Friday, April 12, 2013

What Black Swan's Nassim Taleb Hates: Antifragile Review Part 2

When I did my book review last month on Antifragile, by Nassim Taleb, I did the book a disservice since I had read only partway through it. I have just completed the book, and I can say that (with the possible exception of Finnegans Wake), this is the most unusual book I have ever read.

For those of you who don't know, Taleb was the one who predicted the financial collapse a few years ago, and has the money to prove it. He was the author who caused the phrase The Black Swan to become popular due to his book of the same name.

After making his fortune, he has now become more of a philosopher and researcher. As a matter of fact, Antifragile is more about philosophy from a practical standpoint.

First let me tell you what Taleb detests:
economists (he even names names)
pharmaceutical companies
large corporations (with the exception of Apple)
executives of large corporations (with the exception of Steve Jobs)
Harvard professors
Coke and Pepsi (both the drinks and the corporations)
marketing and marketers
the cavier left
rating agencies
non-risk takers
excessive use of specific products
government research spending
and the list goes on and on...

And he doesn't just say he dislikes these things (or people); he spends whole sections on them. But this is only a small portion of the book. In essence, the book is about how anything or anyone that benefits from stress or change, will survive, and if not, then it or they won't survive.

Here is a tip about reading the book. It you come to the sections that say that you can skip them because they go into a lot of technical detail, you should read them because those sections are actually easier to read than other parts of the book and they contain very important concepts. (I wonder if Taleb did this as a trick?)

If you want to read a book that isn't anything like any other book, I recommend Antifragile.

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