Book Review, “Fooled by Randomness” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

This evening I finished reading “Fooled by Randomness” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. This is, more or less, the “prequel” to his more famous “The Black Swan”. I read the 2nd edition of this book, the “trade paperback” edition, which included additional material in several chapters. This edition was released in 2005; the original in 2004. I loaned my neighbor my copy of “The Black Swan,” and she loaned me her copy of “Fooled by Randomness.”

I liked this book, and actually found it more readable and original than “The Black Swan.” This book covers much of the same territory, though not in as much detail, and is, as Taleb states several times, more of a stream of consciousness where he’s writing from his knowledge and perspectives, making observations and not worrying about producing an academic tome. I won’t attempt to do more an summarize his thesis, that we are biologically programmed to be susceptible to being “fooled by randomness” and his efforts to overcome the biases that this generates. Taleb is an entertaining and engaging writer. If you believe that randomness and chance, positive or negative (the metaphorical black swan amid the white flock) has a lot to do with life and success, you will enjoy this book. If you take yourself too seriously and conflate luck with skill, you won’t 😉

Pick it up, and give it a read…

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