Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
|Penguin Random House
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the writer of The Black Swan once again presents us with an interesting and original theory in Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. In The Black Swan, Taleb argued that certain large-scale, improbable events such as WWI cannot be predicted. As human beings, we keep trying to figure out what will happen in the future based on what's happening now, but the narrative keeps changing and fools us all.
In Antifragile, he suggests that there are certain things that are the opposite of fragile. They're not merely robust or resilient because this would mean that they take negative impacts but survive through them. Antifragile things don't just survive negative impacts; they grow and benefit from them. He gives several examples of this kind of thinking which applies in people's personal lives as well as in society as a whole.
Taleb points out that the actions of overprotective parents can result in a child actually becoming weaker rather than stronger, and patients who are constantly visiting the doctor can end up being more sickly. If you look at the larger picture, a banking system with many small banks turns out to be stronger or "antifragile" when compared to one big bank. From this point of view, small is often better and more resilient than big. Whereas a tree may get uprooted in a storm, grasses survive because they can bend in the breeze.
What you end up taking away from Taleb's book is a healthy tendency to take manageable risks, try many new things and generally enjoy the chaos that is a part of life.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a Lebanese-American who was born in Lebanon to a physician and oncologist and a researcher in anthropology. His family has played a prominent role in Lebanese politics, with his grandfather and great-grandfather being deputy Prime Ministers. He attended the University of Paris where he got his Bachelor's and earned an MBA at the Wharton School at UPenn. Then he returned to Paris and got his Ph.D. in Management Science. He has taught at Oxford University and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. He has also worked as a Wall Street trader and a hedge fund manager.
|Nassim Nicholas Taleb