Nassim Taleb, the banker-turned-philosopher who predicted the financial collapse of 2008, has been called ‘the hottest thinker in the world’. His internationally bestselling book, The Black Swan, was about the impact of rare, unpredictable events. In his latest book he expands on this theory and comes up with the concept of ‘antifragile’ – the idea that through small shocks and surprises humans (and financial systems) can become more than robust – they can thrive and become antifragile. But critics have labelled this theory ‘antisocial’. Rana Mitter meets Nassim Taleb to test the robustness of his ideas, on Night Waves, at 10pm.
From the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to the 2008 financial collapse, many of the most consequential events in recent history caught government and investors off guard. In 2007, Nassim Nicholas Taleb provided a highly influential framework for explaining, and adapting to, these unpredictable shocks to political and financial systems, with his book “The Black Swan.” His latest work, “Antifragile,” expands on his theory of the unknown to explain how we can succeed and thrive in a world ruled by disorder.
Penguin and 5×15 Events presents Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Antifragile, in conversation with Ed Smith journalist and ex-pro cricketer. The talk took place at the Union Chapel in Islington on November 26th 2012 and was watched by an audience of over 650 people.
You don’t need a physics degree to ride a bicycle. Nor, Nassim Nicholas Taleb realized one day, do traders need to understand the mathematical theorems of options trading to trade options. Instead traders discover “heuristics,” or rules of thumb, by trial and error. These are then formalized by academics into theorems and taught to new generations of traders, who become slaves to theory, ignore their own common sense and end by blowing up the system. In a neat echo of its own thesis, Mr. Taleb’s paper making this point sat unpublished for seven years while academic reviewers tried to alter it to fit their prejudices.