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Book review: Fooled by randomness: The hidden role of chance in life and the markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“The epiphany I had in my career in randomness came when I understood that I was not intelligent enough, nor strong enough, to even try to fight my emotions.”

I thought I’d post this review now seeing as a whole lot of what people would call random is occurring right now. It’s safe to say that not only can you currently see a black swan but its likely you have a family of them nesting on your head in this current environment.

Now the book was a delight to read, mainly focused on examples within the markets but broadly applicable to many fields as no matter what you may do you will come across randomness.

It provides the thoughts that much of what happens in the markets is pure noise and of no real consequence, but often times its the noise that people focus on readily sucking up news stories that often don’t need to be told.

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

I like the ideas portrayed regarding ones who often shoot to the top are many times there due to luck, simply through survivorship bias. Being a lecturer in a college I have had many students say to me “well Bill Gates dropped out” them not taking into account the fact that many more dropped out and failed, Bill gates was a black swan. Not to say he wouldn’t of done well but the whole richest man in the world is down to randomness and survivorship bias.

Now there is just so much from this book to be gleaned and it is a really enjoyable book to read so its a definite recommendation from me and gives you a different perspective on risk and randomness.

Remember, be the dentist. (You’ll get that if you read it)


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