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.
In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. Here Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better.
What's more, 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 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, drawing on modern street wisdom and ancient sources.
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.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb has devoted his life to problems of uncertainty, probability, and knowledge and has led three careers around this focus, as a businessman-trader, a philosophical essayist, and an academic researcher. Although he now spends most of his time working in intense seclusion in his study, in the manner of independent scholars, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. His main subject matter is "decision making under opacity," that is, a map and a protocol on how we should live in a world we don't understand.
His books Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan have been published in thirty-three languages.
Taleb believes that prizes, honorary degrees, awards, and ceremonialism debase knowledge by turning it into a spectator sport.
In this profound and playful book, Nassim Nicholas Taleb presents his ideas about life in the form of aphorisms, the world's earliest - and most memorable - literary form.
Procrustes was a character from Greek mythology who abducted travellers and invited them to spend the night in a special bed, which they had to fit to perfection. They never did. Those who were too tall had their legs chopped off; those who were too short were stretched.
Every aphorism here is about a Procrustean bed of sorts - we humans, facing the limits of our knowledge, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies and pre-packaged narratives. Only by embracing the unexpected - and accepting what we don't know - can we see the world as it really is.
From the bestselling author of The Black Swan, a bold book that challenges many of our long-held beliefs about risk and reward, politics and religion, finance and personal responsibility
'Skin in the game means that you do not pay attention to what people say, only to what they do, and how much of their neck they are putting on the line'
Citizens, artisans, police, fishermen, political activists and entrepreneurs all have skin in the game. Policy wonks, corporate executives, many academics, bankers and most journalists don't. It's all about having something to lose and sharing risks with others. In his most provocative and practical book yet, Nassim Nicholas Taleb shows that skin in the game, often seen as the foundation of risk management, in fact applies to all aspects of our lives.
In his inimitable style, Taleb draws on everything from Antaeus the Giant to Hammurabi to Donald Trump, from ethics to used car salesmen, to create a jaw-dropping framework for understanding this idea. Among his insights:
For social justice, focus on symmetry and risk sharing.
Minorities, not majorities, run the world.
You can be an intellectual yet still be an idiot.
Beware of complicated solutions (that someone was paid to find).
Just as The Black Swan did during the 2007 financial crisis, Skin in the Game comes at precisely the right moment to challenge our long-held beliefs about risk, reward, politics, religion and business - and make us rethink everything we thought we knew.
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