Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

O death where is your victory?

Written by: on December 7, 2023


Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder are another great one to explore. Frankly, this book is uneasy to read; I always love it when Blinkist has a summary book version that brings the entire book to a manageable and easy-to-read format.

The fragile, the robust, and the antifragile.

Everything around the world, as seen by Taleb, can be put in these three categories.

The fragile, the robust, and the antifragile

The meaning of Antifragility

Dr. Taleb must have seen sufficient strife in his childhood as he reveals about the civil war in his homeland. No wonder he has been inspired to write these great books that inspire even the least to rise and shine with greatness.

Phoenix is the ancient symbol of Beirut, where I grew up. According to legend, Berytus (Beirut’s historical name) has been destroyed seven times in its close to five-thousand-year history and has returned seven times. The story seems cogent, as I saw the eighth episode; central Beirut (the ancient part of the city) was utterly destroyed for the eighth time during my late childhood, thanks to the brutal civil war. I also saw its eighth rebuilding.[1]

“We struggle to define this concept partly because none of the world’s major languages has a word for it. We must, therefore, use the word antifragile to describe the antithesis of fragility – things that benefit from shock and therefore prefer volatility to tranquillity.”[2]

Undoubtedly, humans can grow from pain and suffering, as Nietzsche said: “Out of life’s school of war – what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”[3] As shared by the author, an example of antifragility is the story of the Hydra from Greek mythology: “The Hydra was a many-headed serpent which tormented the ancient world. Each time one of these heads was cut off in battle, two would grow back in their place. So every time the beast was harmed, it benefitted; the Hydra was therefore antifragile.”[4]

The Birth of the Phoenix

I had to look at the genesis of the Phoenix where I live; it was a ‘prophecy’ that would come true as the city grew from the ruins of former civilization.  “It was Darrell Duppa who suggested the name Phoenix since the new town would spring from the ruins of a former civilization. That is the accepted derivation of our name. Phoenix officially was recognized on May 4, 1868, when the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, the county of which we were then a part, formed an election precinct here.”[5]

Biblical Antifragility

Looking at the Book of Job, we can confirm that myths have existed for a long time; some Bible versions here included the mythical Phoenix bird. “In my own nest, I shall grow old; I shall multiply years like the phoenix” (Job 29:18 NAB-RE). Many early Christians were Greeks and were already familiar with the mythical bird.

Only in Resurrection do we find Antifragility.  

The true antifragility that I find true and non-mythical is Resurrection. Without faith in the risen Lord and life after death, Job would have lost hope in despair as I would. “Where, O death is your victory, where,  O death, is your sting.” (1 Cor. 15:55). As believers, removing the sting of death (sin) by the shade blood of Jesus gives us ultimate victory over fragility. Personally, resilience is the highest form of human strength, of course, with the help of God, and There is nothing that equates to antifragility in real life; it is purely mystical.

[1] Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, Random House trade paperback edition, Incerto / Nassim Nicholas Taleb (New York: Random House, 2016).

[2] Nassim Nicholas Taleb, “Antifragility,” accessed December 7, 2023, https://www.blinkist.com/en/nc/reader/antifragile-en.

[3] “What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Stronger Meaning & Origin | Slang by Dictionary.Com,” Dictionary.Com (blog), accessed June 18, 2023, https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/what-doesnt-kill-you-makes-you-stronger/.

[4] Nassim Nicholas Taleb, “Antifragility.”

[5] James M. Barney, “City of Phoenix History,” accessed December 7, 2003, https://www.phoenix.gov/pio/city-publications/city-history#:~:text=Others%20suggested%20the%20name%20Salina,accepted%20derivation%20of%20our%20name.

About the Author


Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe

Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe is a Clinical Correctional Chaplain and former Child Refugee from War-torn Rwanda. A member of the Maxwell Leadership Certified Team, Jean is passionate about Servant Leadership and looks forward to seeing more leaders that inspire Lasting Peace and Justice for all, especially "the least of these".

13 responses to “O death where is your victory?”

  1. Michael O'Neill says:

    Great post, Dr. Ndahiriwe. I love your statement about the truth of antifragility is in the resurrection. Amen! I can’t wait for the day.

    Have you had to become anti-fragile when working in prisons?

  2. mm David Beavis says:

    I love the connection between antifragility and resurrection! Resurrection is the ultimate example of antifragility. Instead of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” what kills you, and what killed Jesus, doesn’t have the last word.

  3. “The true antifragility that I find true and non-mythical is Resurrection.” Yes! This is the key that I wrote about, as well. As humans, our bodies are by nature fragile and will one day return to dust, but through the resurrection of Jesus we have the hope that our spirits will live and one day be reunited with bodies that are as antifragile as Christ’s! Thank you, Jean.

  4. mm Audrey Robinson says:

    Dr. Jean,
    I loved the connection between antifragile and resurrection as well. One of the articles I read on the antifragile argued that simply being resilient is not enough for what might lay ahead in our complex world. Becoming adaptable and stronger was more important. Might this be a correlation to our becoming new creatures in Christ?

    • Thanks Dr. Robinson,
      I definitely agree with the different kind of resilience for those who are in Christ. We are able not only to return to our previous status prior to crisis but can be more effective especially as we boldly inspire others with our testimonies. I will call it Growth Beyond Resilience.

  5. Tonette Kellett says:


    I loved your post. Thank you for connecting this book and work to the coming resurrection of believers! Hallelujah!

  6. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Amen! True anti fragility is only possible in the resurrection!

  7. Jean,
    Your insight into the relationship with resurrection is a great perspective to consider and worth digging into more.

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