Magazine article New Internationalist

Antifragile

Magazine article New Internationalist

Antifragile

Article excerpt

Antifragile

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

(Penguini, ISBN 9780141038223)

In this fascinating if infuriating study of 'things that gain from disorder', Nassim Nicholas Taleb builds on and extrapolates from his previous bestseller The Black Swcin^ an examination of the ramifications of extremely rare events. Taleb begins by defining his neologism 'antifragile' and differentiating it from such commonly used terms as robust, sturdy and resilient. Antifragility, he argues, stands somewhere beyond the mere resistance to damage and degradation implicit in these descriptions; a place where stress, randomness and shocks can, in an evolutionary sense, be of positive benefit to the organism or organization.

In his trademark idiosyncratic, scattergun approach, Taleb then drags in all manner of seemingly unconnected - random, even - illustrative tales to bolster his rather threadbare thesis. …

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