I’m not usually one to consume media specifically on the first day it becomes available, but I’ve been anticipating Nov. 27 for quite a while now. Today, Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s new book, Antifragile, came out and I’ve been listening on Audible . Taleb’s previous books, Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan, have set the stage for this latest work, in which he continues his strident critique of those who claim to be able to predict (or control) the future. Instead, he argues, we should accept random systemic shocks as a given, and learn how to develop systems that get benefit, rather than harm, from volatility. As a former trader, Taleb sometimes invokes the property of convexity, where holding an financial instrument like an option allows one to benefit from the upside of an investment if it succeeds, while being protected from the downside if it fails. He using the “tinkering” and experimenting done by living organisms in the process of evolution as the arc-typical example. In order to survive, species must adapt by “trying out” various random genotypes. There is a large benefit to hitting on an adaptive trait- the ability to reproduce so your offspring will likewise be endowed – while the unlucky others simply die out.


Author: lnemzer

Assistant Professor Nova Southeastern University

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