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Antifragile: what can Gain from Disorder (Incerto)?  And Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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.

I have reviewed and developed on the Black Swan theory in several articles https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/part-1-black-swan-model-can-rare-catastrophic-events-of-man-made-systems-be-controlled/

Black Swan is a term coined after discovering a black swan a couple of years ago.  People firmly believed that all swans were white:  A few might have observed a black swan but refused to identify it as a swan; or black swans are common sight in particular regions and people had no idea that black swans are considered rarity all over the world and might be purchased for their weight in gold to be raised in zoos!

You know the adage: “If an event can occur, it will happen“, meaning, it does not matter how low the predicted probability of occurrence of the rare events, it will strike “unexpectedly”.

If there is a chance in a million for an asteroid to smash onto earth, an asteroid will fall on our head: Asteroid did fall and transform earth several times in the last four billion years.

Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many phenomena 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.

The Black Swan theory states: “In complex systems, especially man-made complex systems, it is not feasible to comprehend all the interactions among the hundred of variables affecting outcomes. In man-made systems, we have to allow natural fluctuations that are at work.

The rare predicted calamitous events  will strike unexpectedly, and we will fail to react accordingly and adequately if we consciously avoid to consistently take them into consideration in our analysis and reports.”

The unexpected events cannot be analyzed as odds in card games or casino games:  Human behavior with thousands of variability in moods, emotions, conventions, conviction, personal experiences… cannot be predicted as games are.

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.

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.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb said:

The most rewarding moment in an author’s career. Finally, I am no longer the author of several books. I am now the author of a single book in 4 volumes: INCERTO, plus technical companions.

Why does it matter? I don’t know, but it is a big, very big deal to see your work as a single large coherent and self contained unit, to which you keep adding pieces to, ultimately, leave very few stones unturned

   

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2020
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