Plus or Minus Bad Teeth (Excerpt from Antifragile by Nassim Taleb)

Plus or Minus Bad Teeth

You can control fragility a lot more than you think. So let us refine in three points:

(i) Since detecting (anti)fragility—or, actually, smelling it, as Fat Tony will show us in the next few chapters—is easier, much easier, than prediction and understanding the dynamics of events, the entire mission reduces to the central principle of what to do to minimize harm (and maximize gain) from forecasting errors, that is, to have things that don’t fall apart, or even benefit, when we make a mistake.

(ii) We do not want to change the world for now (leave that to the Soviet-Harvard utopists and other fragilistas); we should first make things more robust to defects and forecast errors, or even exploit these errors, making lemonade out of the lemons.

(iii) As for the lemonade, it looks as if history is in the business of making it out of lemons; antifragility is necessarily how things move forward under the mother of all stressors, called time.

Further, after the occurrence of an event, we need to switch the blame from the inability to see an event coming (say a tsunami, an Arabo-Semitic spring or similar riots, an earthquake, a war, or a financial crisis) to the failure to understand (anti)fragility, namely, “why did we build something so fragile to these types of events?” Not seeing a tsunami or an economic event coming is excusable; building something fragile to them is not.