Things that Gain from Disorder

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Publisher: Penguin, 2012, 519 pages

ISBN: 978-0-141-03822-3

Keywords: Personal Development

Last modified: July 9, 2021, 11:09 p.m.

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, 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.

    • Prologue
    • Appendix: The Triad, or A Map of the World and Things Along the Three Properties
    • Chapter 1: Between Damocles and Hydra
      • Half of Life Has No Name
      • Please Behead Me
        • On the Necessity of Naming
      • Proto-Antifragility
      • Domain Independence Is Domain Dependent
    • Chapter 2: Overcompensation and Overreaction Everywhere
      • How to Win a Horse Race
        • Antifragile Responses as Redundancy
      • On the Antifragility of Riots, Love, and Other
      • Unexpected Beneficiaries of Stress
        • Please Ban My Book: The Antifragility of Information
        • Get Another Job
    • Chapter 3: The Cat and the Washing Machine
        • The Complex
      • Stressors Are Information
        • Equilibrium, Not Again
      • Crimes Against Children
        • Punished by Translation
        • Touristification
        • The Secret Thirst for Chance
    • Chapter 4: What Kills Me Makes Others Stronger
      • Antifragility by Layers
        • Evolution and Unpredictability
        • Organisms Are Populations and Populations Are Organisms
      • Thank You, Errors
        • Learning from the Mistakes of Others
        • How to Become Mother Teresa
      • Why the Aggregate Hates the Individual
      • What Does Not Kill Me Kills Others
        • Me and Us
        • National Entrepreneur Day
    • Chapter 5: The Souk and the Office Building
      • Two Types of Professions
        • Lenin in Zurich
      • Bottom-up Variations
      • Away from Extremistan
        • The Great Turkey Problem
      • Twelve Thousand Years
        • War, Prison, or Both
        • Pax Romana
        • War or No War
    • Chapter 6: Tell Them I Love (Some) Randomness
      • Hungry Donkeys
        • Political Annealing
      • That Time Bomb Called Stability
        • The Second Step: Do (Small) Wars Save Lives?
        • What to Tell the Foreign Policy Makers
      • What Do We Call Here Modernity?
    • Chapter 7: Naive Intervention
      • Intervention and Iatrogenics
        • First, Do No Harm
        • The Opposite of latrogenics
        • Iatrogenics in High Places
        • Can a Whale Fly Like an Eagle?
        • Not Doing Nothing
        • Non-Naive Interventionism
      • In Praise of Procrastination — the Fabian Kind
      • Neuroticism in Industrial Proportions
        • A Legal Way to Kill People
        • Media-Driven Neuroticism
      • The State Can Help-When Incompetent
        • France Is Messier than You Think
        • Sweden and the Large State
      • Catalyst-as-Cause Confusion
    • Chapter 8: Prediction as a Child of Modernity
        • Ms. Bré Has Competitors
        • The Predictive
        • Plus or Minus Bad Teeth
        • The Idea of Becoming a Non-Turkey
        • No More Black Swans
    • Chapter 9: Fat Tony and the Fragilistas
      • Indolent Fellow Travelers
        • The Importance of Lunch
        • The Antifragility of Libraries
      • On Suckers and Nonsuckers
        • Loneliness
        • What the Nonpredictor Can Predict
    • Chapter 10: Seneca's Upside and Downside
        • Is This Really Serious?
        • Less Downside from Life
        • Stoicism's Emotional Robustification
        • The Domestication of Emotions
        • How to Become the Master
        • The Foundational Asymmetry
    • Chapter 11: Never Marry the Rock Star
      • On the Irreversibility of Broken Packages
      • Seneca's Barbell
        • The Accountant and the Rock Star
        • Away from the Golden Middle
        • The Domestication of Uncertainty
      • Do You Really Know Where You Are Going?
        • The Teleological Fallacy
        • America's Principal Asset
    • Chapter 12: Thales' Sweet Grapes
      • Option and Asymmetry
        • The Options of Sweet Grapes
        • Saturday Evening in London
        • Your Rent
        • Asymmetry
        • Things That Like Dispersion
      • The Thalesian and the Aristotelian
        • How to Be Stupid
        • Nature and Options
        • The Rationality
        • Life Is Long Gamma
        • Roman Politics Likes Optionality
        • Next
    • Chapter 13: Lecturing Birds on How to Fly
        • Once More, Less Is More
        • Mind the Gaps
        • Search and How Errors Can Be Investments
        • Creative and Uncreative Destructions
      • The Soviet-Harvard Department of Ornithology
      • Epiphenomena
        • Greed as a Cause
        • Debunking Epiphenomena
        • Cherry-picking (or the Fallacy of Confirmation)
    • Chapter 14: When Two Things Are Not the "Same Thing"
        • Where Are the Stressors?
        • L'Art pour l'Art, to Learn for Learning's Sake
        • Polished Dinner Partners
      • The Green Lumber Fallacy
        • How Fat Tony Got Rich (and Fat)
      • Conflation
      • Prometheus and Epimetheus
    • Chapter 15: History Written by the Losers
        • The Evidence Staring at Us
        • Is It Like Cooking?
        • The Industrial Revolution
        • Governments Should Spend on Nonteleological Tinkering, Not Research
