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Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets | [Nassim Nicholas Taleb]

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

This audiobook is about luck, or more precisely, how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. It is already a landmark work, and its title has entered our vocabulary. In its second edition, Fooled by Randomness is now a cornerstone for anyone interested in random outcomes.
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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook is about luck, or more precisely, how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. It is already a landmark work and its title has entered our vocabulary. In its second edition, Fooled by Randomness is now a cornerstone for anyone interested in random outcomes.

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

What the Critics Say

"[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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 11-18-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 11-18-14 Member Since 2015

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A PROBABILISTIC LIFE"

    Intuition suggests incredulity as first reaction to Nassim Taleb’s book, “Fooled by Randomness”; the second instinctive reaction is author arrogance. Incredulity comes from Taleb’s argument that everything that happens in life is random or, at best, probabilistic. Perception of arrogance comes from Taleb’s smug presentation–a "believe me or don’t" because it works for me attitude. However, by the end of Taleb’s book, a reader begins to believe there is more insight than arrogance in his opinion.

    Taleb argues that understanding probability is important but no guarantee of results in life or markets. Taleb particularly decries distortion by market and political pundits that correlate current events with future outcomes. News reports that say the market fell or rose because of an event in Africa or Russia are meaningless and unprovable correlations. Taleb believes in the value of quantification but in the limited sense of probability; not precise correlation. Further, Taleb argues that a wise investor places prudent bets on Black Swans that offer small losses and big wins in an unforeseeable, probabilistic future. One might add caveat-emptor, unless he/she is Nassim Taleb.

    As Jonathan Haidt explains in “The Righteous Mind”–the elephant of desire will do what it wants, even with a skilled human rider. Life is random because reason is always influenced by desire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeroen Berkel en Rodenrijs, Netherlands 06-24-14
    Jeroen Berkel en Rodenrijs, Netherlands 06-24-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Nobody can predict the future"
    Any additional comments?

    This book has been a great listen. It was revealing, insightfull and confrontational. I liked it so much, that I listened to it twice in a row.

    I recommend it highly to anyone not afraid to take honest new look at himself and the way he sees the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Eagle Rock, CA, United States 03-26-14
    Ken Eagle Rock, CA, United States 03-26-14 Member Since 2004
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    "Great information but..."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-21-14
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-21-14 Listener Since 2009

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

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    "A well organized read on random topic"

    This book covered much of the same ground as Taleb’s Black Swan book but still a worthwhile read on randomness. It is a good yet unsettling read since it points out we are not as in control of our environment as we would like to think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nick Amherst, NH, United States 02-11-13
    nick Amherst, NH, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Very Good but not for everyone"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes


    Would you ever listen to anything by Nassim Nicholas Taleb again?

    Yes


    What three words best describe Sean Pratt’s voice?

    clear, easy to understand


    Who do you think would benefit most from listening to Fooled by Randomness?

    Almost anyone but only if the title intreags you


    Any additional comments?

    Taleb's style is a bit off the wall, I liked it but it is not for everyone

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Busselton, Australia 08-27-12
    Steve Busselton, Australia 08-27-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Where success is not real, it is just a coin toss"
    What did you love best about Fooled by Randomness?

    It questions the perceptions that are developed about the successful people are they really smart or are we sucked in by chance.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Theme characters run through the book, the book is not written as a novel, the characters are there to tie the themes together. I think they are very helpful with understanding the authors message and questioning the readers preconceived attitudes


    Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    It is the first time I have listened to the reader, he is great in his natural voice, he should not bother with accents, it is hard to do well and distracting to the listener


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    UCHENNA 12-16-11
    UCHENNA 12-16-11

    More interested in serious conversations that most writers fail to discuss. Would find unsubstantiated theories and comments a bore

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    "Taleb writes in the most mind-changing manner"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, The hindsight bias tells a lot about how we inteprete sucess and what really determines fortune.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The fact that we are more fallable than most people think and that luck plays a far more important role in our lives than we all want to beleive.


    What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

    He stresses with emphasis


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Nero and John


    Any additional comments?

    One of my personal favourites.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Ewing Clayton, CA, United States 06-21-10
    David Ewing Clayton, CA, United States 06-21-10 Member Since 2013
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    "Changed my outlook on life"

    As the title suggests, this book will show you how easily our minds can be tricked into believing there is a cause->effect relationship where in many cases, randomness is the real cause. Using many colorful examples for every day situations as well as from examples in money and investing, you will go on a mental adventure that will bust illusions and stimulate your critical thinking muscles. When you're done you might not ever look at the world the same way again. I don't.

    I've spent the first 12 years of my career doing everything this book rails against and I've come to one empirical conclusion - Nassim Taleb is correct.

    Have fun.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Swad 03-24-10
    Swad 03-24-10

    swadmeister

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    "Good Intro to The Black Swan"

    Get this one. Listen to it, then go immediately to The Black Swan. An excellent thesis that one need only look at history to validate.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Mack Miami, Florida 05-18-09
    Rob Mack Miami, Florida 05-18-09 Member Since 2013

    chessmack

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    "Scattered short Essays"

    This is not a book, it is a scattered disjointed collection of musings about randomness and irrational thinking with stock brokering as the central metaphor to explain all concepts. Its like he wrote down various thoughts on the toilet bowl on various days some of which the paper should have been used at said instead of being included this book. This book has no flow even when he gets off a couple of good points here and there which makes it like a rap song with a lame beat, cheezy lyrics, but a couple good one liners. Predictably Irrational, Outliers, Buyology are all you need to have heard anything Taleb mentions and these books have flow,central themes, and original material that is universally appealing rather than skewed to Wall Street.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
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