Posted on 2014-09-21 12:57:00
Tags: reviews books
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Maaaan this book was frustrating to read.
His main point is that some things are fragile - small random things happening to them make them break. Some things are robust - they're resilient to small random things happening to them. But the best things are antifragile - small random things happening to them make them stronger. Good examples are things like your immune system, since being exposed to weak viruses makes it stronger.
So far so good. Unfortunately the rest of the book was painful to read, even as there were some good ideas sprinkled within. Here are some reasons why!
- The author is, to put it delicately, an egocentric asshole. He calls things "sissy" and "wussy", because he's apparently a fifth grader. Some choice quotes:
A friend who writes books remarked that painters like painting but authors like "having written." I suggested he stop writing, for his sake and the sake of his readers.Charming, no? He also goes on about people who just don't understand his ideas (which I'm a little skeptical of...it's possible that they do understand and disagree, which I'm sure the author would consider the same as not "really" understanding) and gives the example of a time when he was doing a radio interview and the journalist didn't understand something, so he walked out of the studio.
But when you medicate a child for an imagined or invented psychiatric disease, say, ADHD or depression, instead of letting him out of the cage, the long-term harm is largely unaccounted for.I mean, I don't disagree that ADHD is probably overdiagnosed and we need to be careful about prescribing medication, especially if it isn't proven to work better than counseling. But I think it's pretty unreasonable and insulting to say depression is "imagined or invented". To me, this shows a lack of empathy or a belief that since he doesn't feel depressed, other people are just "sad" or faking it or something. Sigh.
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