This book explored a very unique concept in great depth. It is this:
Some things are fragile (break under stress).
Some things are robust (are unaffected by stress).
Some things are antifragile (improve under stress).
It’s difficult to apply this concept to life at first, which is why he goes into a lot of detail. The book can be fairly dry at times, but I loved his sarcastic witty tone.
One good example of an antifragility is the system of a startup. Say you’re running a painting business and one of your employees spills paint on the roof. You’ve never experienced this before, the customer is pissed off, and you lose $3,000 on the job.
Initially this seems like a net-negative situation for the business. Taleb, however, would argue that the system as a whole has improved from the stress of the spilled paint.
You will react to this stress and actively put systems in place to prevent this type of thing from happening more than once. You will also have become more valuable as a business owner because you have gained another experience to pull from later–how to handle a customer in a uniquely negative situation.
Factoring in time as a whole, the system will bounce back. It is not robust, it is antifragile.
This is a really fascinating concept. The book lost me at times due to its dryness, but I recommend checking it out.