Antifragility: A Summary

The Art of Manliness has summarized Taleb's new book. I'd like to hear from AVI on how well their understanding of it matches his own, as well as from any of the rest of you who have read it.


james said...

It seems to me like a good summary.

There are, of course, plenty more details: he says one good way to kill somebody, or at least make sure he dies early, is to subsidize a personal physician for him. The doc will feel as though he has to earn his keep, and unnecessary interventions will, on the average, tend to kill the patient off sooner.

Also, he points out that a country or industry can be anti-fragile precisely because individual businesses are fragile--their failures leave room for the new adaptations. A monolith brings everybody else down with it.

And we are irreducibly fragile in some ways--we have many limitations. It turns out that a simple fall can shake up the brain in serious ways. (my observation, not his) I suspect that we often have to embrace fragility in order to accomplish anything. Like raising children.

james said...

I want to hear from AVI too--he often spots things I miss.

raven said...

Have not read the book. The summary is interesting, but I have reservations about the descriptions. Fragile, yes. Resilient, yes.

Anti-fragile, as described, to "thrive in chaos", has as it's corollary, creating chaos. We all seek to create conditions we thrive in, yes? According to the description, George Soros would be an ideal example of the anti-fragile- he has done very well with exploiting chaos. From a lad in Hungary to financial markets.
There is no moral value assigned to the description, of course, but one wonders if the anti-fragile favors the exploitative and ruthless, merely by the conditions extant.

douglas said...

Raven- also in many ways, Donald Trump. I've noticed that he's by nature a disruptor- he doesn't want anyone he's competing with to feel comfortable, he wants them off balance so they can't mount an effective attack on him, and then he's able to push them over at the right moment. We're happy about that right now because he's creating chaos in their system, which should move us back closer to ours. But what happens after that?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Sorry to disappoint. It seemed like a good summary, but I started to skim pretty quickly.. I am on the other side of this book now, trying to identify ways to put a few good ideas from it into actual practice, rather than just talk about it, fun as that is.

I have changed my investments a little, and am going to do more - after the crash. I have changed my diet and exercise programs and will change them more. Similarly, I have changed my approach to health care - I have consulted my PCP on something I ordinarily wouldn't and not bothered to talk to the doctor about 2.5 things I ordinarily would. More interestingly*, I have changed my understanding of the European method of rationing health care with long waits. I have always thought of that as cheating, but learning that people often just adapt, recover, or forego treatment - with no health loss - strikes me as something Americans could move towards. The concept of hormesis is finding applications in lots of places.

* to me, that's who.