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Antifragile

Things That Gain from Disorder

Von Nicholas Nassim Taleb
19 Minuten
Audio-Version verfügbar
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder von Nicholas Nassim Taleb

Some things seem to improve if they are placed in environments of volatility and unpredictability. Antifragile (2014) analyzes why this is the case. It suggests that this quality has been vital for the progress of human civilization since ancient times.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb takes a critical look at modern society and its aim to smooth out life by interfering in systems like the economy. Far from making society a better place, this interfering nature is destroying the volatile environment essential for antifragility to take place.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“These blinks changed the way I think about systems and processes. They explain how, while most things break when they’re put under stress, a few, incredibly important things get stronger and stronger. If we want to build a world where things keep getting better, these blinks are critical reading.”

– Thomas, English Editorial Lead at Blinkist

  • Anyone who wants to know why some systems improve over time
  • Anyone who wants to know how to take advantage of uncertainty
  • Anyone interested in why crises happen

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is an academic and author of bestselling works such as The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness. He has devoted his life to studying the cause and effects of uncertainty and probability. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute.

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Antifragile

Things That Gain from Disorder

Von Nicholas Nassim Taleb
  • Lesedauer: 19 Minuten
  • Verfügbar in Text & Audio
  • 13 Kernaussagen
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Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder von Nicholas Nassim Taleb
Worum geht's

Some things seem to improve if they are placed in environments of volatility and unpredictability. Antifragile (2014) analyzes why this is the case. It suggests that this quality has been vital for the progress of human civilization since ancient times.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb takes a critical look at modern society and its aim to smooth out life by interfering in systems like the economy. Far from making society a better place, this interfering nature is destroying the volatile environment essential for antifragility to take place.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“These blinks changed the way I think about systems and processes. They explain how, while most things break when they’re put under stress, a few, incredibly important things get stronger and stronger. If we want to build a world where things keep getting better, these blinks are critical reading.”

– Thomas, English Editorial Lead at Blinkist

Kernaussage 1 von 13

Unlike fragile items, which break when put under stress, antifragile items actually benefit from volatility and shock.

When you send an item made of glass by post, you would probably ensure that the package is clearly labelled ‘Please Handle with Care’ because the glass is fragile; it needs to be put in a tranquil environment because it shatters when harmed by stresses and shocks.

Fragility is a relatively easy concept to understand; we are all aware that fragile items need to be protected from volatile situations. Yet when we try to think of the opposite of fragility, we struggle. What do you call something that benefits from volatility?

You may be thinking that robust is the answer. However, although a robust item will be able to survive shocks better than a fragile one, it is not the opposite; it doesn’t benefit from harm. What we are looking for is something that you would deliberately mishandle, something that you’d package with the label ‘Please Handle Roughly.’

We struggle to define this concept partly because none of the world’s major languages has a word for it. We must therefore use the word antifragile to describe the antithesis of fragility – things that benefit from shock and therefore prefer volatility to tranquillity.

A good example of antifragility is the story of the Hydra from Greek mythology. The Hydra was a many-headed serpent which tormented the ancient world. Each time one of these heads was cut off in battle, two would grow back in its place. So every time the beast was harmed, it benefitted; the Hydra was therefore antifragile.

Unlike fragile items, which break when put under stress, antifragile items actually benefit from volatility and shock.

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