Monthly Archives: November 2012

Nassim Taleb’s Cure for Fragility – Larry Prusak – Harvard Business Review

Taleb can write so originally in part because he has such a different background than the typical authors of these sorts of books. He isn’t involved in academia except at the peripheral level and he left big-company-land many years ago. Neither is he a journalist under pressure to publish. He has the money and motivation to just think and read and talk to people he wants to and tell us what he has learnt. This seems to be all he wants to do.

His originality probably owes as much to his being a born contrarian. He likes to be clear about who and what he loves and hates. He seems, for example, to really like Brooklyn, given how often he uses Brooklyn-type characters and locutions to make his points. I do, too- —and would agree that Brooklyn is as good a place as Singapore to make the case for antifragility. In the “hate” category fall economists, traders, pundits of all kinds, central planners—and a little more generally, people from Harvard. Apologies to my hosts here! I have the powerful sense that he welcomes all comers.

via Nassim Taleb’s Cure for Fragility – Larry Prusak – Harvard Business Review.

Falkenblog: Taleb Mishandles Fragility

Christmas traditions have gone from stockings and exchanging gifts, to fruitcakes, bad sweaters, NBA games, and now Taleb books, a sign that perhaps the Mayan return isn’t so much an apocalypse but rather a mercy killing. Taleb is one of many best-selling authors I don’t enjoy (Tom Friedman, Robert Kiyosaki, Snooki), but as he is prolix, pretentious, petulant and clueless, I enjoy commenting on his latest blather (my review of Black Swan here, Bed of Procrustes here).

His latest book Antifragile is driven by his discovery that there is not an English word for the opposite of fragile, which he thinks could not be ‘robust’ (this neologism is one of the few new ideas presented in this book, not that I think we need more new Taleb ideas). Fragile things lose a lot of value when mishandled, ‘anti-fragile’ things increase a lot in value when mishandled. He thinks this is very profound and therefore needs a book. The problem is that mishandle implies an adverse effect by definition, which is why there isn’t a word for something that goes up in value when you mishandle it.

via Falkenblog: Taleb Mishandles Fragility.

Nassim N. Taleb Home & Professional Page

New from NNT”s homepage.

Book Reviews that summarize the idea: Long Wall Street Journal Essay (limted to policy applications, without the fun/personal part), TIMES , ECONOMIST (error: like a bodybuilder should read “like a butcher”), FT, Emotional & touching review, The 2nd most stupid reviewer I’ve had in 1041 attacks David Runciman, a direct counter by Matt Ridley in the WSJ.

via Nassim N. Taleb Home & Professional Page.

How To Build An Antifragile Career | Fast Company

“We need to respect failed entrepreneurs,” he tells Fast Company. “This would make more people take risks and generate growth.” At the end of the fourth chapter of the book, he proposes a National Entrepreneur Day, one furnished with this message:

“Most of you will fail, disrespected, impoverished, but we are grateful for the risks you are taking and the sacrifices you are making for the sake of the economic growth of the planet and pulling others out of poverty. You our the source of our antifragility. Our nation thanks you.”

Beyond rippling with Taleb’s signature bombast, the quote makes a fair point, one that he rephrases elsewhere in the book: that just as there’s no such thing as a failed soldier (so long as he fights with courage), there’s no such thing as a failed entrepreneur, even if the company goes belly up.

via How To Build An Antifragile Career | Fast Company.