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The Most Intolerant Wins

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The Most Intolerant Wins

The Dominance of the Stubborn Minority

Nassim N. Taleb,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Society doesn’t evolve by majority rule – but by pressure from a stubborn and persistent minority.


Editorial Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative

Recommendation

In his latest essay, best-selling author and academic Nassim Nicholas Taleb challenges commonly held assumptions about who facilitates societal change. His provocative theory of “minority rule” argues that intransigent minority groups, not majority consensus, drive change. While he fails to examine the damage that the minority rule can wreak, his thesis is compelling, convincing and supremely relevant. getAbstract recommends Taleb’s insightful take on transformation to anyone who wants a fresh perspective about how change happens and who really alters societies.

Summary

How do you explain the rise of organic food companies? How did the English language become a global lingua franca? How do civil rights emerge?

These seemingly disparate questions have one unifying answer: the “minority rule.” Each example shows that it just takes a small, intransigent minority in the face of a flexible majority to create change. A group must make up only a small percentage of the population in order for the whole population to acquiesce and accommodate its preferences. An asymmetry in choices underpins the minority rule, where the minority is stubborn but...

About the Author

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is an author, scholar and statistician. A review in the Sunday Times called his book The Black Swan “one of the twelve most influential books since World War II.”


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