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)
This is by no means a trivial book as it deals with a subject that steers fascination and it includes many pearls of wisdom that are applicable to every day life. The only drawback is that the author seems particularly intent on driving home a point over and over and over again.
I have not tried the abridged version nor know if theres actually one but if you can listen beyond the unnecessary rhetoric theres more than one takeaway here.
Better served in small doses.
I didn't fully appreciate this book until much later. He makes a reasoned argument intentionally without graphs and charts but writes with stories. Well reasoned and helpful for not just economic philosophy but a true life lesson.
Doesn't bother to cite sources, insults his editors, expects us to applaud his and his friends narrow minded definitions of success while he spits on other, more popular definitions. This book is a total waste of time.
Interesting and thought provoking concepts. However difficult to follow at time. Flight of ideas. Story line changes at times rather unexpectedly..
Use fewer concepts and explain them.
No. Can be shortened without authors anecdotes
The writer is incredibly condescending. Written disdainfully for the layman. That said, the takeaway message isn't bad.
I'm already a fan, so perhaps, my thoughts are biased. What I enjoy most is the challenge he offers to my own thoughts and ways of being. I will say he sets a high bar for skepticism, and I deeply appreciate taking to task those that try to apply science inappropriately. I too often hear the word "quantum" used to try and give some "science" to an otherwise completely fanciful set of ideas. The author may be one of the most smug and most humble of men. What was good to see if when he recognized that it might be relevant to comment on something outside his own expertise and explicitly pass on the opportunity. The importance of his work is to remind of us of the roll of randomness, and our own human pattern making penchant. This is a counter argument to the idea of "common sense." "Common sense" the author I think would agree has it's place, but, there are times when our gut will lead us astray, when the world, and events are counter intuitive. I had to take a step back because I've been demanding of the philosophers I've been reading to be grounded in empiricism, because it can take wonderful ideas and make them worse than useless when they don't match the capabilities of the human form. So the author makes this a non-empirical book which speaks directly to the need to match our philosophy to human capacities. Bravo, and well done. I don't expect the author to read my comments, but I suspect he'll be happy to be praised, by his own admission, even when I may have missed the boat entirely. Ah, to be human.....
Glad I got the audio version. Probably would have had to look up too many words on the Kindle.
Overall, I came away with a new confidence that I can take into my own investing. I consistently get bounced around in the market and take it personally, then pull back and become a spectator.
Now I'm going to accept the licks that are handed out with the belief that the best and brightest are fighting these same battles. That and trying not to let my successes turn into a portfolio death trap in the inevitable market downturn.
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