Antifragile - please mishandle


Not only does Taleb link the notions of Failure with Leadership and Management, but he often delves into other adjacent topics that I’ve also found myself meandering down. One of the most prominent is the notion of the “black box”, a term for dysfunctional opacity often created by excessive complexity…

  • “In business and economic decision making, reliance on data causes severe side effects – data is now plentiful thanks to connectivity, and the proportion of spuriousness in the data increases as one gets more immersed in it. A very rarely discussed property of data: it is toxic in large quantities– even in moderate quantities.”
  • “The more frequently you look at data, the more noise you are disproportionately likely to get…There is so much noise coming from the media’s glorification of the anecdote. Thanks to this we are living more and more in virtual reality, separated from the real world…By presenting us with explanations and theories, the media induce an illusion of understanding the world.”
  • “Our track record in figuring out significant rare events in politics and economics is not close to zero; it is zero.”
  • What is nonmeasurable and nonpredictable will remain nonmeasurable and nonpredictable, no matter how many PhDs with Russian and Indian names you put on the job…There is, in the Black Swan zone, a limit to knowledge that can never be reached, no matter how sophisticated statistical and risk management science ever gets.”
  • “The more complex the regulation, the more bureaucratic the network, the more a regulator who knows the loops and glitches would benefit from it later, as his regulator edge would be a convex function of his differential knowledge.”
  • “Man-made complex systems tend to develop cascades and runaway chains of reactions that decrease, even eliminate, predictability and couase outsized events. So the modern world may be increasing in technological knowledge, but, paradoxically, it is making things a lot more unpredictable…the role of Black Swans is increasing.”
  • “My dear Socrates…you know why they are putting you to death? It is because you make people feel stupid for blindly following habits, instincts, and traditions. You may be occasionally right. But you confuse them about things they’ve been doing just fine without getting into trouble. You are destroying people’s illusions about themselves. You are taking the joy of ignorance out of things we don’t understand. And you have no answer; you have no answer to offer them.”