In uncertain times, survival is what most of us strive for – keeping our heads above water until order is restored. Under these circumstances, achieving anything more than survival seems largely unattainable. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, argues that we can actually benefit from times of turmoil and unrest, using chaos not only to survive but also to flourish and thrive.
The concept may seem alien to those who find disorder stressful. And let’s face it, who doesn’t? However, when you study Taleb’s argument that many things in life benefit from volatility, it makes an awful lot of sense. We become stronger when faced with difficult situations – as we’ve seen before with Fierce Conversations, and for this reason Taleb presents uncertainty as one of life’s necessities.
In his first book The Black Swan, Taleb concludes that unpredictable events underpin our entire lives. Being “antifragile” is a way of combatting this, helping us to become more resilient each time we are faced with uncertainty and unrest. In this respect Antifragile has been described as a ‘blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.’
In the modern era, Antifragile seems a necessary read. Many of the highly regarded books aimed at business leaders fall down where this book succeeds. We do not live in a Utopian society and difficult times will come and go, but if we can harness the potential for success – even in the midst of disorder, then failure is not an option.