I feel obliged to devote my first substantial post to Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘s last book. Antifragile is a “must read”, literally, and probably the only book I have read that I can qualify as such (with the possible exception of Taleb’s Black Swan).

One of the central arguments of Taleb’s book is that people try too hard to understand (and worse, forecast) their environment, rather than making decisions that are not dependent on such understanding. Having the illusion of knowing how things work, people, systems, etc. become fragile, that is, they are hurt by extreme changes or shocks. Taleb discusses how to make decisions and live in this irreducible level of uncertainty. Rather than trying to understand what is not understandable, Taleb promotes robustness or, much better, antifragility, the (natural) ability of living organisms to become stronger from increasing amounts of harm.

I will not go any further in this necessarily distorted summary of Antifragile, which was only meant to get this blog’s readers to read it themselves (to quote Taleb: “A great book eludes summaries. A great aphorism resists expansion. The rest is just communication.”).

Taleb’s book distinguishes itself by its utmost intellectual rigour and honesty. It shows how fundamental epistemic errors in large parts of economics, financial theory, medicine, “risk management”, etc. totally undermine these “sciences”, and, worse, put us in dangerous situations.

Its implications are profound, which is why I strongly suggest that you read this book.

Despite being online in various forms since 1997, I have never owned a proper blog. Now freed of potential restrictions on the public expression of contentious political opinions, I have decided to keep a blog on this website. No topic is off-limit… enjoy reading!