Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto)

Category: Philosophy
Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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by samcgraw   2021-12-23
> The big investment in your career will be ideas that stand the test of time.

This is spot on in my experience.

As I grow in my career as a software engineer, it's funny how much more often I notice that the things that set one apart in the field is a level-headed understanding of the fundamentals and a calm resolve to take into consideration what's worked in the past, much more than one's ability to "chase the shiny".

Honorable mention of the Lindy Effect [1] here - one of my favorite ideas from Antifragile [2].

[1] [2]

by Thersites   2018-07-27
A book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a scholar, trader, and philosopher. He wrote a book called Antifragile, link is below. He coined the term 'Black Swan' as well. Antifragile things harness chaos and get stronger, the world is not getting less chaotic.

Taleb - ttps:// Antifragile -

by nnq   2017-08-19
100% Agree. And this is my 2 cents of WHY:

Basically all current investments are high-risk in the age we live in, because we are "at the brink of the chasm" on all fronts:

- general technology: ...the barriers to market are so low that a startup can spring to being at any moment and eat all your profits away

- (social) media / communication: anything can change anytime, today's Facebook can be tomorrow's Hi5

- biotech: we're getting closer to the "you can do it your garage stage" which will change everything

- world politics: India and China are big players now and their moves can no longer be predicted, also US internal politics is a cauldron of volatility, and in a decade or two we'll have the "New Africa" rising... good luck predicting anything

- ML/AI: we might be at the brink of f Singularity with superhuman-AI around the corner... but we have no idea whether it will be in 5 years or 100 years (!) ...this alone is enough to fuck up all worldwide future prediction on anything... when you're staring up from somewhere around the foot of an exponential curve everything looks like "wtf, nothing makes sense"

And also, the last economic "crisis" increased everyone's aversion to risk, kind of the opposite of what you'd need now to increase level of investment...

What needs to change is the attitude of people with money towards risk! I'd love to see people like Elon Musk succeed long-term, not because I like them or what they are doing, but because they are the only ones with an attitude that can create growth right now.

We should really re-learn thinking and working with volatility, maybe starting from what Nassim Taleb says in his Antifragile ( and his talks like How to Live in a World we Don't Understand ( - warning: he's a terrible speaker... and not a great writer either, so getting to the root of his ideas will take time). Maybe not. But current "risk reduction" attitude cannot work (hint why: even if you reduce Infinity by 20% you still have f Infinity!).

by bkeroack   2017-08-19
This is a great example of what Nassim Taleb would call "lack of skin in the game"[1].

It's a wonder that we don't see more of these crimes, given that the rewards (if they don't get caught) accrue to the parties responsible, while the punishments (if caught) are suffered almost exclusively by everybody else. The people who made the criminal decisions do not suffer when the corporation is fined/santioned, it's shareholders, innocent employees and society at large who do. In other words, there's very little disincentive against this behavior.

What we really should consider is adding personal criminal liability to corporate officers who are found to either commit or condone financial crimes, as far up in the call stack as it can be proven.


by TravisJamison   2017-08-19
Antifragile - To help keep civilization from needing to rebuild itself a 3rd time.
by notnickwolf   2017-08-19
You might enjoy the book