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Fooled by Randomness Audiobook

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

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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

What the Critics Say

"[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 Rating

4.2 (175 )
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4.2 (122 )
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Story
4.3 (124 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ben Stubbens 21/02/2017
    Ben Stubbens 21/02/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "Self righteous rambling"

    While the book may read well this unfortunately doesn't translate into a good audiobook. It comes across as very self righteous as he sneers at the mere mortals who don't appreciate randomness. Furthermore this book lacks any kind of structure and seems to be a collection of thoughts as they've come into the author's head. I was very disappointed

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Preston Pickles London, United Kingdom 11/09/2017
    Preston Pickles London, United Kingdom 11/09/2017 Member Since 2013
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    REVIEWS
    11
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Insightful and interesting"

    Many reviewers dock the author points for the arrogant and sometimes contemptuous tone of the writing.
    While these elements are certainly present -exacerbated by the narrator- I feel the author is entitled to present his ideas in whatever style he sees fit and it is moreover an interesting insight into the mind of the man as well as the well presented ideas on the role of randomness in life.
    One of the key messages of this book is that we are not designed to understand randomness because the environment in which we encounter it in the modern world is far removed from our evolutionary roots. This idea when explored, along with other very interesting subject matter is certainly very enlightening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03/09/2017 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "First impression IS deceiving (re: bad reviews)"

    The early stages give an impression that the author just wants to laud his intellectual superiority over his 'peers'.
    Don't be put off this is actually just a very reflective, fun and self aware style. This becomes evident quickly.

    The topics covered are illuminating and useful! Practically speaking anyone could use this book to become more competent, either professionally or otherwise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SO 31/08/2017
    SO 31/08/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    2
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    "entertaining"

    Entertaining and great read/listen, even if a little impenetrable at times. Well done to the author and the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Shannon Milwaukee, WI, USA 24/06/2017
    Andrew Shannon Milwaukee, WI, USA 24/06/2017 Member Since 2016
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    11
    4
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    "Interesting quick listen"

    Not a huge amount of takeaways, but interesting story and thoughts on how humans compute chance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lauren London 19/12/2016
    lauren London 19/12/2016
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    "for traders, academics and intellectuals."

    my trading has dramatically improved from reading this book, if you want to succeed in trading this book will help..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marek 29/09/2016
    Marek 29/09/2016 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "This book really can shake your view !"

    It will shake your view of the world and make you more aware to randomness! Once you know you can have more comfortable life!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Watt 02/01/2016
    Alan Watt 02/01/2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Traders must adapt to changes in the market "

    Currently half way through chapter 7 of 8. The author goes on and on telling you trading success is largely down to luck by doing the right thing at the right time, until the market changes causing the trader to eventually blow. I think he could have explained this entire book in one chapter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. K. Moon UK 28/02/2015
    J. K. Moon UK 28/02/2015 Member Since 2011
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    "Very good"

    Met expectations
    Will listen again
    Essential listening for any human being. It's a shame I'll go back to my old behaviour

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ant St Albans, United Kingdom 30/07/2013
    Ant St Albans, United Kingdom 30/07/2013 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Does what it says on the tin"

    If the title of the book intrigues you, I would suggest it is worth purchasing. The book is a very personal look at our natural biases in predicting the outcome of chance events, with particular reference to the stock market.
    I found this book thoroughly entertaining despite having no interest in trading. For each new concept or topic of discussion well prepared real world examples are included which illustrate the author's point very well.
    As the author has taken pains in include his personality in his style of writing I can understand why some readers may find this quite an opinionated work, however, this was not an issue for me as I found myself grasping and accepting the author's view at almost every turn.
    The narrator was easy to listen to - but, I think he had a pretty easy job with no character reading to do.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Amazon Customer
    United States
    15/02/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Kazuhiko
    TUXEDO PARK, NY, United States
    10/02/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Wade T. Brooks
    Portland, OR, USA
    25/06/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • andrew
    Bountiful, UT, United States
    22/08/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Better Taleb?"

    I think of the two Taleb books I listened to, I prefer this. Both are interesting, with inspired and creative thought experiments and new ways of looking at problems and such, but the actor here did a better job of being likeable, and not coming off as vain and pretentious and holier-than-all. So it was easier to listen to and I think truer to who Taleb probably is. Other books of interest might be the "Freakonomics" books if you like this or wonder if you will like it. This does not guide you on how to get rich or predict the future, if that is what you are looking for. Its just a general interest intellectual book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Jack
    USA
    04/02/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • D. Douglas Williams
    Fort Collins, CO United States
    20/02/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth the effort"
    What made the experience of listening to Fooled by Randomness the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed the subject but the author doesn't organize the content very well, so it takes some effort to get what he's saying. I may read it again.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nero Tulip


    Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Sean Pratt was not the narrator of my audio book. It was narrated by Lloyd James. I thought the narrator did a good job.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Ken Premo
    Los Angeles
    26/03/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • M. Blake
    Hawaii
    28/05/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Marink
    RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil
    08/03/11
    Overall
    "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!!!!!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen van Jaarsveldt
    Calgary, Alberta
    03/07/08
    Overall
    "Nice idea, but poorly written"

    The central idea of this book is interesting, but I have not read a book this badly written in years. I fully agree with another review saying that there is about 10 pages of meat and the rest is just fat. The author jumps between subjects like a frantic circus clown spinning plates on sticks, but in the end you see there is only one plate, one stick and a whole lot of pottery shards. Much ado about nothing. There are so many references to topics coming later in the book that by the middle you can anticipate them and start lip-syncing along. The one part where I disagree with the other reviewers is in the narration - I found the narrator to be clear and well paced. But good narration and a good central concept don't make up for a simply feeble writing style. If this book was re-organised to follow a logical train of thought, leading to a definite conclusion, it would be worth reading. It would also be much, much shorter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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