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

Incerto, Book 1
Narrated by: Joe Ochman
Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Economics
4.5 out of 5 stars (66 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Fooled by Randomness is a stand-alone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are The Black Swan, Antifragile, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes.

Fooled by Randomness is the word-of-mouth sensation that will change the way you think about business and the world. Nassim Nicholas Taleb - veteran trader, renowned risk expert, polymathic scholar, erudite raconteur, and New York Times best-selling author of The Black Swan - has penned a modern classic that turns on its head what we believe about luck and skill.

This book is about luck - or more precisely, about how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill - the world of trading - Fooled by Randomness provides captivating insight into one of the least understood factors in all our lives. Presented in an entertaining narrative style, the author tackles major intellectual issues related to the underestimation of the influence of happenstance on our lives.

The book is populated with an array of characters, some of whom have grasped, in their own way, the significance of chance: the baseball legend Yogi Berra; the philosopher of knowledge Karl Popper; the ancient world’s wisest man, Solon; the modern financier George Soros; and the Greek voyager Odysseus. We also meet the fictional Nero, who seems to understand the role of randomness in his professional life but falls victim to his own superstitious foolishness.

However, the most recognizable character of all remains unnamed - the lucky fool who happens to be in the right place at the right time - he embodies 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 by chance.

Are we capable of distinguishing the fortunate charlatan from the genuine visionary? Must we always try to uncover nonexistent messages in random events? It may be impossible to guard ourselves against the vagaries of the goddess Fortuna, but after listening to Fooled by Randomness, we can be a little better prepared.

Includes bonus pdf of tables and figures.

Praise for Fooled by Randomness:

Named by Fortune One of the Smartest Books of All Time

A Financial Times Best Business Book of the Year

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2008 Nassim Nicholas Taleb (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“[Fooled by Randomness] is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses were to the Catholic Church.” (Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink

“We need a book like this ...fun to read, refreshingly independent-minded.” (Robert J. Shiller, author of Irrational Exuberance)

“Recalls the best of scientist/essayists like Richard Dawkins...and Stephen Jay Gould.” (Michael Schrage, author of Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate

“Powerful...loaded with crackling little insights [and] extreme brilliance.” (National Review) 

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Not for MBAs and Economist

as I read through, I was humbled by the limit of what I knew, grateful for the privilege and luck I had due to the simple random fact I was born in the family that I come from.

this book makes you skeptic, you will learn to not take your efforts too seriously, your knowledge too important and your circumstance to severe if it were.


if you are an economist, this book would make you feel bad. if you have an MBA, this book would make you feel useless.

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Randomness is a Boon for Bounty

This book should be taught to every high school Sophomore before they enter the rigor of the college testing and application process, as it will allow them to filter out the noise of authority figures and focus on themselves by delving into Taleb’s truly unique worldview.

I look forward to listening to/reading the rest of the series. Truly an exceptional book.