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ANTIFRAGILE – Fall 2012, Random House (US) & Penguin (UK)

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, uncertainty, opacity, adventure, disorder and stressors. Yet, in spite the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call this hidden property antifragility.

Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness: the resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better. It is behind anything that has changed with time: evolution, culture, ideas, revolutions, political systems, technological innovation cultural and economic success, corporate survival, good food recipes say, chicken soup or steak tartare with a drop of cognac, the rise of cities, cultures, legal systems, equatorial forests, bacterial resistance… Even our own existence as a species on this planet. And antifragility determines the boundary between what is living and organic or complex, say the human body, and what is inert, say a physical object like the stapler on your desk.


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