This Book Will Help You Benefit From Random Events

Zachary Walston

The pandemic has been brutal for millions, if not billions, of families. Yet, for some people, the pandemic has benefited them. How is that possible? Some of it is luck. Some of it is antifragility.

"Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty."

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder is without a doubt the most frustrating book I've ever read. On the one hand, author Nassim Nicholas Taleb provides a  raw and authentic viewpoint regarding the challenges with forecasting and preparing for future events. On the other hand, he can be a real jackass. Granted, he acknowledges it in his book and is unapologetic about it (he didn't call himself a jackass but understands he can be off-putting). You have to respect that.

Furthermore, he has a sound moral compass which he routinely displays.

"If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud."

There are several views Taleb holds that I disagree with, but that isn't a bad thing. You can't agree with everything you read.

For example, Taleb discredits the notion of forecasting. Yes, the future holds many unknowns and all potential variables and outcomes can never be accounted for, yet, there are methods to improve our ability to forecast. In their book Superforecasting, Dan Gardner and Philip Tetlock outline several strategies that can be used to improve our ability to predict future events. By no means are the methods foolproof, but they do improve accuracy.

The best strategy is to combine the wisdom of Tetlock, Gardner, and Taleb. Improve your skillset in predicting future events but build antifragility to benefit when you are wrong.

"Anything that has more upside than downside from random events, is anti-fragile; the reverse is fragile."

​This book will challenge your mindset around preparing for the future and how you develop yourself personally and professionally. It may not be a pandemic, but there is little doubt we are in store for future black swan events.

"Wisdom in decision making is vastly more important - not just practically but philosophically - than knowledge."

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I am a physical therapist, researcher, and educator whose mission is to challenge health misinformation. You will find articles about health, fitness, medical care, psychology, and professional development on my site. As the husband of a real estate agent, you will also find real estate and housing tips.

Atlanta, GA

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