“The general principle of antifragility, it is much better to do things you cannot explain than explain things you cannot do.” – Nassim Taleb
“Being an entrepreneur is an existential, not just a financial thing.” – Nassim Taleb
“They have turned the wolf into a dog and man himself into the man’s best domesticated animal.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
The ideas in this post have been the most transformative in my life over the last couple years. I avoided writing about them because I didn’t feel I could. Finally, I feel that I’ve internalized, tested, and understand them deeply enough to communicate them with you.
This is a long post, but it could change your life and outlook in massive ways. I can say that without arrogance because these ideas aren’t my own, they’re Taleb’s.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb warned the world about the 2008 financial crisis before it happened. He didn’t predict it, per say, he just evaluated the financial system and saw how fragile it was.
The world is slowly beginning to admit how terrible we are at predicting the future. Stumbling on Happiness showed us that we can’t even predict what will make us happy in the future.
“Your mistake was not in imagining things you could not know—that is, after all, what imagination is for. Rather, your mistake was in unthinkingly treating what you imagined as though it were an accurate representation of the facts.” ― Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness
I am going to do my best to share a new lens of the world with you and convince how powerful it can be in your life. This isn’t about wishful thinking or small self-help lifehacks. This is about looking at reality as the mess it is and learning to benefit from the chaos.
I’m not going to attempt to summarize Taleb’s books, it would be blasphemy. Almost all business books I read I feel fine sharing a summary, synthesis, and some quotes. That’s all they deserve. Taleb’s work is different. Reading his work, especially Incerto (containing The Bed of Procrustes, Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, and Antifragile) is an experience. This post will provide a powerful perspective shift and tools that you can begin using immediately. It will not replace the books in any way.
I’ve written skimmable articles before, this is not one of them. This stuff is too important to skim. I hope you take the time to read the whole thing. If you can’t read it now then skim it and bookmark it for later.
Here is an overview of what we’re going to be getting into:
- What Happens When You Become Antifragile: The benefits I’ve found by adopting antifragililty.
- Understanding Chaos: A look at some of the most important ideas from Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan.
- Taking the Antifragile Perspective: A deep-dive into understanding what antifragility is, why it’s important, and how we can begin to use it.
- How to Become Antifragile: Specific ways to introduce antifragility into your business, health (personal, emotional, mental, physical), social life, society, etc…
- Heuristics and Aphorisms: Some of the most powerful and useful quotes from Taleb.
- A Final Note on Antifragility: Refocusing and getting ready to take action.
Our goal is presented by Taleb in the Prologue of Antifragile:
I want to live happily in a world I don’t understand.
We think we need to know what’s going to happen to be ready for it. We think we need to have a perfectly clear vision of what we want our future to be if we want to avoid being homeless. We believe [click to continue…]