I'm only a few chapters into it, but already love the notion that what sustains nature, life, economies, just about everything, isn't rigid robustness. Stresses that leave us the same aren't growthful. What we want is to be able to thrive on unpredictability, not-knowing, random stresses.
Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire.
Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them. You want to be the fire and wish for the wind... The mission is how to domesticate, even dominate, the unseen, the opaque, and the inexplicable.
Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile.
Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.
...I want to live happily in a world I don't understand.
Imagine how wonderful it would feel to no longer need to chase after illusory answers, like those offered by religions. We'd be happy not knowing what will happen after death, after this year, after this day, after this moment.
We wouldn't worry about making mistakes, sinning, screwing up, falling down. Every experience would teach us something valuable. We'd understand that since life is unpredictably chaotically random, it isn't possible to know exactly where we're going to go.
Detours and deadends not only are inevitable; they're joyous surprises on the road of life.
...If you are not a washing machine or a cuckoo clock -- in other words, if you are alive -- something deep in your soul likes a certain measure of randomness and disorder. There is a titillating feeling associated with randomness.
...If I could predict what my day would exactly look like, I would feel a little bit dead.
...When you are fragile, you depend on things following the exact planned course, with as little deviation as possible -- for deviations are more harmful than helpful. This is why the fragile needs to be very predictive in its approach, and, conversely, predictive systems cause fragility.
When you want deviations, and you don't care about the possible dispersion of outcomes that the future can bring, since most will be helpful, you are antifragile.
...If every trial provides you with information about what does not work, you start zooming in on a solution -- so every attempt becomes more valuable, more like an expense than an error. And of course you make discoveries along the way.
...He who has never sinned is less reliable than he who has only sinned once. And someone who has made plenty of errors -- though never the same error more than once -- is more reliable than someone who has never made any.
Taleb arouses varying opinions, because he's highly opinionated. I like his style, and most of his core ideas. Here's a rather detailed summary of Taleb's book; looks good, though I didn't read the whole thing.
And here's a video interview of Taleb talking about his book.