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

The SQUEEZE: Within the business environment, specifically the world of trading, the concept of randomness is met with both underestimation and overestimation. Many professionals equate (the experience of) luck with skill and base their lives on pursuing the proverbial chance. These are the sentiments Nassim Nicholas Taleb expresses in Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life. Taleb, a risk expert and veteran trader, suggests that we perceive luck as a tool to explain the randomness of our lives. In the book, Taleb applies this concept to a variety of characters, addressing both intellectual and business issues common to the markets trading professional. Taleb’s survey of characters includes a baseball legend (Yogi Berra), the ancient’s world’s wisest man (King Solomon), and a Greek voyager (Odysseus). It is in Taleb’s description of the fictional Nerophat that the reader comes to understand fully the role of randomness in his or her life, falling victim to superstition. Taleb ultimately urges the reader to become capable of distinguishing between “chance” and true visionary thinking.

Notable Endorsement: “[Fooled by Randomness] is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses were to the Catholic Church.” –Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink

Common Q’s Answered by this Book:

  • What is randomness?
  • What is an example of randomness?
  • What are the misperceptions of randomness?
  • What is an example of counter-intuitive distribution?
  • What is survivorship bias?


About the Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a Lebanese American essayist whose work primarily centers on the concepts of randomness, uncertainty, and probability. Taleb’s first book titled The Black Swan, was reviewed in the Sunday Times and highly acclaimed as one of twelve most influential books since World War II. Taleb serves as a professor at both Oxford University and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University; as a mathematical finance practitioner and a Wall Street trader and as a scientific adviser for Universe Investments as well as for IMF (International Monetary Fund). Taleb is particularly renowned for his views on randomness and their application to the late 2000 financial crisis. Taleb graduated from the University of Paris with a master’s of science degree; from the Wharton School with an MBA; and from the University of Paris (Dauphine) with a Ph.D. in Management Science.


Book Vitals:

  • Publisher: Random House (October 2008)

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