      • The Case in Medicine
        • Matt Ridley's Anti-Teleological Argument
        • Corporate Teleology
      • The Inverse Turkey Problem
        • To Fail Seven Times, Plus or Minus Two
      • The Charlatan, the Academic, and the Showman
    • Chapter 16: A Lesson in Disorder
      • The Ecological and the Ludic
        • The Touristification of the Soccer Mom
      • An Antifragile (Barbell) Education
    • Chapter 17: Fat Tony Debates Socrates
      • Euthyphro
      • Fat Tony Versus Socrates
      • Primacy of Definitional Knowledge
        • Mistaking the Unintelligible for the Unintelligent
        • Tradition
      • The Sucker-Nonsucker Distinction
        • Fragility, Not Probability
        • Conflation of Events and Exposure
      • Conclusion to Book IV
        • What Will Happen Next?
    • Chapter 18: On the Difference Between a Large Stone and a Thousand Pebbles
        • On the Importance of Attics
      • A Simple Rule to Detect the Fragile
        • Why Is Fragility Nonlinear?
        • When to Smile and When to Frown
        • Why Is the Concave Hurt by Black Swan Events?
      • Traffic in New York
        • Someone Call New York City Officials
      • Where More Is Different
        • A "Balanced Meal"
        • Run, Don't Walk
      • Small May Be Ugly, It Is Certainly Less Fragile
        • How to Be Squeezed
        • Kerviel and Micro-Kerviel
        • How to Exit a Movie Theater
      • Projects and Prediction
        • Why Planes Don't Arrive Early
        • Wars, Deficits, and Deficits
      • Where the "Efficient" Is Not Efficient
        • Pollution and Harm to the Planet
        • The Nonlinearity of Wealth
        • Conclusion
    • Chapter 19: The Philosopher's Stone and Its Inverse
      • How to Detect Who Will Go Bust
        • The Idea of Positive and Negative Mode! Error
      • How to Lose a Grandmother
      • Now the Philosopher's Stone
        • How to Transform Gold into Mud:
        • The Inverse Philosopher's Stone
        • Where Is the Charlatan?
        • Subtractive Knowledge
      • Barbells, Again
        • Less Is More
    • Chapter 20: Time and Fragility
      • From Simonides to Jensen
      • Learning to Subtract
        • Technology at its Best
      • To Age in Reverse: The Lindy Effect
      • A Few Mental Biases
        • Neomania and Treadmill Effects
      • Architecture and the Irreversible Neomania
        • Wall to Wall Windows
        • Metrification
      • Turning Science into Journalism
      • What Should Break
      • Prophets and the Present
      • Empedocles' Dog
        • What Does Not Make Sense
    • Chapter 21: Medicine, Convexity, and Opacity
      • How to Argue in an Emergency Room
      • First Principle of Iatrogenics (Empiricism)
      • Second Principle of Iatrogenics (Nonlinearity in Response)
        • Jensen's Inequality in Medicine
      • Burying the Evidence
        • The Never-ending History of Turkey Situations
      • Nature's Opaque Logic
        • Guilty or Innocent
        • Plead Ignorance of Biology: Phenomenology
        • The Ancients Were More Caustic
        • How to Medicate Half the Population
        • The "Rigor of Mathematics" in Medicine
        • Next
    • Chapter 22: To Live Long, but Not Too Long
      • Life Expectancy and Convexity
        • Subtraction Adds to Your Life
        • The Iatrogenics of Money
        • Religion and Naive Interventionism
      • If It's Wednesday, I Must Be Vegan
        • Convexity Effects and Random Nutrition
        • How to Eat Yourself
        • Walk-Deprived
        • I Want to Live Forever
    • Chapter 23: Skin in the Game: Antifragility and Optionality at the Expense of Others
      • Hammurabi
      • The Talker's Free Option
        • Postdicting
        • The Stiglitz Syndrome
        • The Problem of Frequency, or How to Lose Arguments
        • The Right Decision for the Wrong Reason
      • The Ancients and the Stiglitz Syndrome
        • To Burn One's Vessels
        • How Poetry Can Kill You
        • The Problem of Insulation
        • Champagne Socialism
        • Soul in the Game
      • Options, Antifragility, and Social Fairness
        • The Robert Rubin Free Option
        • Which Adam Smith?
      • The Antifragility and Ethics of (Large) Corporations
        • Artisans, Marketing, and the Cheapest to Deliver
        • Lawrence of Arabia or Meyer Lansky
        • Next
    • Chapter 24: Fitting Ethics to a Profession
        • Wealth Without Independence
      • The Professionals and the Collective
      • The Ethical and the Legal
        • Casuistry as Optionality
      • Big Data and the Researcher's Option
      • The Tyranny of the Collective
    • Chapter 25: Conclusion
    • Epilogue
      • Glossary
      • Appendix I
      • Appendix II
      • Additional Notes, Afterthoughts, and Further Reading
      • Bibliography



Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Disappointing *** (3 out of 10)

Last modified: July 9, 2021, 11:14 p.m.

Sig, just ramblings without any coherent thougths. It can be read, and you may find some interesting facts in here, but nothing that will make any difference to you or be any original thoughts.

Avoid, as it will only get the author to write bad books in the future if you buy this.


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