Sunday, March 10, 2013

Antifragile

If you don't know who Nassim Nicholas Taleb is, you most likely are familiar with his book, The Black Swan and the Black Swan term that become popular during the banking crisis in 2008. He actually predicted the banking crises, and received a lot of hate mail from bankers. Taleb even had to hire bodyguards for a while.

His latest book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder is a fascinating discussion of a concept of what he calls Antifragile, which is the opposite of Fragile, and completely different from Robustness.

People, businesses, and economies that are fragile are adversely affected by changes, chaos, and disruption, whereas the antifragile benefit from stress, volatility, and turmoil. From a business and economics standpoint, the economy in general actually benefits from banks being allowed to go bankrupt. When the government bails out banks, the bankers have all the upside and no downside, so if the bank performs poorly, the US Government (actually, the American taxpayer) will bail them out.

The book, which I highly recommend, is what I call a brain-stretcher; it really forces you to think. I also recommend that you watch his recent New York Public Library interview below. It is long, about 80 minutes, but worth watching. Antifragile is available through Amazon and most other book sellers.

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