Can we exploit the fact that life is unpredictable, chaotic, full of shocks and disasters? Trader turned scholar Nassim Nicholas Taleb has a bold idea
In your new book you talk about things being "antifragile". What do you mean exactly?
When you ask people what is the opposite of fragile, they mostly answer something that is resilient or unbreakable - an unbreakable package would be robust. However, the opposite of fragile is something that actually gains from disorder. In the book, I classify things into fragile, robust or antifragile.
Can you give me some examples?
Nature builds things that are antifragile. In the case of evolution, nature uses disorder to grow stronger. Occasional starvation or going to the gym also makes you stronger, because you subject your body to stressors and gain from them. Another example is the restaurant industry. It benefits from the fact that individual restaurants are fragile by exploiting their mistakes as it tries to figure out why a particular restaurant went bust. Trial and error is an antifragile activity.