Learn the key ideas of the book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antifragile

Learning to see the advantage in disorder

Antifragile takes us on a journey into a world of causality and uncertainty, two key aspects of human existence that the modern world seems to want to sweep under the carpet. Nassim Nicholas Taleb helps us discover the concept of antifragility as a necessary quality through which to derive advantage from the trauma and shocks that life inevitably throws our way. Someone who is antifragile will not look to lock their existence into a fixed and predictable plan, but will ride the waves of opportunity, going with the flow, they will learn to expect the unexpected, and will use disorder as a tool to grow and to improve.

Antifragile
Read in 16 min.
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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand that chance and uncertainty are important for the development of a healthy socio-economic system.
  • Awaken us to the fact that standardised education is not able to generate innovation.
  • Identify which professions are “antifragile” and derive advantage from trauma and shock.

The author of the book:

Before becoming famous for his work as a philosopher, essayist and researcher, Nassim Nicholas Taleb was a trader and a businessman. He has dedicated studies and research to the concepts of randomness and probability. Taleb is the author of Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness, bestselling books that have been translated into 33 languages. Black Swan was listed by the Sunday Times as one of the books that changed the world. Born in Lebanon, with American citizenship, he teaches at the Polytechnic of the University of New York. 

IDEA CHIAVE 1/15

Understanding the concept of antifragility through mythology: Damocles, the phoenix and the Hydra

The opposite of fragile is not robust, as we might think, neither is it solid, or resistant, but “antifragile”, a buzzword that indicates something or someone capable of withstanding trauma and shocks and able to draw benefit from them.

Ancient mythology offers us three examples of fragile, robust and antifragile. The first of our three characters is Damocles; he was an example of fragility, in that he was allowed to take part in a sumptuous banquet, while a sword hung over his head, tied to the ceiling by a horsehair. Damocles was fragile because that horse hair was sure to break sooner or later, it was simply a matter of time.

The phoenix on the other hand, was a robust creature, because it had the power to rise from the ashes, and to be reborn exactly as it was before, without evolving in any way.

The Hydra was similar to a reptile, with several heads, and each time one of its heads was chopped off, two grew back in its place. It was an antifragile creature because it was able to derive benefits from being harmed.

The more societies evolve and become complex, the more they are exposed to strong trauma and cycles of collapse, and this phenomenon is inevitable, so to counterbalance success, we need a large dose of robustness and a heavy sprinkling of antifragility. If we deprive a system of stress factors, we are in fact doing it more harm than good. We need to aspire to be like the Phoenix or the Hydra, otherwise, sooner or later, the sword of Damocles will strike us.

  

The key ideas of "Antifragile"

01.
Understanding the concept of antifragility through mythology: Damocles, the phoenix and the Hydra
02.
True innovation is not created in situations of ease and security
03.
Unpredictability is necessary if we want to lead an authentic life and truly feel human
04.
Fragile entrepreneurs are essential for an antifragile economy
05.
Unpredictability allows systems to improve while stability can prove to be destructive
06.
Naive intervention: when the need to help does more harm than good
07.
Seneca the philosopher: an example of antifragility
08.
Optionality is an essential tool for antifragility and innovation
09.
Education does not lead to wealth and does not teach the value of optionality
10.
We are fragile when we are hit hard by extreme events
11.
The negative path: it is better to take away than to add
12.
The old is superior to the new
13.
We are not here to live forever
14.
Quotes
15.
Take-home message
 
 
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