Antifragile

I’m reading this most recent book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto), by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

It’s SO hard to get through, it makes me feel dumb. You know the author is a genius, and all that comes with being a genius (ie. he’s a curmudgeon, and difficult, and condescending, and would be impossible to be married to). But, I admire his brilliance and his complete f*** you attitude towards the establishment and, especially, academia. I’m going to have to reread The Black Swan which I read (after the ’08 meltdown, unfortunately) and loved.

The subtitle, Things That Gain from Disorder, indicates that antifragile isn’t just robust or resilient, it’s the opposite of fragility, a concept that doesn’t really even exist in our vernacular.

Here’s a good example of how Jay and I were actually antifragile. Back in ’04 and ’05, I kept reading about the rising rates of foreclosure in Denver. We were pretty much resistant to being foreclosed on, having financial security and lots of equity in our house. We were robust/resilient in the face of the looming housing crisis. But, it turns out, we were antifragile, too, because I thought, hey, I’ll bet I can learn about foreclosures and make some money here. So, I learned all about the process and how to research properties and titles and liens. I learned how the foreclosure process worked, went to public trustee auctions and watched and then followed how a couple of investors operated and, finally, started participating myself. I did all the research and paperwork and spreadsheets. Jay did most of the physical fixing and flipping activities. Together we had all the skills to make a bunch of money over the course of 7-8 years. We gained from the disorder of the housing crisis. We weren’t just resistant. We thrived because of it.

I would love to think that I can become antifragile, not just in a financial sense, but in an emotional and psychological way. I was the opposite of antifragile when my nephew died, and I don’t ever want to be so weak and vulnerable again.

A very dear friend took her life about three months ago and, while I’m not nearly the mess I was when Matthew killed himself, there are moments when I feel those familiar waters rushing in. I’m determined to find a way to be antifragile emotionally, to find a way to grow and become stronger and give the finger to the feelings of sadness and loss. I’m determined to come out of this stronger, let alone intact. I’d really like to find a book to help me. 😉

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