Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Antifragile Things That Gain From Disorder

Reflections on reading Antifragile by Nassim Taleb

Nassim Taleb who wrote Black Swan brings his thinking a step further by introducing the concept of Antifragile.
The opposite of fragile is not robust. A glass that breaks easily when subjected to outside pressure or  stress is fragile. The opposite is not an item that can withstand the stress, but that is strengthened by it. It seems weird in the start, but after a slow introduction to the concept you reliase there are several systems and organisms that are strengthened by outside stress. Ourselves - humans are the best example. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Most vaccines are constructed based on this principle. By subjecting us to a small dose of the bacterias we become resistant. This principle can be applied to organizations and systems that we create. Nassim Taleb has again taken me on a journey to change my thinking, and the way I see the world around me. He Is one of the greatest current thinkers, who dares to move outside the box and criticize mainstream knowledge, even (especially) if its origin is from Harvard professors with a Nobel price in hand. He illustrates this with his street smart character "Fat Tony" whose success in business is caused by ignorance to academic knowledge.
As a curiosity he references a Norwegian trader and researcher Espen Haug, whom he has written some papers with on Option Pricing, critiquing the Black-Scholes pricing formula. 

PS: Espen Haug has recently published a book, claiming to reveal a unified theory of the universe and everything. Must be an interesting read, but very expensive.