Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don't Understand

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don't Understand

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, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls antifragile are things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. 3.3 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don't Understand

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Hardback
Pages 544
RRP
Date of Publication November 2012
ISBN 978-1846141560
Publisher Allen Lane
 

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, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls antifragile are things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish.

John Crace's Digested Read | Guardian

Reviews

The Spectator

William Leith

Brilliant … This is a lovely book to read; there’s an idea on pretty much every page. In brief: we can’t control the world. And we’ll never learn anything by pretending we can.

08/12/2012

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The Economist

The Economist

He overstretches the argument and is not as iconoclastic as he likes to think. There is a lot of familiar-sounding praise for Steve Jobs and the warnings about the dangers of stability will be well known to followers of Hyman Minsky. The valid reasons why people become employees (pensions, say) or companies become bigger, such as economies of scale, are skated over. But this is an ambitious and thought-provoking read. It is also a highly entertaining one, thanks to Mr Taleb’s in-your-face nature.

17/11/2012

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The Financial Times

Gillian Tett

In the end, it is the very simplicity of his core idea that makes Antifragile so appealing — and powerful. It remains to be seen whether his idea of the antifragile will ever influence policymakers on a large scale. Although it is relatively easy for our bodies to experience small amounts of stress and pain in order to become stronger (by going to the gym, for example) we cannot deliver similar training for the economy as a whole.

23/11/2012

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The Independent

Boyd Tonkin

Taleb can be vulgar, silly, slapdash and infuriating ... On many pages I felt the urge to fling this hefty volume (which of course he much prefers to the "fragile" modern rubbish of e-readers) on a non-random path towards his swollen head. Yet time and again I returned to two questions about his core ideas: Is he right, and does it matter? My verdict? Yes, and yes.

24/11/2012

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The Times

Ed Smith

Antifragile may well capture a quality that you have long aspired to without having known quite what it is. I saw the world afresh — not quite through Taleb’s eyes, but through an enhanced version of my own. Isn’t that response a decent summary of the challenge facing a philosopher?

12/11/2012

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The Sunday Telegraph

Nicholas Blincoe

Antifragile has annoyed fans of Taleb’s earlier works because, in turning away from statistics, his thought has become baggier, bombastic and often preposterous. Nevertheless, his work exerts a strange pull … Taleb is an outsider in a business of outsiders, and if he is lobbing grenades at the power in the centre – well that’s the point.

03/12/2012

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Times Higher Education

Omar Malik

His publisher has failed him, and his readers, badly. At half the length and more carefully presented, Antifragile would have been twice as good. Obviously Times Higher Education is an august publication that would never advocate violence. However. Should Taleb choose to give his publisher a well-deserved thump, I hope that he will give him another from me. And one from each reader of this engrossing, infuriating book.

06/12/2012

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The Sunday Times

Sam Leith

If there weren’t a really good idea at the centre of this — or, at least, the general form of a good argument applied with totalising zeal across a whole series of discrete fields — it would read like what I can only call Something on the Internet. Not being a mathematician, I can’t speak to the technical appendices; but I can say that, looking at this book as a self-professedly literary artefact, it’s a complete shambles. If only he’d been “anti­fragile” to one of the things he’s proudest of scorning: the attentions of an editor.

18/11/2012

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The Literary Review

David Bodanis

Taleb seems angry at a substantial fraction of the population of planet Earth. He expresses a strong dislike for soccer moms, bankers, Washington Post copy editors, New York Times columnists, all political scientists, most economists, any ‘overachieving hotshot’ with a long CV, traders who dress formally, hi-tech entrepreneurs who dress informally, and many — very many — others. The intensity is almost embarrassing ... Were this isolated from the rest of Taleb’s analysis, it wouldn’t really matter. But such ill ease propels this otherwise sensible man into wild generalisations, which undermine his attempts at making this a serious book.

01/12/2012

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The Guardian

David Runciman

If the idea is nice and neat ... the book that houses it is just the opposite. It is a big, baggy, sprawling mess … what we get are lots of personal reminiscences buttressed by the ideas of the few thinkers he respects, almost all of whom happen to be his friends. The result is both solipsistic and ultimately dispiriting ... The other difficulty is that too many of the ideas contained here appear thin and brittle rather than rich and flexible: fragile rather than antifragile.

24/11/2012

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