August 8th 2007

Fooled by Randomness. The hidden role of chance in life and markets. Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Fooled by Randomness. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. 2004. ISBN 0812975219. Wow! a quant who is an entertaining writer. You may howl with laughter at one point, turn the page and then come face to face with your own sobering human foibles reading this book. You may never trust a broker/traders track record every again. Taleb just makes so much sense in light of his life experience. Most of us end up confusing pur luck for skill. Many of us have had to work for his “empty suits” (CEO/leaders who look good, are tall and can really use power point, yet they bring so little to the table). What if all the major “leaders” in our world are only recognized as successful because they have been in the right place at the right time? There are as many or more who are their equals or betters who made different choices. What if present day institutions are no wiser than those we ridicule from the 18th century? What proof do we have not to remain classical skeptics? As someone who loved probability and stats all my life this writer is a kindred spirit. I chuckled through his rationale as to why he does not read the paper nor use the media for news. The news reports the noise so that we miss the significant event. In recent months I have really worked to rise above the noise, and it has made quite a difference in my point of view. This is a must buy book.

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