Review by Bruce Bower
Just as a campfire feeds off random wind gusts, well-prepared people and organizations can benefit from volatility and chance events, risk researcher and former derivatives trader Taleb argues. But more often, he says, modern institutions handle unexpected jolts — say, the recent financial crisis — about as well as a candle flame resists a windstorm.
Taleb calls things that get stronger in the face of disorder antifragile. A merely resilient entity takes a licking and keeps on ticking, but an antifragile one turns lemons into lemonade. Antifragility occurs, for instance, when bones get stronger after hoisting heavy loads.