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Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (Incerto) Paperback – August 23, 2005
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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? In Fooled 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 alternate Paperback edition.
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.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I don't exaggerate. I think he's that insightful.Read more