Anti-fragility: What It Is and What It Means for Businesses

What is anti-fragility?

Literally, anti-fragility is a condition that is the opposite of fragile. Anti-fragility describes systems that do not diminish from crisis, and may even flourish. 

The term anti-fragility was coined by professor and former hedge fund manager Nassim Nicholas Taleb because he felt no other word came close to describing what it meant. 

According to Taleb, the meaning of anti-fragility goes beyond the meaning of “robustness” because something anti-fragile does not just withstand shock but can thrive because of it.

How businesses can become anti-fragile

Antifragility is an interdisciplinary concept that can be applied to different fields including science, psychology, and finance. Anti-fragility is mainly when a system is not dependent on one factor for survival or success and can rely on multiple alternatives to achieve a goal –so that in case one fails, another can replace it. 

With finance and personal financial management, Taleb considers people who are debt-free as anti-fragile because they are less vulnerable and dependent on external factors. For business, anti-fragility means not depending on one single business strategy, sales, or product to succeed. If the company invests in multiple ways to grow, if even one doesn’t work out, it still has others to help it sustain itself. This is also a strategy that helps businesses be self-reliant and debt-free.

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