I read a lot, and 99% of what I read is non-fiction and covering various topics to help me (and others) become a better human being, husband, coach, speaker, writer, investor, banker… better at relationships, negotiations, lifestyle, health, fitness, productivity, and so on…
If you were to ask me what my favorite book is, I wouldn’t have an answer. I could list a dozen books which I would recommend to absolutely anyone, but I couldn’t pick one out as my absolute favorite.
If you were to ask me if I’ve re-read any book, my answer would be yes.
BUT if you were to ask me if I’ve re-read a book immediately after reading it for the first time? Well my answer would have been no, until last week.
I’m half-way through a book for the second time in 10 days, and I have a feeling I’ll be reading it for a 3rd time next week!
This book is called Antifragile, by Nassim Nicols Taleb, and I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read it!
I read Taleb’s most famous books: The Black Swan and Fooled By Randomness a few years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed both, but Antifragile is really in a different class.
If you are to read ONE book before the end of this year, this would be it.
The premise of the book is built upon a very powerful concept, yet one that is easy to understand:
We commonly think of everything in our world as being either “fragile” or “robust”:
- A glass is fragile
- A wall is robust
- The banking system is fragile
- A school teacher is robust
- An employee is fragile
- A dentist is robust
But what we often overlook is that there are things in life that are neither fragile nor robust: they actually get STRONGER when exposed to “shocks”.
The simplest example is the human body: when exposed to shocks (hard gym session), it responds by getting stronger.
- When an author gets a shock (negative publicity): he/she will sell more books.
- When Miley Cyrus does scandalous things: her fame increases and she sells more albums.
- When entrepreneurs fail: their knowledge as well as other people’s knowledge increase and their chance of success increases.
- When a trader buys market-neutral long-term options on market volatility (long gamma and vega): a shock (massive market rally or crash) will result in a big payout.
- Whenever any shock hits the economic system anywhere in the world: Switzerland benefits with massive inflows of money, wealth, and people.
These are all “anti-fragile”, they actually benefit from negative shocks.
Taleb lists countless examples of how you can change things in your life to make you anti-fragile in ALL aspects of your life: career, purpose, knowledge, money, relationships, etc.
His writing style makes the book an easy read and highly entertaining.
To quote some of the main book reviewers:
‘Taleb is a very funny writer with a finely tuned BS detector… Antifragility isn’t just sound economic and political doctrine. It’s also the key to a good life’. Fortune Magazine.
‘This is a bold, entertaining, clever book, richly crammed with insights, stories, fine phrases and intriguing asides… I will have to read it again. And again. ’Matt Ridley, Wall Street Journal.
‘Antifragility is the secret to success in a world full of uncertainty, a system for turning random mutations to lasting advantages… highly entertaining… whether you find Mr. Taleb amusing or irritating, you want to read on.’ The Economist.
Go grab a copy, you won’t regret it.