Fooled by Randomness Book by Nassim Taleb – Book Review and Overall Impression

 

Fooled by Randomness is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are The Black Swan, Antifragile, and The Bed of Procrustes.

Fooled By Randomness has the subtitle “The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets”, which is a decent if incomplete summary. The book does focus on how probability interacts outcomes, particularly in ways that we might not expect. But the true value of this work lies in exploring how humans are particularly unsuited to understanding this concept.

Fooled By Randomness is highly recommended if you have no exposure to statistics and probability, or if you’ve read a little about behavioral economics and are interested in knowing more. Understanding human flaws is crucial to improving our thinking, and developing a better ability to predict and navigate the world around us.

If you’re very familiar with the topic, you’re unlikely to learn anything new from this work in terms of theory. But it is rare to see the dry topics of probability and statistics treated with such conversational insight, and these are truths that are hard to internalize. I recommend the book to you, but less highly; repetition and a fresh perspective will help you use your understanding to better your life.

 

Famous quotes by Nassim Taleb:

 

“Things that happen with little help from luck are more resistant to randomness.”

 

“Mild success can be explainable by skills and labor. Wild success is attributable to variance.”

 

“Every man believes that he is quite different.”

 

“Remember that nobody accepts randomness in his own success, only his failure.”

 

Fooled by Randomness
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