Antifragile by Nassim Taleb is quite an interesting book. Read a long time ago, summary to be made (will probably read again now in May 2020)

Antifragile – systems that increase in capability to thrive as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failure

The main idea of the book is presented above. Some other concepts I’ve put in Obsidian (Zettelkasten) so I can find them connected to other things.

Here is a more generic summary:

  • Lindy effect: things (non-alive) that have survived to this day, will survive longer than a thing that is younger (e.g. a book that is in print for long, will probably outlive a newer book)
  • Barbell strategy: strategy that focusses on two extremes, from finance, can also be applied to personal goals or work goals (very high and very low risk)
  • Via negativa: what to avoid/not do (e.g. see a doctor for small ails)
  • Skin in the game: need to take a risk (personally) to do something (Taleb argues that otherwise you won’t have the right incentive)
  • Green Lumber Fallacy: understanding the wrong thing, or not understanding/knowing about the underlying/practical considerations
  • Also lots of talk about concave and convex relationships versus them being linear. This could also explain second order effects as sometimes only one more thing needs to happen before the graph shoots up versus trickles up

More reviews

  • Astral Codex Ten
    • positive but notes that it’s much crammed into one concept
    • “… getting your predictions right was less important than calculating payoffs right. For example, if some very smart scientists tell you that there’s an 80% chance the coronavirus won’t be a big deal, you thank them for their contribution and then prepare for the coronavirus anyway. In the world where they were right, you’ve lost some small amount of preparation money; in the world where they were wrong, you’ve saved hundreds of thousands of lives.