Book Summary: Antifragile by Nassim Taleb

  • Antifragile – a term used to mean the opposite of fragile, and denote things that gain from disorder, chaos, stressors. It is not the same thing as ‘robust’ or ‘resilient’. Fragile things are negatively impacted by uncertainty, stress. Robust things are unimpacted by them. Antifragile things actually grow and flourish in the face of uncertainty and stress. The analogy “wind puts out a candle, but encourages a fire” embodies this.
  • This is an interesting and important concept to think about as it is all around us in nature and evolution – only the antifragile setups could have lasted billions of years in an unpredictable universe. Yet, no known language has a word for the ‘exact opposite of fragile’, leading the author to coin antifragile.
  • Human emotions are a good example to understand ‘antifragile’ behavior – thoughts or emotions such as anger and bitterness grow the more they are suppressed. Countless stories tell the tale of someone whose love/attraction for their chosen ones grows in spite of emotional abuse or mistreatment from the person they desire.

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