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.
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Antifragile is the instruction manual for living in a world full of possibilities, and this microbook will introduce you to its key concepts. Fragility is a simple concept. We know that porcelain or a set of crystal bowls are fragile items that require special care.
If they are not handled with care, they will inevitably break, and therefore we must know how to deal with this fragility, to be ready for unforeseen events. It is necessary to pack them well for transport, to ensure that in case of unexpected occurrence, they do not break. But when we try to talk about the opposite of fragility, we have great difficulty. How should we call that which is not fragile?
Many would say that the opposite of fragility is robustness. A sturdy item may not even break when an accident occurs, but it does not benefit from this situation.
Apparently, no word defines this situation, items that benefit from the unexpected. Taleb wed the coined that will guide our narrative: the Antifragile, which is the antithesis of the fragile. The Hydra was a multi-headed serpent that terrified the Greeks and was known to be indestructible.
Each time someone cut one of the heads, two others grew in that place. The more the Hydra was attacked, the stronger it became. Think of the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin, about how creatures change and adapt. Evolution only happens in a fickle and hostile environment. Whenever a difficulty occurs, evolution forces life to adjust so that it fits well into the new environment. However, there is an interesting aspect of this concept: while the process itself is antifragile, the individuals who participate in it are fragile.
As the changes persist, the individuals who have helped in this change suffer over time. The death of these members is necessary to make room for evolution.
One of the rules of antifragility is precisely this: for a system to be antifragile, most of its parts must be fragile. With every mistake made by the individuals involved, the system strengthens because it learns new things and becomes better.
The economy is also an antifragile system. The constituent parts, such as people and companies, are somehow fragile, but the economy itself is the opposite.
For it to grow, some of these parts must fail, because we must learn from the mistakes made by its elements. When a company ends up failing, it teaches the other parts of the economic system some lessons about how not to die in this environment. When we do physical exercises, for example, we are experiencing antifragility because we are exposing our body to abnormal forces, so that it strengthens and grows our muscles.
This power makes our antifragile system respond with overcompensation, improving our ability to deal with stresses that in theory would cause fragility. Strength comes from overcompensation in times of adversity, and it leaves anti-fragile systems with elements of excess power built in response to stressors.
In theory, we waste strength in exercising, and common sense tells us that success depends on the efficient use of our resources, not waste. On the other hand, overcompensation and redundancy are vital to antifragility, as they prepare us for unknown and uncertain problems.
But first she's got to make good on a promise: to pick up Ty Walker from prison. One look at the gorgeous ex-convict and Lexie knows she's in trouble-and already thinking about taking a walk on the wild side. Now he wants revenge on the people who framed him. Yet when the high-stakes poker player sees the leggy Lexie, he suddenly has other desires on his mind.
Realizing that Ty is innocent, Lexie tries to stop his plan for vengeance and help him become a better man. But as Ty battles his inner demons, dirty cops and criminals plot to take him out.