Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Fooled By Randomness

Posted January 28, 2008 to Books category.

One of those rare must read books, the sort which you go out and recommend to people.

You could look up the comments on Amazon for a whole lot of reviews, opinion and just plain noise, but better yet, just read it!

In short - the world is a lot more random than we perceive it to be, for our brains just aren't wired to deal with what the world has become - our genes and brain patterns remain stuck in the past while trying to deal with a world which has advanced faster than we have.

Risk, probability, literature, how the brain works, wall street - just a few of the many topics the Taleb touches on.

The author on the book:

"This book is about luck perceived and disguised as nonluck (that is, skills), and randomness perceived and disguised as nonrandomness (that is, determinism). It manifests itself in the shape of the lucky fool, defined as a person who benefited from a disproportionate share of luck but attributes his success to some other, generally very precise, reason." FBR was initially written as short stories around series of fictional characters. An irreverent introspective rumination on the deformations caused by randomness through literature, markets, philosophy, science, and mathematics. It made many readers feel better about their comparative fate.

Please note that it is not a finance book (or not directly so): it is about the role of Luck. I do not learn from a variety of disciplines, say complex biophysics, sandpile theories or astrology and try to apply the ideas to an investment strategies. I just learned from my day job about more general matters –the vicious role of uncertainty and how foolish I was dealing with randomness. There are plenty of finance books written by a variety of gurus for those looking for a recipe: This is a personal essay, a literary personal essay, nothing more, nothing else.

Tagged nonfiction

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