Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: ‘Antifragile’: The Key to Thriving Amid Uncertainty

Great Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue. $5.

Media Library, Science

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Called “the hottest thinker in the world” by The Sunday Times of London, the always-provocative (and often-hilarious) Nassim Nicholas Taleb outlines the fragile world we live in—and how and why we should become more “antifragile.” What Taleb calls the antifragile actually benefits from shocks and stressors (just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension); this, he says, makes uncertainty not only desirable, but necessary. Posing a revolutionary message (“There is no stability without volatility, and what is not antifragile will perish”), the author of The Black Swan and the new Antifragile explains how we can gain from disorder and chaos while being protected from fragilities and adverse events. Presented by Town Hall and University Book Store as part of The Seattle Science Lectures, sponsored by Microsoft. Series media sponsorship provided by KPLU.


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  1. Celia
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Wait a minute! “Shocks and stressors…[are] necessary.” But we can be “protected from fragilities”? How does one so carefully draw a line between welcoming stressors (which I read as threats), and also protecting oneself from adverse (threatening) events?

  2. JJ Abodeely, CFA
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Common sense and experience will help one draw a line–

    If you tried to lift 500 pounds 20 times you’d probably stress the muscle out until it tears. If you tried to lift 5 pounds 20 times you’d probably stress the muscle out just enough that it will regenerate with increased strength.

    The point that Mr. Taleb makes is that as a culture we’ve decided to avoid pain at all costs in the name of protecting ourselves from “harmful” things like the flu, recessions, small forest fires, but in the end we’ve made our system much more vulnerable (fragile) to drug resistant diseases, financial crises, and mega fires.

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