"She doubted if they all sensed it--they had seen the world--but even (Jozef) was silent for a minute as they looked, and the scene, the smell, even the sound of the band playing a faintly recognizable movie theme, was locked forever in her, and she was at peace. Her soul knew a moment's calm, as if it had been uncrumpled and smoothed under an iron."
~ Stephen King, Carrie
Media Dragon aka Taleb is back. Antifragile goes much further in developing his Black Swan idea. Little wonder that men such as King are paying attention: after pouring a vast amount of taxpayers’ money into the financial system, British regulators, like those elsewhere in the western world, urgently need to know whether or not the economy is any less prone to violent shocks.
Taleb has plenty of advice to offer us on how to become more antifragile. We should embrace unpredictable change, rather than chase after an illusion of stability; refuse to believe anyone who offers advice without taking personal risk; keep institutions and systems small and self-contained to ensure that they can fail without bringing the entire system down; build slack into our lives and systems to accommodate surprises; and, above all, recognise the impossibility of predicting anything with too much precision. Instead of building systems that are excessively “safe”, Taleb argues, we should roll with the punches, learn to love the random chances of life and, above all, embrace small pieces of adversity as opportunities for improvement. “Wind extinguishes a candle and energises a fire,” he writes. “Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos, you want to use them, not hide from them.” As life advice goes, it all sounds very wise, if not cheering; although Taleb at times almost slips into the tone of the popular self-help guides that he professes to loathe (he opines on everything from French banking to the merits of orange juice). Indeed, the core philosophy is so darn sensible, in a home-spun way, that some readers may wonder why Taleb felt the need to present his work in such a long form (it is divided grandly into seven books-within-a-book, with titles such as “Book IV: Optionality, Technology, and the Intelligence of Antifragility”) or to write with a tone that at times veers towards the didactic.Agile Taleb
The story of the Book of Kells, of the mystery surrounding its provenance and the anonymity of the master scribes and artists who executed it, is a splendid romance. Few emblems of medieval European civilisation have caught the imagination of the international public to the same degree. Every year tens of thousands of visitors to Dublin file through the Long Room of Trinity College to view its intricately decorated pages. The artistry, colour, exuberance and wit that went into the making of this illuminated version of the four Gospels, described in the 11th-century Annals of Ulster as “primh-mind iarthair domain”, “the most precious object of the western world”, are an enduring source of awe and admiration. Here is a spark of brilliant light shining for us out of the Dark Ages. Let there be Light