Review: Antifragile – Things that gain from Disorder

Antifragile: Things That Gain from DisorderAntifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Before I go off on a rant about this book, I’d first like to tell you that I’ve read this book, because it was on a list of ‘Seven books that will change how you look at the world’. An article I found on the internet sometime ago. After reading the first two books; ‘Stumbling on Happiness’ by Daniel Gilbert and ‘On the Genealogy of Morals’ by the great Friedrich Nietzsche, I was excited to continue my journey by reading this book. It took me about half a year to finish it and here’s why.

Granted, Nassim Nicholas Taleb has some pretty good ideas in this book. The idea that certain things gain from disorder (or stress), up to a point is well explained. However, the arrogance and constant need to discredit other people who don’t share his philosophy, or who we calls “fragilistas” becomes increasingly annoying as you drag yourself through this book. To be fair, I think more than half of the book could be scrapped on account of the fact that Taleb is just ranting about stuff he disagrees with, or tries to tell us a story in order to explain his “complicated” theory by using an analogy. There were even passages that he claimed to be “very technical”, which featured graphs and tables that were not technical at all. Apparently, he thinks very lowly of his reader’s capability to understand his drivel.

In essence, I think the idea and philosophy of the book is okay, but the way it is presented leaves much to be desired. There were even passages where I got so infuriated by Taleb’s arrogance that I had to put the book away. I forgot most of them, by pushing them far back into the recesses of my mind, but one that I won’t forget is that Taleb explains how Friedrich Nietzsche once nearly described ‘antifragility’, but that he was the one who perfected it. In other words, he simply said that Nietzsche was a pretty good guy, who nearly got it right. Gah, the arrogance!

All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to mentally hurt themselves (possibly even physically, cause I wanted to bang my head against the wall a few times.) If you like a writer who really manages to get under your skin with his arrogance, then please, read this book. Otherwise, steer clear of this and just read something good instead, like Nietzsche, who got more right than this “radical philosopher”, as is stated on the first page of this book.

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