“[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 YorkerFinally in paperback, the word-of-mouth sensation that will change the way you think about the markets and the world.This book is about luck: more precisely how we perceive luck in our personal and professional experiences. Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill–the world of business–Fooled by Randomness is an irreverent, iconoclastic, eye-opening, and endlessly entertaining exploration of one of the least understood forces in all of our lives.
If the prescriptions for getting rich that are outlined in books such as The Millionaire Next Door
and Rich Dad Poor Dad
are successful enough to make the books bestsellers, then one must ask, Why aren't there more millionaires? InFooled by Randomness
, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a professional trader and mathematics professor, examines what randomness means in business and in life and why human beings are so prone to mistake dumb luck for consummate skill. This eccentric and highly personal exploration of the nature of randomness meanders from the court of Croesus and trading rooms in New York and London to Russian roulette, Monte Carlo engines, and the philosophy of Karl Popper. Part of what makes this book so good is Taleb's ability to make seemingly arcane mathematical concepts (at least to this reviewer) entirely relevant in evaluating and understanding everything from the stock market to the success of those millionaires cited in the aforementioned bestsellers. Here's 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. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In this look at financial luck, hedge fund manager Taleb (Dynamic Hedging) addresses the apparently irrational movement of money markets around the world. Using his own investing experience and examples of others' successes and disappointments, he discusses theories like Monte Carlo math (easy; considered cheating by purists) and the concept of Russian roulette. Taleb tells interesting, well-wrought stories about individual behavior: "While Nero has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, both personally and intellectually, he is starting to consider himself as having missed a chance somewhere." While serious investors and mathematics enthusiasts will be intrigued, readers looking for practical investment strategies will be disappointed by this rambling intellectual discourse. Tables. 40,000-copy first printing; $150,000 marketing budget.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By A Customer on March 11, 2002 Format: Hardcover
Anyone who holds any doubts in regards to the validity of this book must read Edward Chancellor's 'Devil Take the Hindmost,' which provides a history of financial markets from the dawn of the Roman Empire up to now. After reading such a sweeping historical account, one sees the financial markets for exactly what they have always been: one vast bubble machine where people have even invested in, according to Chancellor, a company that refused to explain anything about what it did but simply assured the investors that it had a great idea for making money. Sounds rather similar to some of the dot coms in recent years. Through a compliation of both antecdotes and thoughts, Taleb provides an explanation as to why the markets work in this way, why so many fail to realize this, and how these issues are mirrored in our everyday lives. He addresses many issues that everyone should understand in order to view the world in a realistic manner. Evolution is not a one way road to nirvana but rather the process through which those adapted to the current situation fare better, and they may not be best adopted when things change. When judging the validity of any strategy in business or in life one must consider that the winners write the history books; you can only talk to survivors of war but that certainly doesn't mean that everyone survives it. When deducing anything from viewing a sample you must consider the forces that created that sample: should you consider yourself unintelligent because you're behind your classmates at a top law school? Are a good outcome and a good decision the same thing, and likewise for a bad outcome and a bad decision? And the list goes on.Read more ›
Stop being a dumb primate, May 20, 2014
This review is from: Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (Incerto) (Paperback)
Reading this is like being stuck in a cage with a combination of the most fearlessly intelligent teacher you remember, an orangutan, a rampant egotist getting revenge on the world which didn't value him enough (at the time) and the really personable nice teacher you had when you were little. Once you get over the contradictions from that, this is brain-food of the highest order. I think every kid at 16-18 should be made to read this once, any of them which understand anything in there should be forced to read it again.