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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

Critic Reviews

"[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

Average Customer Ratings

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An Excellent and Worthwhile Book

An interesting book that is enlivened by stories of various traders and insults targeted at journalists, economists, MBAs, and philistines in general. He comes off as kind of arrogant and condesending but since I'm too thick to understand that he's talking about me, I find the irreverent tone rather enjoyable. He does a great job on a difficult topic.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Kazuhiko
  • TUXEDO PARK, NY, United States
  • 02-10-13

Fun to listen to

Many reviews of this book point out that the author is arrogant, and I agree, but
this arrogance probably comes from his insecurity of, after all, still being in the
financial industry that he seems to despise. He cannot get out of it.
The issue of "fooled by randomness" applies to so many aspects of life,
not just financial industry. There are some insightful comments in the book.
If you expect to learn many things from this book,
you may be disappointed. For the first couple of hours, his snideness and arrogance
bothered me, but then I began to enjoy listening to this frustrated flawed character
who occasionally speaks truth in a tragicomedy style.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Pass on this one and read The Black Swan

Taleb's master work and must read is The Black Swan (not the movie) and it's amazing. This is a sparse shadow of that book.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • andrew
  • Bountiful, UT, United States
  • 08-22-12

The Better Taleb?

I think of the two Taleb books I listened to, I prefer this. Both are interesting, with inspired and creative thought experiments and new ways of looking at problems and such, but the actor here did a better job of being likeable, and not coming off as vain and pretentious and holier-than-all. So it was easier to listen to and I think truer to who Taleb probably is. Other books of interest might be the "Freakonomics" books if you like this or wonder if you will like it. This does not guide you on how to get rich or predict the future, if that is what you are looking for. Its just a general interest intellectual book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Commentary too random and disjointed

What disappointed you about Fooled by Randomness?

The theme was both disorganized and too narrowly focused on financial traders? It lacked specific real world cases and examples.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Worth the effort

What made the experience of listening to Fooled by Randomness the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the subject but the author doesn't organize the content very well, so it takes some effort to get what he's saying. I may read it again.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Nero Tulip

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

Sean Pratt was not the narrator of my audio book. It was narrated by Lloyd James. I thought the narrator did a good job.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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very entertaining and eye opening

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.<br/>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.<br/>

If you could give Fooled by Randomness a new subtitle, what would it be?

Things you might not realize were randomness and how you deal with it in your life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marink
  • RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil
  • 03-08-11

interesting book

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!!!!!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Nice idea, but poorly written

The central idea of this book is interesting, but I have not read a book this badly written in years. I fully agree with another review saying that there is about 10 pages of meat and the rest is just fat. The author jumps between subjects like a frantic circus clown spinning plates on sticks, but in the end you see there is only one plate, one stick and a whole lot of pottery shards. Much ado about nothing. There are so many references to topics coming later in the book that by the middle you can anticipate them and start lip-syncing along. The one part where I disagree with the other reviewers is in the narration - I found the narrator to be clear and well paced. But good narration and a good central concept don't make up for a simply feeble writing style. If this book was re-organised to follow a logical train of thought, leading to a definite conclusion, it would be worth reading. It would also be much, much shorter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben Stubbens
  • 02-21-17

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Preston Pickles
  • 09-11-17

Insightful and interesting

Many reviewers dock the author points for the arrogant and sometimes contemptuous tone of the writing.
While these elements are certainly present -exacerbated by the narrator- I feel the author is entitled to present his ideas in whatever style he sees fit and it is moreover an interesting insight into the mind of the man as well as the well presented ideas on the role of randomness in life.
One of the key messages of this book is that we are not designed to understand randomness because the environment in which we encounter it in the modern world is far removed from our evolutionary roots. This idea when explored, along with other very interesting subject matter is certainly very enlightening.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-03-17

First impression IS deceiving (re: bad reviews)

The early stages give an impression that the author just wants to laud his intellectual superiority over his 'peers'.
Don't be put off this is actually just a very reflective, fun and self aware style. This becomes evident quickly.

The topics covered are illuminating and useful! Practically speaking anyone could use this book to become more competent, either professionally or otherwise.

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  • SO
  • 08-31-17

entertaining

Entertaining and great read/listen, even if a little impenetrable at times. Well done to the author and the reader.

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  • Andrew Shannon
  • 06-24-17

Interesting quick listen

Not a huge amount of takeaways, but interesting story and thoughts on how humans compute chance.

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  • lauren
  • 12-19-16

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..

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  • Marek
  • 09-29-16

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!

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  • Alan Watt
  • 01-02-16

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.

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  • J. K. Moon
  • 02-28-15

Very good

Met expectations
Will listen again
Essential listening for any human being. It's a shame I'll go back to my old behaviour

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  • Ant
  • 07-30-13

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Cam Liston
  • 07-10-17

Arrogance & Interest

The supreme arrogance of NNT in this audiobook is nauseating but the content is very interesting.

The recording is great quality but the chapter breakdown is poor (long silences).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-14-17

Nobody gave me a perspective like taleb did!

I always struggled with the notion that self improvement books never worked. Advice never worked both to my self and to others in equals meassure. This books tells you why or one of the possible explanation

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ReadforFun
  • 05-19-17

Great book

Any additional comments?

Some great advice's.<br/>The narrator was easy to listen to; personally i found that it was better on 1.25x speed.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful