Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

ASIN: B0083DJWGO – List $30.00

There is fragile, robust and now – Anti-fragile. What Taleb calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but also needs chaos or stressors in order to survive and flourish.

In Antifragile, Taleb stands the concept of uncertainty is bad – 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, if not destroyed by the shocks, gets better and better.

Furthermore, the antifragile are 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.

You will come to love the discussion between Nero and the horizontal fellow by the name of Fat Tony.  And as hard as the boos was to put down – was also as hard as it was to think about the concepts and see how they have succeed in life and commerce and how they have failed.

I found the comment on health medicine and diet something of great interest as I have lost 45 lbs by doing a few simple things.  1) No food that comes out of a box, 2) very low starch or sugar intake, 3) No gluten – period, 4) Fresh veggies, fruit, nuts, real food oils – like; olive, peanut, or coconut – not corn, soybean, or Canola with red wine in the evening with a book or a movie, 5) Exercise of walking – sprinting when I feel like it and sometime riding a bike – because it pleases me.

I was stunned to read – this health regime – to be nearly exactly duplicated by Taleb though his reasoning and examination of botch and perversely incentivized studies have produced.

Coming from finance – Taleb was able to put to words what I have seen and felt that contracted what I had studied.  I remember I paid for my first big cool car by fading (taking the other side) of Merrill Lynch silver recommendations on the early 80’s.  Merrill Lynch was 12 for 13 wrong and I got a big new car.  My bosses at the time (I was at a competing firm) specifically forbid me from telling clients about my newfound source of excellent trading advice.

Now I am in the filed of Due Diligence seeing all the big firms make the same mistakes as the rules allow for NO creativity or adaptation to a give local market.  This enforced mal-adaptable sets of regulations is only increasing their fragility to stressors – not helping.  I have now seen three financial blow-ups and each time a new set of laws and tomes of regulations were passed to insure it will never happen again.  Go figure – the blow-ups become more severe and frequent with each round of legislation.

This book is a permanent member of my book collection. A book of learning I hope to get my college age children to read a chapter or two so they can argue with orthodoxy.  To be able to argue with an understanding of why one needs to challenge the status quo as opposed to me vague non-illiterated sense of unease.

Thank You – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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