5 Antifragile Quotes That Will Make You Thrive in Adversity

Wind extinguishes a candle, but energizes a fire — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antifragile is a mind-bending book written by Dr. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. He is a Lebanese- American essayist, scholar, mathematical statistician, and former options trader and risk analysis.

He is well known for his thought-provoking ideologies backed by research.

In this book, the author has discussed a broader view of how systems that thrive in unstable conditions are Antifragile.

If you ask people the opposite of fragility, most of them would answer robust, sturdy, strong or synonymous word.

However, Nassim discusses in his book that the opposite of fragile is Antifragile. It is when you face real world hardships that make you stronger and resilient.

For example, when a glass is dropped and broken into pieces, it happens due to fragility.

When carbon is burned and pressurized, it turns into a diamond.

Similarly, if you are faced with adversity like heartbreak or failure in a career, you have 3 options:

  1. To stay there whining → Fragile
  2. To not care → Robust, Sturdy
  3. To rise up stronger and build a better version of yourself → Antifragile

Therefore, most of the successful people that have gone through adversity like financial crises, debts, personal trauma know how not to be in the same place.

According to the author, little stress and pressure are essential to become antifragile.

It requires a trial and error and continuous mindset of learning.

In this article, I tried relating some quotes to examples and tried putting my understanding into simple words.


If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud

Many times, we do greater damage to our society by not raising voice against the events that should be in the limelight or needs higher authority’s intervention.

If masses come together to fight for bettering society, society collectively becomes better.

Conclusion: Raising the voice does better than harm. It alerts the fraudulent and educate the masses.


If every plane crash makes the next one less likely, every bank crash makes the next one more likely. We should eliminate the second type of error — the one that produces contagion — in our construction of an ideal socio-economic system

Conclusion: Any unfortunate disaster or event creates a room for improvement of that system.


The more data you get, the less you know what’s continuing

The chances of getting more accurate data in today’s world have become bleak. More information creates a room for more confusion.

Conclusion: The author says that less is usually more effective. If we could focus only on essentials and cut out the rest, we would create more efficient, noiseless systems.


We see a high degree of academic research in wealthy and developed countries, leading us to think uncritically that research is the generator of wealth

The number and quality academic research centers in India is almost 300 and in the USA is nearly 1200. This means that India has a long way to go in terms of building quality R&D infrastructure and related types of equipment so that students would want to stay in the country to study. If that happens, the quality and quantity of intellectuals will rise and that would enhance the overall economic conditions of the country.

Conclusion: Investments should be done more on R&D institutes rather than building any statues.


Some thoughts are so antifragile that you feed them by trying to eliminate them, turning them into obsessions

The author explains the irony of the more you think about your thoughts and ideas, the more it controls you.

For example, if you decide to quit any bad habit out of nowhere, chances are you will think about it for a day, two days, three days.

You feel proud that you are going great but right after a week or two, the frustration builds in and you end up doing that exact the same thing that you suddenly ran away with double intensity. You end up being more damaged than you were before.

Conclusion: If you are gradually consistent with a positive opportunistic approach, you are more likely to sustain or even better, thrive!


The book has interesting ideas for young entrepreneurs, curious heads, and open minds. The author also shades light on how the world is too complicated to be engineer or business after high school.

So next time when you face a critical situation in life that is not too extreme, be happy as this experience can potentially change your life for better.

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