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Fooled by Randomness

The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
Narrated by: Sean Pratt
Series: Incerto
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (189 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook is about luck, or more precisely, how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. It is already a landmark work and its title has entered our vocabulary. In its second edition, Fooled by Randomness is now a cornerstone for anyone interested in random outcomes.

Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill, the world of trading, this audiobook is a captivating insight into one of the least understood factors of all our lives. In an entertaining narrative style, the author succeeds in tackling three major intellectual issues: the problem of induction, the survivorship biases, and our genetic unfitness to the modern word. Taleb uses stories and anecdotes to illustrate our overestimation of causality and the heuristics that make us view the world as far more explainable than it actually is.

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

But the most recognizable character remains unnamed, the lucky fool in the right place at the right time - the embodiment of 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 through chance.

It may be impossible to guard against the vagaries of the Goddess Fortuna, but after listening to Fooled by Randomness we can be a little better prepared.

©2004 Nassim Nicholas Taleb (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp

Critic Reviews

"[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 Yorker)
"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." (Amazon.com)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Great book BUT...

I really enjoyed this book, but unfortunately the chapters are not in the correct order on Audible.
The Audible recoding start around chapter 4, goes through to the end of the book and then starts the beginning of the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Arrogance & Interest

The supreme arrogance of NNT in this audiobook is nauseating but the content is very interesting.

The recording is great quality but the chapter breakdown is poor (long silences).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Toi much rambling

Some good thoughts here and there, but his style is too rambling and he puts others down too much. A book written by a person who likes to be smarter than everybody else.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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best audio book i use for motivation !

I perhaps admire taleb a bit more than others. i like his honesty , polymath view of world , mainly from philosophy maths .. a joy to listen over and over again

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good Read, take your time with it

Very nice, only qualm is the large silent pausea between chapters - unless that's intended so the beginning the next chapter is... unpredictable

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inflated story by an unlikeable storyteller

The book contains some well thought through ideas but presents little to no hard evidence as most ideas are thought experiments. Furthermore, the author gives out unsolicited personal opinions which come across as very arrogant and single minded. Overall, this book could be easily shortened to a fifth of its volume without losing any of its content.

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Some good stuff

Some real gems in here and the performance is good, but in typical NTT fashion there is a bunch of rubbish annecdotes and petty swipes at people.

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Amazing insights on markets, economy and humans

Incredibly insightful and powerful commentary - a must for business and ordinary people. This will challenge your thinking and push you to re-evaluate your biases.

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Great book

Any additional comments?

Some great advice's.
The narrator was easy to listen to; personally i found that it was better on 1.25x speed.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Wade T. Brooks
  • 25-06-2012

Pass on this one and read The Black Swan

Taleb's master work and must read is The Black Swan (not the movie) and it's amazing. This is a sparse shadow of that book.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-02-2013

An Excellent and Worthwhile Book

An interesting book that is enlivened by stories of various traders and insults targeted at journalists, economists, MBAs, and philistines in general. He comes off as kind of arrogant and condesending but since I'm too thick to understand that he's talking about me, I find the irreverent tone rather enjoyable. He does a great job on a difficult topic.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Kazuhiko
  • 10-02-2013

Fun to listen to

Many reviews of this book point out that the author is arrogant, and I agree, but
this arrogance probably comes from his insecurity of, after all, still being in the
financial industry that he seems to despise. He cannot get out of it.
The issue of "fooled by randomness" applies to so many aspects of life,
not just financial industry. There are some insightful comments in the book.
If you expect to learn many things from this book,
you may be disappointed. For the first couple of hours, his snideness and arrogance
bothered me, but then I began to enjoy listening to this frustrated flawed character
who occasionally speaks truth in a tragicomedy style.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Igor
  • 28-03-2019

useless rant

general observation of life on level of teenager mindset. what was the point to state trivial baseless assumptions? pointless blablabla

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • 02-03-2019

an author high on his own ego.

The narration is excellent but the book itself is poor. The author seems to think that his own original thoughts are superior to published research anywhere the argument is remotely possible. The only thing more annoying in reading such is the faux humility he attempts to dress it in while he argues that he should not be responsible for covering conventional literature, and simultaneously dismissing it

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jack
  • 04-02-2014

Commentary too random and disjointed

What disappointed you about Fooled by Randomness?

The theme was both disorganized and too narrowly focused on financial traders? It lacked specific real world cases and examples.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Ken Premo
  • 26-03-2014

Great information but...

I really enjoyed the ideas put forward in this book and I think it is very important that randomness and statistics be better understood in society. That said, the author of the book is long-winded, imperious, and extremely self focused. "I" is the most common word used throughout the book while the author disdains his fellow traders on Wall Street, his fellow MBA's, and his fellow academics.

If you can get past the author, the ideas and information of the book is worth the effort.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Blake
  • 28-05-2012

very entertaining and eye opening

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is not only entertaining, but enlightening because it illustrates with easily understandable examples, how randomness affects all of us whether we realize it or not. By applying the principles to our own lives, we may be able to understand our behavior and behavior of others better while giving us an advantage over others who do not understand these things. The author is clever in using illustrations to depict some complex statistical ideas and he does so in a very practical and understandable way that even non-math people can understand.
This is not a dry mathematical book but a very enjoyable read/listen. I kept coming back to it again and again just like any good book that keeps you going until it is finished. I enjoyed The Black Swan and this book is no disappointment - definitely recommend.

If you could give Fooled by Randomness a new subtitle, what would it be?

Things you might not realize were randomness and how you deal with it in your life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Marink
  • 08-03-2011

interesting book

An interesting book from a very cocky author. Taleb hits important points. I believe if I had read this book earlier in my life, it could have saved me from some of the mistakes that I made. The book is a must for any trader given that it works like a medicin to desinflate one's ego. Still, I believe that the author overestimates the impact of randomness, but just by making the reader aware of its presence and importance, makes it worthwhile the read!!!!!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • m
  • 19-03-2019

Content is Obvious-Often Better Lucky then Good.

This book is appropriately titled although the content is obvious and boring. If you have ever said, "Sometimes better lucky then good." then you already read the book. Disappointed as a investor friend had recommended the book. Going to ask to my money back.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful