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Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pompous but well-informed and relevant, 4 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder (Hardcover)
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Hot on the heels of his other successful books about economic theory (Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan) Taleb has revealed another interesting concept about current financial markets - we are trying to protect ourselves from economic shock by removing volatility, but this actually weakens our ability to survive such shocks by removing the survival of the fittest element of competition. This is the central concept of the book (in a nut-shell) that there are things out there that benefit from chaos, not merely survive it, but actually revel and grow from disorder. These things are the Anti-Fragile.

This book can be read in a couple of ways; a cursory walk-through will expose the reader to the intriguing concepts of Iatrogenics, Procrustean beds and Mithridatism - all the while talking about subjects as broad as the formative years of the middle-east to weight-lifting. However to the technical reader; all of the associated graphs & formulae are included in the appendices should you want more depth and of course; his arguments are well bibliographed & referenced.

These topics are all milestones in his book and sound random when relayed as a string but the arrival at each of these points is well considered and explained. However, it is the absolute disdain that drips from pages of this book that leaves a bad-taste in your mouth. Taleb writes whilst sneering at the current participants of the financial-system and proudly lauding the superiority of his system dogmatically - it is easier to point & laugh at something, but far more difficult to create something better in its place. His megalomania is only further compounded as we read about the people he likes to lunch with, his exercise regime and his diet. It all seems rather boastful and supercilious to the layman.

Pomposity aside, this is a thought-provoking book that will make you reconsider some of the band-aids we have slapped on the Bretton-Woods-based financial system we currently have. It suggests an alternative, and for that reason alone it should be lauded, but when this is not only a good idea, but well informed and intelligent it is truly worth a long, hard look. Highly recommended.
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