Antifragile - Nassim Nicholas Taleb


By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

  • Release Date: 2012-11-27
  • Genre: Investing
Score: 4
From 150 Ratings

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Antifragile is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world.

Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. 

In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better.

Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call “efficient” not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of the Titanic save lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are loud and clear.

Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.

Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb’s message is revolutionary: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it.

Praise for Antifragile

“Ambitious and thought-provoking . . . highly entertaining.”The Economist

“A bold book explaining how and why we should embrace uncertainty, randomness, and error . . . It may just change our lives.”Newsweek


  • My brain hurts.

    By Delta Echo Echo
    Full disclosure- I only read part of the free sample. That's why I gave this two stars instead of one. This is mostly incomprehensible word salad with a hefty helping of Internet thesaurus hoping the latter obscures the former and makes the author/editor appear intelligent. A few intelligible sentences alight briefly on topics of interest to me only to be blasted away by the roaring past of a dry desert dust storm's worth of hot air. I hope someone I respect will tell me I just needed to read farther into the book at which point I'll eat my words. Meanwhile I'm off to get a book deal of my own since all it apparently takes anymore is a wall papered with pages torn out of an old-fashioned print dictionary, a set of darts, and a willingness to construct sequential sentences around whichever 5-syllable-plus word your dart lands nearest.
  • Fantastic

    By Jaydee1977
    A defining book for this generation. Will completely change how you view things. Everyone should read it.
  • Waste of time

    By jbalance
    This book is a convoluted mess of ideas and made up words with a loose and lousy sentence structure. Taleb made a fortune betting against the market, a few times. He does not have anything great to offer here. Recommend reading Dan Kahneman, Nate Silvers, or Sam Harris for substance.
  • Highly recommend

    By MannyTZ
    Amazing book.
  • Original and Valuable

    By Czechnmail
    Taleb's approach — estimating fragility rather than predicting risk, as well as acknowledging the existing of antifragility — has never been taken before and it's absolutely worth reading and observing.
  • Understanding turkey view may provide the most impact in ones life!

    By Hojjat
    I like his writing because it provides a different view, rather than most biz books that state the obvious after the fact!