Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill, the world of trading, this audiobook is a captivating insight into one of the least understood factors of all our lives. In an entertaining narrative style, the author succeeds in tackling three major intellectual issues: the problem of induction, the survivorship biases, and our genetic unfitness to the modern word. Taleb uses stories and anecdotes to illustrate our overestimation of causality and the heuristics that make us view the world as far more explainable than it actually is.
The audiobook is populated with an array of characters, some of whom have grasped, in their own way, the significance of chance: Yogi Berra, the baseball legend; Karl Popper, the philosopher of knowledge; Solon, the ancient world's wisest man; the modern financier George Soros; and the Greek voyager Ulysses. We also meet the fictional Nero, who seems to understand the role of randomness in his professional life, but who also falls victim to his own superstitious foolishness.
But the most recognizable character remains unnamed, the lucky fool in the right place at the right time - the embodiment of the "Survival of the Least Fit". Such individuals attract devoted followers who believe in their guru's insights and methods. But no one can replicate what is obtained through chance.
It may be impossible to guard against the vagaries of the Goddess Fortuna, but after listening to Fooled by Randomness we can be a little better prepared.
©2004 Nassim Nicholas Taleb; (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp
"[Taleb is] Wall Street's principal dissident....[Fooled by Randomness] is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther's ninety-nine theses were to the Catholic Church." (Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker)
"An articulate, wise, and humorous meditation on the nature of success and failure that anyone who wants a little more of the former would do well to consider." (Amazon.com)
I really enjoyed the ideas put forward in this book and I think it is very important that randomness and statistics be better understood in society. That said, the author of the book is long-winded, imperious, and extremely self focused. "I" is the most common word used throughout the book while the author disdains his fellow traders on Wall Street, his fellow MBA's, and his fellow academics.
If you can get past the author, the ideas and information of the book is worth the effort.
This is not only entertaining, but enlightening because it illustrates with easily understandable examples, how randomness affects all of us whether we realize it or not. By applying the principles to our own lives, we may be able to understand our behavior and behavior of others better while giving us an advantage over others who do not understand these things. The author is clever in using illustrations to depict some complex statistical ideas and he does so in a very practical and understandable way that even non-math people can understand.
This is not a dry mathematical book but a very enjoyable read/listen. I kept coming back to it again and again just like any good book that keeps you going until it is finished. I enjoyed The Black Swan and this book is no disappointment - definitely recommend.
Things you might not realize were randomness and how you deal with it in your life.
An interesting book from a very cocky author. Taleb hits important points. I believe if I had read this book earlier in my life, it could have saved me from some of the mistakes that I made. The book is a must for any trader given that it works like a medicin to desinflate one's ego. Still, I believe that the author overestimates the impact of randomness, but just by making the reader aware of its presence and importance, makes it worthwhile the read!!!!!
Taleb offers a wise and humorous look at financial luck and the seemingly irrational swing of many markets around the world. Is it dumb luck or real skill? A great listen and so very interesting.
I really enjoyed this book, although trying to listen to it AND doing whatever is a little tough; requires some thought or multiple listenings. It's an easier read than his other book, The Black Swan, but what great information and what a cogent system he has worked out. I highly recommend it.
After nearly 2 hrs of listening I had to give up. There are endless teasers about "what's to come" but very little is ultimately delivered. What little there is comes capped by unbelievable shoddiness: "and I imagine that few of those people today are . . ." How about doing a little investigating and THEN writing a book? Random House published this "outline for a book" and fooled us all.
An eye opening and thought provoking book. Essential for anyone interested in the stock market, but also for those involved in science.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Ha! Good one -- you really got me. I thought I was going to read a book about how people trick themselves into believing that random events are the result of smarts or skills, but instead, I was fooled by random collection of disjointed, incomplete, ill conceived, illogical, and often even fallacious thoughts.
I don't disagree with the premise that luck plays a greater role in our lives than we are willing to admit. I chose to listen to this book to gain a deeper understanding and some facts to back up that notion. I was a choir in search of a preacher. So that's not why I had such a negative reaction to it. In fact, I would argue that Taleb does more to refute the notion of randomness than to make any cogent case.
