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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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!!!!!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.
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.

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • morton
  • Rego Park, NY, United States
  • 01-30-08

A Great Listen!

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.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazingly well thought out

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.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Otis Manousakos
  • 10-20-18

Will always be relevant

Of course it should be read, but listened to? Sorry. I was not taken with the narrator of this brilliant book. Which is why I bought the book. The slights in the book at various academics, journalists and fellow MBA’s were an unnecessary distraction as a thing to listen to. I probably would have ignored them had I read them first. Have a sample listen and decide for yourselves. It’s a subjective thing. Taleb chose a multiple tangent approach to express his ideas and it takes little time to adapt. Pretend you are having drinks with a friend and this is how the world of Fools in Randomness reveals itself. I am rereading much of it and it’s value will be as strong as the reader’s humility and open mindedness. Something we as a species are not wonderful at exercising.

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  • mr Peter Mo
  • 09-15-18

Eye opening

At first I felt it was dragging a little. But then it got so interesting that I could not take in all the info simply because I was still digesting the previous point the author made. Definitely will need to listen to this one again.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ritam
  • 09-09-18

outstanding!

outstanding book. great narration. loved each idea. the book is an eye opener for everyone.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LC
  • 09-07-18

Enjoyable and thought provoking

An interesting and enjoyable tour of the impacts of misunderstandings around randomness in various aspects of our daily lives. Stimulates thoughts and looking at things in a different way, taking our biases around randomness into account.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Franco
  • 09-06-18

Great point of view but not so much to apply

The book is great and it reminds you the importance of randomness and how some "gurus" abuse probabilities but I wish the author would have left more guidance or principles to the reader so we can apply it and improve

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean Banks
  • 09-04-18

Excellent listen.

What a great listen. A very interesting take on life and the markets. Highly recommend.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adebola Egunjobi
  • 08-15-18

Best takeaway: l learnt why I never seem to learn.

Some reviewers have called his style arrogant. But I found him to be very self-assured, and anyway doesn't everyone look down on some other unfortunate person who just doesn't seem to "get it"?

Like every other good book I have read, the essential lessons in this one too will be forgotten with time. But one key learning will stay with me -- that despite the best intentions of all involved, including ourselves, we don't really learn from instruction; we only really learn from our own experiences, and those are often very flawed and very expensive.

So just read this one, and anything else you read, for the sheer fun of it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • stuart reed
  • 07-16-18

Superb

Fooled by Randomness is both enlightening and entertaining.

Taleb confirmed what I've always known: I'm a lucky fool!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Raj Madha
  • 01-12-18

Rare common sense:

I am not qualified to comment on the accuracy of his philosophical diversions, which nevertheless were interesting. While I wouldnt agree 100% the broad thrust of his critique of the finance/entertainment industry hits its mark almost all the time.

I have long been put off reading his books by what passed for arrogance on the author's part, considering what he has written as mere common sense. However, as I encountered the sacred cows of the finance world, I increasingly appreciated common sense is surprisingly rare, and, for many, totally counterintuitive.

Indeed here I found his overconfidence added salt to the narrative. I think this is eminently readable, at least for those with some market experience. and the flow of the book works well. intellectually the heart of the book has much to teach but I suspect only about a third of readers will get an intuitive grasp.

My only criticism would be that he NT doesn't seem to have an appreciation of the information structure and institutional dynamics of the industry. That however may be the result of the dynamics of the writing and reading process, which require him to address a specific important idea simply and cohesively rather than stretching himself too thin and making his book overcomplicated.

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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).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-08-18

Toi much rambling

Some good thoughts here and there, but his style is too rambling and he puts others down too much. A book written by a person who likes to be smarter than everybody else.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-14-17

best audio book i use for motivation !

I perhaps admire taleb a bit more than others. i like his honesty , polymath view of world , mainly from philosophy maths .. a joy to listen over and over again

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 10-18-18

Great book BUT...

I really enjoyed this book, but unfortunately the chapters are not in the correct order on Audible.
The Audible recoding start around chapter 4, goes through to the end of the book and then starts the beginning of the book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Cedric Hodges
  • 08-30-18

Some good stuff

Some real gems in here and the performance is good, but in typical NTT fashion there is a bunch of rubbish annecdotes and petty swipes at people.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-29-18

Amazing insights on markets, economy and humans

Incredibly insightful and powerful commentary - a must for business and ordinary people. This will challenge your thinking and push you to re-evaluate your biases.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • ReadforFun
  • 05-19-17

Great book

Any additional comments?

Some great advice's.
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