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
The hottest thinker in the world (Bryan Appleyard The Sunday Times)
A superhero of the mind (Boyd Tonkin)
Wall Street's principal dissident (Malcolm Gladwell)
A guru for every would-be Damien Hirst, George Soros and aspirant despot (John Cornwell Sunday Times)
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)
Modern life is akin to a chronic stress injury. And the way to combat it is to embrace randomness in all its forms. . . Taleb is 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)