It doesn't help that Taleb is a narcissist who thinks he's smarter than the average bear (in direct contrast to his very thesis that it's not smarts, it's luck), and that he is judgemental as all get out (without ever backing up his royal pronouncements), and that he is clearly out to gain revenge on everyone who has ever done him wrong (starting with journalists, all his past co-workers and supervisors, and every teacher he ever had).
But that is hardly the point. For one thing, the errors are legion. For example, he repeatedly attributes the saying "It ain't over till the fat lady sings" to Yogi Berra (even after correctly attributing "It ain't over till it's over" to the recently departed Yogster). A little fact checking goes a long way toward justifying one's position, especially when one place oneself atop a very high horse.
Taleb goes out of his way in the preface to the second edition to defend himself from all-or-nothing criticism he has received, stating that he never meant to say everything is the result of randomness and luck, just that more of it is than we think. But that's a bogus defense -- he does indeed argue that it's all random. In fact, he makes the fallacious all-or-nothing argument that even if something is less than 100% certain, it is by definition 100% random.
This book is utter nonsense. I don't have a clue how it became so successful that an entire series ensued. Actually, I do have a clue: the luck of the draw.
Do I have to give it a star? I wonder what book the positive reviewers listened to. I wish I had bought that one instead. I have to admit that there was fair warning in the opening pages that what was to follow would be a stream-of-consciousness opinionated diatribe without the slightest foundation of research or reason. I cannot decide whether the narrator's smarminess was artistic contribution or an unavoidable consequence of reading these empty egotistical prattlings.
Read "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" by Leonard Mlodinow instead, if you prefer to be entertained or enlightened by the subject, but still don't want to do any math.
The book has some good points and interesting thoughts but it is difficult to get by how much the author clearly thinks he is better then anyone else. This book is not worth the listen.
"Self righteous rambling"
While the book may read well this unfortunately doesn't translate into a good audiobook. It comes across as very self righteous as he sneers at the mere mortals who don't appreciate randomness. Furthermore this book lacks any kind of structure and seems to be a collection of thoughts as they've come into the author's head. I was very disappointed
"for traders, academics and intellectuals."
my trading has dramatically improved from reading this book, if you want to succeed in trading this book will help..
"This book really can shake your view !"
It will shake your view of the world and make you more aware to randomness! Once you know you can have more comfortable life!
"Traders must adapt to changes in the market "
Currently half way through chapter 7 of 8. The author goes on and on telling you trading success is largely down to luck by doing the right thing at the right time, until the market changes causing the trader to eventually blow. I think he could have explained this entire book in one chapter.
Will listen again
Essential listening for any human being. It's a shame I'll go back to my old behaviour
"Opens your eyes to randomness"
If you can look past the fact that the author does on occasion come across as a bit full of himself, you'll be rewarded by some enlightening insights that will change the way you see the impact of randomness on the world. This book will help you on your way to distinguishing the signal from the noise and there is more noise than you might have thought.
"Does what it says on the tin"
If the title of the book intrigues you, I would suggest it is worth purchasing. The book is a very personal look at our natural biases in predicting the outcome of chance events, with particular reference to the stock market.
I found this book thoroughly entertaining despite having no interest in trading. For each new concept or topic of discussion well prepared real world examples are included which illustrate the author's point very well.
As the author has taken pains in include his personality in his style of writing I can understand why some readers may find this quite an opinionated work, however, this was not an issue for me as I found myself grasping and accepting the author's view at almost every turn.
The narrator was easy to listen to - but, I think he had a pretty easy job with no character reading to do.
"Fooled By Randomness"
For any one who works (or thinks they might work) in a profession, or who has an interest in a subject or behaviour that is affected by randomness this is a must read (listen).
"Audible should do some QA, long periods of silence"
Audible should do some QA, long periods of silence, no story missing, just long periods of complete silence!
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