I almost gave up on this one until I found out I could increase the playback speed on my iphone and cut the listening time by a few hours...good move...it also made the annoying narrator sound less annoying.
There are a few interesting tidbits in the book, but it was anywhere from boring to painful to get to those points. Overall I would mirror the thoughts of the other reviewers. What was most annoying to me is that Taleb falls prey to the fallacies he blasts, most notably the narrative fallacy.
I would say 2.5 stars, but rounded that up to 3 because I did take a few things away from this listen.
This book was wonderful. I listened to Fooled by Randomness (twice) before getting this one. I thought Fooled by Randomness was great, but found this one to be even better. I've listened to this one twice as well, and will buy the book so I can more easily reference the individual sections. I found the second listening was necessary to cement the concepts. I don't often listen/read books twice (in succession), but in this case I was not prepared to let the concepts get away, as can easily happen on a first pass. I was ready for this book as it crystallized a number of ideas that I had floating around in my mind. I hope you find it as useful as I did.
This book is written by a true egotist, but his points are valid and interesting--if you're capable of overlooking his arrogance. That being said, I couldn't get through more than 1.5 hours of this audiobook. I had to trash it from my ipod and read the book outright (I like to read while I listen). The narration is forced and actually alters a lot of the writers points. He emphasizes the wrong scientific words in sentences, almost constantly. As a physicist this drove me insane and I couldn't stand listening to it. I wouldn't recommend this audiobook. I disliked the narrators voice and he clearly didn't understand the writers intention, which is the worst of follies for an audiobook.
Some interesting ideas but the author is so pompous and arrogant that it required me great effort to listen to it to the end hoping it would all make sense. A very unpleasant person.
I read through this book based on hearing the author speak on the radio and I was impressed. I think his central point about how life is considerably more uncertain than we like to think is an important and valuable one. Yes, it's a long book, but I think that the more the subject gets boiled down into smaller and smaller sound-bites, the less effect it is likely to have. And I think the warning here for us is a valuable one.
To the many reviews here who wanted to boil the book down to one sentence: did you even read it? Half of the book is about how when we simplify things we throw out important parts of them, leaving behind dangerously simplified concepts. And after reading the whole book, you THEN want to boil it down to "shit happens?" Frankly, I'm glad that I didn't heed those reviews, then I read them, or I would be lesser for it.
I have over 500 books in my library
This is one of the worst books i have ever listened to. Also IF you are implying that all blondes are prostitutes I hope to catch you on side of the road one day because I can kick your teeth in !!!! OHH yes and Yogi Bera is a wise old chap duuhhh. I hope nobody waste their hard earned money on this book
The premise of the book is interesting in the fact that the author simply points out that things are unpredictable. The problem is the author, spends soo much time promoting himself and quoting other books, it gets old very fast!!! The author wants to do is quote French phases!!! PASS ON THIS ONE!
It seems every time (and there were many) the narrator came across a foreign name in the reading, there would be a slight pause while he loaded up what strong foreign accent was needed, and then he said the person's name in that language (at a slightly slower pace, and a bit louder) before switching back to English and moving along.
Drove me crazy, and each time took me out of the flow of following along with the audio to starkly remind me that I was listening to an audio book.
At the very end of the book a different speaker gives some thanks for buying the book. He mentioned a couple foreign names as well, but did so much more seamlessly, and appropriately.
So, if you are planning on purchasing the audio book, I recommend you listen to the sample first. The narrator probably did a good job of reflecting the author's pretentious style.
As for the book itself, just two stars and a wish I'd used my credit for something else. (Probably the lowest I've rated a book that I finished.)
The title of this review and the other negative reviewers said it all. I like pop-economic-sociology books very much - especially in audible form, but this one is a true loser. Most of his "insights" are sophmoric at best and the whole tone is "look at me, I'm smarter, more cultured, and more philosophically even minded than everyone else." At first I thought I was getting something out of it, if only a set of good arguments against his premises, but after awhile decided that most of the premises weren't even worth arguing with - too much like one of those 3 a.m. discussions you had after a lot of beer back in your college days.
Aspiring Children's Book Writer
No observation of white swans can tell you that black swans do not exist. These arguments will not sound that revolutionary if you've taken a survey philosophy class. What makes Taleb's work interesting is that he applies these ideas to economics, statistics, and other real world situations.
Now, although I'm all for skepticism, I cannot say that I like this book primarily because I find the author dripping with hubris. Nearly all the characters and authors that Mr. Taleb bothers to mention are there to be belittled. Though Mr. Taleb warns the reader against being too full of oneself, he name-drops to the point of impeding his argument. Also, his writing is rather weak. Instead of using large examples that can serve in several situations, he makes so many examples that it is hard to concentrate on the point of the example, and instead of stating his argument first, he'll provide an example without really connecting things to the main idea. In addition, Taleb mentions concrete details which in no way serve to add to his examples. His writing becomes stronger toward the end, but honestly, I found Malcolm Gladwell's article entitled Blowing Up describing Mr. Taleb, which you can read at Gladwell's website, as a better description of Taleb's methods.