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Antifragile as an opportunity

Minimizing risk doesn't mean eliminating variability and uncertainty; in fact, it is precisely here where entrepreneurial success lies.

We've analyzed "Antifragile" (published by Il Saggiatore), the bestseller that made Nassim Nicholas Taleb "the Darwin of the XXI century". Its premise is that businesses thrive if they're exposed to volatility, disorder, and stress factors. This is also the case when managers that lead them love the unknown, the doubt, and adventures.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is what we would call a guru: ex-trader, probabilistic calculus scholar, lecturer, and consultant, he rose to fame thanks to his book "The black swan". Currently, he is a Distinguished Professor of Risk Management at the Polytechnic Institute of the University of New York, and his books have been translated into 33 languages.

His work is interesting because it explores a new business, organization and managerial concept. In his essay titled "Antifragile", the American naturalized Lebanese author explains that when facing a new project, it's impossible to have a complete picture of the context and risks: "Otherwise you would never act upon it. Acting means activating a design that affects reality and changes the starting conditions".

Taleb teaches how to thrive in chaos, as the subtitle says, using Greek philosophy, literature and anecdotal to make the mathematical and statistical basis of his reasoning palatable. As for the reason to choose the title, "Antifragile", he wrote in Il Sole 24 Ore: "Some things benefit from the jolt […] But, even though it's an omnipresent phenomenon, we don't have a word that describes the exact opposite of fragile".

Taleb concludes: "Antifragility goes beyond resilience and robustness, What is resilient resists shocks and remains the same: The antifragile only gets better. This quality is the base for everything that changes with time: culture, ideas, revolutions, political systems, technological innovation, economic and cultural success, the survival of companies".

How to be antifragile:

• Measure the fragility of things

• Take advantage of antifragility

• Face the unknown

• Try and then try again

• Learn to make decisions in uncertain contexts