What does ‘antifragile’ mean?

Antifragile book cover

We are living through a time of extraordinary change. And like the exponential spread of a Covid-19, the pace of that change is accelerating.

Each change on its own is unpredictable. But the changes are also interconnected: a change in our technology affects our economies, which affects society, which affects our politics, and also our environment, which changes the technologies we need, and so on.

If we want to live well through this time of change we can’t just do more of what worked in the past. We need a new approach to leading ourselves and other people through times of unprecedented change.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s third book gives a hint of what that might look like.

In it he invents a new word: ‘antifragile’.

Summarising his argument, Taleb says that:

  • Things, people, and organisations that break when they come under stress we call ‘fragile’
  • Things, people, and organisations that do not break under stress we call ‘strong’, ‘robust’, or ‘resilient’
  • So let’s invent a new word for things, people, and organisations that actually become stronger under stress. Let’s call this word: “anti-fragile”

The Churning, Inner Leadership is a book that describes a framework and a set of tools for becoming antifragile: for learning not just how to survive change but how to use change to become stronger.

Because only when we can do this, only when our response to any new challenge is simply to become clearer about what we most want and how best to achieve that, only then will this time of churning come to an end.

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Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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You can buy the book here and the workbook here.

(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)


Photo By Gene Ng via StockPholio.net

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