30 Days of Writing, Day 14: Ideas From Antifragile

Antifragile by Nassim Nicolas Taleb was really difficult to read: I can deal with his incessant ranting, but he really loves using complicated words and long paragraphs. Here are some things I took away from this book.

On fragility: while fragile objects like porcelain cups break apart when shocked or stressed, antifragile concepts benefit from those. This probably confirms what I think about re: investing time and money on online courses, books, and studying over clothes and luxury goods, because knowledge stays with you, as long as you apply it, and material possessions can get lost, destroyed, or stolen.

On the “green lumber fallacy”, Taleb writes, “Joe Siegel, one of the most successful traders in a commodity called “green lumber,” actually thought it was lumber painted green (rather than freshly cut lumber, called green because it had not been dried).” You don’t necessarily need to understand things to make a profit from them: execution matters more than the idea in your head that you are smart.

On “skin in the game”: “Never ask anyone for their opinion, forecast, or recommendation; just ask them what they have—or don’t have—in their portfolio.” People should be held accountable for their opinions: in the Philippines, if contractors and politicians had their faces plastered on the pothole-filled roads, they probably won’t do such a crappy job in the first place.

Honestly, I probably should have just read a summary: there were a lot of cool ideas, but he bogged them down with really verbose language.