Chapter 2

Overcompensation and Overreaction Everywhere

  • Try to get in trouble. Serious one, but not terminal.
  • Difficulty is what wakes up the genius (ingenium mala saepe movent)
  • The excess energy released from overreaction to setbacks is what innovates!
  • Moderns try today to create inventions from situations of comfort, safety, and predictability instead of accepting the notion that “necessity really is the mother of invention.”
  • Many, like the great Roman statesman Cato the Censor, looked at comfort, almost any form of comfort, as a road to waste. 1 He did not like it when we had it too easy, as he worried about the weakening of the will.
  • the richer we become, the harder it gets to live within our means. Abundance is harder for us to handle than scarcity.


  • It is said that the best horses lose when they compete with slower ones, and win against better rivals. Undercompensation from the absence of a stressor, inverse hormesis,
  • absence of challenge, degrades the best of the best.
  • absence of challenge, degrades the best of the best.
  • as free time makes them dysfunctional, lazy, and unmotivated—the busier they get, the more active they are at other tasks.

Antifragile Responses as Redundancy

  • redundancy is not necessarily wussy; it can be extremely aggressive.
  • If humans fight the last war, nature fights the next one.
  • Your body is more imaginative about the future than you are. Consider how people train in weightlifting: the body
  • When I deadlift (i.e., mimic lifting a stone to waist level) using a bar with three hundred and thirty pounds, then rest, I can safely expect that I will build a certain amount of additional strength as my body predicts that next time I may need to lift three hundred and thirty-five pounds.



  • The higher you build your barricades, the stronger we become.
  • Psychologists have shown the irony of the process of thought control: the more energy you put into trying to control your ideas and what you think about, the more your ideas end up controlling you.

Please Ban My Book: The Antifragility of Information

  • “I never hear anything wrong said about you. You have proven yourself incapable of generating envy.”
  • the more you insist that a secret remains a secret, the more it will spread.

Get Another Job

  • You do not want to “control” your reputation; you won’t be able to do it by controlling information flow.
  • When you hear a corporation or a debt-laden government trying to “reinstill confidence” you know they are fragile, hence doomed.
  • Just as in matters of seduction, people lend the most to those who need them the least.
  • It is quite perplexing that those from whom we have benefited the most aren’t those who have tried to help us (say with “advice”) but rather those who have actively tried—but eventually failed—to harm us.



Chapter 3

  • Machines are harmed by low-level stressors (material fatigue), organisms are harmed by the absence of low-level stressors (hormesis).

The Cat and the Washing Machine

  • failures to self-repair come largely from maladjustment—either too few stressors or too little time for recovery between them—and maladjustment for this author is the mismatch between one’s design and the structure of the randomness of the environmentTry to get in trouble. Serious one, but not terminal.
  • some markers, such as blood pressure, that tend to worsen over time for moderns do not change over the life of hunter-gatherers until the very end.

The Complex

  • Artificial, man-made mechanical and engineering contraptions with simple responses are complicated, but not “complex,” as they don’t have interdependencies.


  • because of nonlinearities, one needs higher visibility than with regular systems—instead what we have is opacity.
  • focus on lifting heavy objects rather than using gym machines.
  • Weight bearing head baskets – lifetime of head-loading water jugs, hasoutstanding health and excellent posture.
  • the pressures brought about by civilization make you feel trapped in life.
  • Low Level Stressor- without recovery time damages you, instead short high-level stressors with recovery time makes you even stronger



Equilibrium, Not Again

  • For non-organic objects equilibrium is “state of inertia”
  • For organic objects equilibrium a state of normalcy requires a certain degree of volatility, randomness, the continuous swapping of information, and stress, which explains the harm they may be subjected to when deprived of volatility.


  • Why medication should only be for pathological cases? And not psychological? —> My mood, my sadness, my bouts of anxiety, are a second source of intelligence—perhaps even the first source.
  • Measures that aim at reducing variability and swings in the lives of children are also reducing variability and differences within our said to be Great Culturally Globalized Society.

Punished by Translation

  • You need to communicate under more or less straining circumstances, particularly to express urgent needs (say, physical ones, such those arising in the aftermath of dinner in a tropical location).
  • One learns new words not by nerdy way, but because of need to converse


  • the worse touristification is the life we moderns have to lead in captivity, during our leisure hours: Friday night opera, scheduled parties, scheduled laughs. Again,golden jail.
  • This “goal-driven” attitude hurts deeply inside my existential self.

The Secret Thirst for Chance

  • if you are alive—something deep in your soul likes a certain measure of randomness and disorder
  • randomness is necessary for true life
  • Ancestral life was Dangerous, yes, but boring, never.