described how there are highly unlikely and erratic events that motivate almost every aspect of our world. In Antifragile, Taleb takes that uncertainty and stands it on its head, causing it to appear desirable, often necessary, and proposes that most parts of the world should be built in an antifragile manner to handle these stresses and strains. The antifragile concept goes beyond the tough or strong provisions typically used to counteract these forces. The tough approach aims to resist shock and then remains the same while the antifragile desires to continually go through processes that enable progression.

The antifragile is a concept that aims to be immune to errors in prediction that are so common while additionally being protected from adverse events that are inevitable. Antifragile is then a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.

Most non-fiction books are written around one good idea, Antifragile, however, has multiple ground-breaking ideas that take time to soak in and be applied as a mental model. Learned, humorous, and revolutionary, Taleb’s meaning is radical: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will survive the test of time.

Check out Taleb's website here.