Synopses & Reviews
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.
“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.”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
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.