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Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets 2nd (second) edition Hardcover – 2008
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The author has thought deeply about risk and uncertainty. Before reading this I thought I had too. No longer. Perhaps reading this while young would produce a more positive asessment of its value but in one's later years it is more depressing than enlightening. Yes, most of us are fools so what's new in that? Will any readers be made less foolish by reading this? That is really the question.
In our society we look at people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet as having some secret to success and never consider the fact that with millions of investors someone will rise to the top regardless if they are smarter. Men like Buffet are seen as successful because they took risks and therefore you are told to take risks and you will be successful. You are never shown all those who risked in business and investing who failed.
My favorite part of the book was the analogy of Russian Roulette and also the end about living with randomness. The analysis about the book The Millionaire Next Door was excellent as well. The author also explains how you can set yourself up to succeed through randomness although I wish this were a larger part of the book.
The author himself has a very high opinion of himself and can come across as bragging (especially about his extensive education) and that can turn off some readers. Also remember that he was relatively unknown until he predicted the crash in 2008 but he also could have just been lucky as out of millions of investors someone will always get it right. The author would agree I'm sure.
I enjoyed this book and will be reading other books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb soon.
Yes, as many of the other reviewers note, Taleb is excessively critical of journalists, economists and MBAs, however I didn't find it off putting. Rather, it gives his writing personality and makes it more interesting.
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- Nassim provides an extensive bibliography which is priceless if the reader wants to explore any of the topics further.Read more