"Taleb lists Silicon Valley, trial and error tinkering, coalitions of city states and venture capital as anti-fragile."I know nothing of venture capital, but the history of Greece and northern Italy suggests to me that that coalitions of city states were as fragile as any organization one could care to name.
This is a really interesting point Taleb is making...or is it? It seems to me that pseudo anti fragility exists too and is actually much more wide spread - from nature on - like those butterflies whose wings when spread seems to be a monster and so birds stay away -- or societies too like the USSR that seemed so invulnerable but was full of holes and collapsed so quickly -- or even people on which Nietzsche famously disclaimed "What doesn't destroy me makes me stronger" and yet he was sickly, had a total collapse and died relatively young ...hmmm...is Taleb just pointing out a minor, obvious condition, that is seen in very few areas? Even his examples aren't really accurate nor illuminating as George notes
When I reviewed "The Black Swan," what struck me most was the implication that in understanding the past what was most important was figuring out the people what in the past did not know or thought they knew and were wrong about (e.g., just about everyone thought what turned out to be World War I would be over in a few months). Taleb does not seem to have pursued this, however. We can, however, be sure that we are at present wrong about much — and that includes a lot of things were are sure of.
"We can, however, be sure that we are at present wrong about much — and that includes a lot of things [we] were [or] are sure of."See for examples this review of The Half-Life of Facts, by Samuel Arbesman (Current, 2012):http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324894104578113590368047244.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h