Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Things That Gain from Disorder

60%

17 Critic Reviews

A reader could easily run out of adjectives to describe . . . Antifragile. The first ones that come to mind are . . . maddening, bold, repititious . . . indulgent . . . perspicacious.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Antifragile is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, and The Bed of Procrustes.

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, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things 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. 
 
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.
 
Furthermore, 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.
 
Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb’s message is revolutionary: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it.

Praise for Antifragile
 
“Ambitious and thought-provoking . . . highly entertaining.”—The Economist
 
“A bold book explaining how and why we should embrace uncertainty, randomness, and error . . . It may just change our lives.”—Newsweek
 
“Revelatory . . . [Taleb] pulls the reader along with the logic of a Socrates.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“Startling . . . richly crammed with insights, stories, fine phrases and intriguing asides . . . I will have to read it again. And again.”—Matt Ridley, The Wall Street Journal
 
“Trenchant and persuasive . . . Taleb’s insatiable polymathic curiosity knows no bounds. . . . You finish the book feeling braver and uplifted.”—New Statesman
 
“Antifragility isn’t just sound economic and political doctrine. It’s also the key to a good life.”—Fortune
 
“At once thought-provoking and brilliant.”—Los Angeles Times


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb has devoted his life to immersing himself in problems of luck, uncertainty, probability, and knowledge, and he has led three high-profile careers around his ideas, as a man of letters, as a businessman-trader, and as a university professor. Although he spends most of his time as a flâneur, meditating in cafés across the planet, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. His work has been published in thirty-three languages.
 
Published November 27, 2012 by Random House. 544 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Dec 16 2012
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Critic reviews for Antifragile
All: 17 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 7

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Julian Bagginin on Dec 15 2012

The Black Swan author's latest book is full of important warnings and insights – and a whole lot of hubris

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by David Runciman on Nov 21 2012

We do live in a fragile world, vulnerable to extreme shocks. But antifragility is not the solution.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Dec 16 2012

A reader could easily run out of adjectives to describe . . . Antifragile. The first ones that come to mind are . . . maddening, bold, repititious . . . indulgent . . . perspicacious.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by John Brockman on Oct 15 2012

More worldview than rigorous argument, Taleb’s ramblings may strike readers with knowledge-shknowledge as ill-considered.

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Wall Street Journal

Good
Reviewed by Matt Ridley on Nov 26 2012

This is a bold, entertaining, clever book, richly crammed with insights, stories, fine phrases and intriguing asides.

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Kirkus

Good
on Jan 15 2013

A stimulating modern rejoinder to Joseph Schumpeter’s notion of creative destruction.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Karla Starr on Dec 20 2012

...this scattershot approach comes at the expense of fully developing his ideas sometimes. Yet it works for the most part, exemplifying the way form follows function.

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LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Karla Starr on Dec 20 2012

At once thought-provoking and brilliant, this book dares you not to read it.

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The Economist

Excellent
Reviewed by The Economist on Nov 17 2012

“Antifragile” is as much about the author as it is about the world.

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Nicholas Blincoe on Dec 03 2012

Antifragile has annoyed fans of Taleb’s earlier works because, in turning away from statistics, his thought has become baggier, bombastic and often preposterous.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Below average
Reviewed by Paul Di Filippo on Dec 12 2012

Taleb is a man holding a live wire connected to a heretofore untapped cosmic dynamo, shooting sparks out his eyes and fingertips while trying to power our Tinkertoy inventions with the holy current.

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The Daily Beast

Excellent
Reviewed by Robert Herritt on Nov 26 2012

It would be easy to write off the entire book as precisely the kind of cocksure theorizing that Taleb himself so adamantly condemns. This would be a mistake.

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Daily Kos

Good
Reviewed by The Grace Kelly on Dec 12 2012

The book is very readable for the non-technical with great stories. The book is layered so if you want to go technical you can.

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Business Insider

Below average
Reviewed by David Runciman on Nov 21 2012

Antifragile is trying to be two things at once: a philosophical treatise and a how-to guide for living.

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Scientific American

Good
Reviewed by John Horgan on Dec 05 2012

Antifragile brims with bluster, mean-spirited diatribes and chest-thumping self-congratulation.

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The Boston Globe

Below average
Reviewed by Jesse Singal on Dec 25 2012

It isn’t particularly tightly organized, and one gets the sense this wasn’t an accident on the author’s part.

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Roosh V

Excellent
Reviewed by Roosh V on Oct 28 2013

Very rarely do I read a book and think, “This book will change how I see the world,” but this one managed to do it. It’s easily the most important work I’ve read in the past year.

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Chris Spoke 13 Feb 2013

Most book reviewers aren't smart enough to properly review this book. This is must-read non-fiction.

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Ken Johnson 25 Mar 2013

Surprised by the negative critic reviews. This book delivers an insight with every page.

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Vikas 5 Sep 2013

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