Bombastics aside, I appreciate the idea of anti-fragility, especially to mean confidence, optionality, and variation

Pointer from: article on failure to predict cultural change
Place digested: Morning reading
Time digested: Oct 24, 2018



Book Review of Taleb’s Antifragile by Nat Eliason

People who don’t seem to care how they dress or look are robust or antifragile. People who have to wear suits and ties and worry about a bad reputation are fragile.
^[ME] Can often see who is client and who is customer by how they’re dressed… Also, have learned over past year that former discomfort I’d have for not being sure what to wear in a new professional situation doesn’t really matter...

While we understand the benefits of stress in medicine and health, we fail to carry it over to other parts of life. Small stresses on your income can be good for keeping you from accumulating silent risk or becoming cocky. Small fights in your relationship can help it become stronger, and avoid big fights

Taleb uses the "Procrustean Bed" story to demonstrate how we create harm by reducing variations. Procrustes would capture travelers and put them in his bed, stretching them on a rack if they were too short for it or chopping off their extremities if they were too tall. When we destroy variations to fit a model, we do similar harm.

A donkey equally hungry and thirsty stuck between a bale of hay and water will die of starvation and thirst, unable to make a decision between the two. However, a random nudge in one direction will solve the problem for him. Randomness can help with decision making and becoming unstuck, but when we try to reduce it, we lose that beneficial stressor

Related, the cure to procrastination on the job is not to force yourself to create systems that fix it, rather, to find an occupation where you do not have to fight your impulses and where you do not procrastinate.

Taleb is a big proponent of trial and error, which he calls tinkering, as a way to figure things out and expose yourself to large potential upsides.
^[ME] Refer to H Simon’s use of trial error in developing experience

I’ve come to believe more and more that the right book and idea is not about completely teaching you something new, rather, helping you fully articulate something you have already begun to think about.

Some Rules for Optionality
  1. Look for optionality and rank things according to their optionality
  2. Look for things with open ended, not closed ended, payoffs
  3. Do not invest in business plans but in people, people who could change careers six or seven times
  4. Make sure you are barbelled, whatever that means in your business