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Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto) Kindle Edition
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More About the Author
He now spends most of his time in the intense seclusion of his study, or as a flâneur meditating in cafés. In addition to his life as a trader he spend several years as an academic researcher ( Distinguished Professor at New York University's School of Engineering, Dean's Professor at U. Mass Amherst).
He is the author of the Incerto (latin for uncertainty), accessible in any order (Antifragile, The Black Swan, The Bed of Procrustes, and Fooled by Randomness) plus a freely available technical version, Silent Risk. Taleb has also published close to 45 academic and scholarly papers as a backup, technical footnotes to the Incerto in topics ranging from Statistical Physics to International affairs. Taleb's books have more than 100 translations in 35 languages.
Taleb believes that prizes, honorary degrees, awards, and ceremonialism debase knowledge by turning it into a spectator sport.
""Imagine someone with the erudition of Pico de la Mirandola, the skepticism of Montaigne, solid mathematical training, a restless globetrotter, polyglot, enjoyer of fine wines, specialist of financial derivatives, irrepressible reader, and irascible to the point of readily slapping a disciple." La Tribune (Paris)
A giant of Mediterranean thought ... Now the hottest thinker in the world", London Times
"The most prophetic voice of all" GQ
Top Customer Reviews
Taleb conveniently quotes one of his friend's summary of this book: "Everything gains or loses from volatility. Fragility is what loses from volatility and uncertainty."
I think the point is better expressed by rephrasing: "Antifragility is what gains from volatility and uncertainty, up to a point. And being antifragile is a good thing."
Well, that's pretty much summarizes this 500-pages-long book. The rest is an accumulation of more or less relevant topics, delivered in Taleb's trademarked seering, holier-than-thou, hero-or-moron style. Why, even in "Dynamic hedging", his first, $100-book on trading exotic options, he was already both immensely entertaining and almost unbearably infuriating.
1.2 A few of the more interesting points:
1.2.1 Every phenomenon in the world belongs to one of the following categories:
Fragile: vulnerable to unforeseen shocks
Robust: indifferent to shocks
Antifragile: thrive on shocks, up to a point.
That's what Taleb calls the Triad.
1.2.2 Most modern structures are inherently fragile
Salaried employment: while it looks safe on the surface (predictable salary every month) it is subject to the catastrophic risk of losing one's job.
Debt-fueled economies: debt has no flexibility, so these economies can't stand even a slowdown without risking implosion (cf current situation)
Modern societies: efficiency demands are pushing the structures to the maximum, so a little sand in the cogs make the whole edifice totter.
Touristification: turning adventures (kids growing up, people visiting foreign countries) from exciting, dangerous activities into bland, Disneyfied and safe ones.Read more ›
Taleb's third and most commercially successful book, The Black Swan, and this one (which may become his most successful), lay out his ideas in more breadth and depth. The three in the first paragraph are relatively non-controversial. They are critical mainly of people who are safe to ridicule, those who are blind to the uncertainty in the universe in fields that are ruled by randomness, such as finance. The Black Swan and Antifragile attack--in the most intemperate language--people, ideas and professions accustomed to reflexive worship. The attacks are vigorous and directed at the core beliefs that underpin large areas of modern life.
These latter two books are more difficult to read.Read more ›
The main point of the book is that the World is really complex and genuinely unpredictable. Black Swans (rare) events will always be Black Swans. Any efforts to forecast such events are counterproductive. But, even though we can't forecast Black Swan events we can manage our exposure to them so they don't hurt us or so we can even benefit from them (antifragility). If we simply remain long the underlying risk by attempting to model Black Swan infested variables, we will be exposed to volatility and fail (fragility).
The main underlying concepts are that the majority of causal relationships are nonlinear. They typically have both a convex section where the curve rises exponentially upward and is associated with a positive effect (antifragile) and a concave section that declines exponentially downward and has a negative effect (fragile). Think of the dose of a prescription drug. At first, as you increase the dose the health benefits improve (convexity). But, beyond a certain dose side effects and toxicity cause harm (concavity). This is shown on the first page of the "graphical tour." The trick is to reduce one's exposure to the concave part of the curve (reduce toxicity, reduce fragility) and increase exposure the the convex part (increase benefit, increase antifragility).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thought provoking and very appropriate to the current environment of uncertainty and complexity. Ignore Taleb's message at your peril.Published 21 hours ago by Colin Mitchell
Yet another book by Taleb, interesting and intelligent in context, that gets completely drowned out by a persistent egotistical derisive rant. We get it! Read morePublished 2 days ago by Stephen
The best book I havê read these past years. A big eye opener. I particularly like the journey the author takes us beyond the pages of the book. Read morePublished 3 days ago by mg
I really like Taleb's way of seeing things....expanded the way my mind works....I'm more of a mystic, so sometimes
I miss the spaces beyond this accepted reality in the book,... Read more
This author is a peddler of glib, "anti-knowledge," agnotology. Personally, I'd avoid such charlatans. Read morePublished 6 days ago by W. Jamil
Nassim Taleb is fighting and beginning to win a war with the experimental statisticians. You will be able to instantly recognize when you read something that the thinking in it has... Read morePublished 7 days ago by abbeysbooks
It is still sinking in and I probably need to go back and read it again. I am interested in risk/risk management. Antifragile shows me how to think about risk in a different way. Read morePublished 8 days ago
Terrific book. Great insights, engaging and entertaining. Addresses subjects from weight lifting to finance to politics. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Peter H
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