Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Antifragile

Although I am midway through Nassim Taleb's new book Antifragile, about the benefits of disorder on life, the universe and everything, I have already settled on my one sentence review of the book:
"I love Nassim Taleb, but not nearly as much as he loves himself."

The New York Times piles on, with a review in Sunday's paper:
At his best he serves up provocative theories that encourage us to look at the world anew. He reminds us of the limits of Enlightenment reason, goads us into thinking about why small might be less fragile than big (a rule, he implies, that applies to animals and corporations alike) and gives us a renewed appreciation of practical knowledge (of the sort possessed by engineers and entrepreneurs) as opposed to the sort of academic knowledge acquired in school.
Unfortunately he delivers such lessons with bullying grandiosity and off-putting, self-dramatizing asides.
The review goes on to assert that the book would have benefited from "judicious editing" but I can't imagine Taleb allowing anyone to meddle with his genius. Nevertheless, I think the book would have worked better as a Kindle Single: the concept is very interesting, but the tangential asides and endless self-congratulation get old fast.

I would recommend instead of reading the book, that if you're interested in the concept you listen to his discussion of the book with my boy, Russ Roberts.


2 comments:

  1. That got on my nerves in Black Swan but I loved the book despite that. I got absolutely nothing from The Bed of Procrustes but I will push through Antifragile and hopefully not let his smug self satisfaction get to me.

    PS - You should find something in the mail shortly. I hope this one gets through to you and that you haven't already read it.

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  2. That got on my nerves in Black Swan but I loved the book despite that. I got absolutely nothing from The Bed of Procrustes but I will push through Antifragile and hopefully not let his smug self satisfaction get to me.

    PS - You should find something in the mail shortly. I hope this one gets through to you and that you haven't already read it.

    ReplyDelete