Antifragile (2012)


Taleb’s latest book is tremendous fun from start to finish, managing to insult a large swath of people from all corners of life while integrating them with his philosophies about systems that are positively enhanced by shocks and how to navigate a world that doesn’t get this and is slowly constructing ever larger systems that are utterly fragile to the same.

The book is abrasive and offensive to almost everybody (though in such a playful way that only the truly dour and pathetic will take it personal) and yet offers such a wealth of deep insights that its easy to stop feeling attacked and just enjoy the ride, look at the brilliance beneath the surface aggressiveness and try to learn as much as you can.

After Fooled by Randomness and the Black Swan, I thought Taleb had used up all his novel material, instead he managed to upstage his earlier books by providing one that connects to both but provides more than just doom saying, instead here’s a utilitarian, positive spin that is easy to overlook, yet gives hope that all is not lost.

That said, one of the most interesting aspects of the book are the various and varied critics leveled against it, that make it clear that many of the points Taleb mentioned are easily misunderstood or intentionally deflected, as most of what Taleb is saying isn’t exactly hard or complex. It’s just that he attacks sacred cows, especially those build at the expense of others. Few people like to be called out as idiots (at best) or malicious frauds.

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