World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Fooled by Randomness

Article Id: WHEBN0000585779
Reproduction Date:

Title: Fooled by Randomness  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: The Black Swan (Taleb book), Taleb distribution, Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Croesus and Fate
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Fooled by Randomness

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
Author Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Language English
Genre Statistics, Philosophy, Finance
Publisher Random House
Publication date
2001
Pages 316
ISBN
OCLC 60349198
123/.3 22
LC Class HG4521 .T285 2005
Followed by The Black Swan

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets is a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb that deals with the fallibility of human knowledge.

Contents

  • Thesis 1
  • Reaction 2
  • Editions 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Thesis

Taleb sets forth the idea that modern humans are often unaware of the existence of randomness. They tend to explain random outcomes as non-random.

Human beings:

  1. overestimate causality, e.g., they see elephants in the clouds instead of understanding that they are in fact randomly shaped clouds that appear to our eyes as elephants (or something else);
  2. tend to view the world as more explainable than it really is. So they look for explanations even when there are none.

Other misperceptions of randomness that are discussed include:

  • Survivorship bias. We see the winners and try to "learn" from them, while forgetting the huge number of losers.
  • Skewed distributions. Many real life phenomena are not 50:50 bets like tossing a coin, but have various unusual and counter-intuitive distributions. An example of this is a 99:1 bet in which you almost always win, but when you lose, you lose all your savings. People can easily be fooled by statements like "I won this bet 50 times". According to Taleb: "Option sellers, it is said, eat like chickens and go to the bathroom like elephants", which is to say, option sellers may earn a steady small income from selling the options, but when a disaster happens they lose a fortune.

Reaction

The book was selected by Fortune as one of the 75 "Smartest Books of All Time."[1] U.S.A Today recounted that many criticisms raised in this book of the financial industry turned out to be justified.[2] Forbes admitted to the book being playful, self-effacing and at times insufferably arrogant, but always thought provoking.[3] The Wall Street Journal (one of the publications that Taleb pokes fun at in his book) called Universa Investments' buys in October 2008 a "Black Swan gain" (alluding to the Black Swans mentioned in the book).[4] The New Yorker (one of the publications which receives more favourable comments in this book) said that the book was to conventional Wall Street wisdom what Martin Luther’s ninety-nine [sic] theses were to the Catholic Church.[5]

Editions

  • In 2001, TEXERE published the first edition of the book. (ISBN 1-58799-071-7, London : Texere, 2001)
  • In 2004, TEXERE published a revamped second edition.
  • In 2005, Random House published a softback edition with more changes. (ISBN ISBN 1-58799-190-X, New York : Random house, 2005)
  • In 2005, a French version appeared, with many unique changes.
  • The book has been translated into 20 languages,[6] and is reported to have sold over half a million copies.
  • Further editions have been published by Penguin (softback, May 2007) and Random House (hardback, October 2008.)

See also

References

  1. ^ Useem, Jerry. "The Smartest Books We Know". Fortune. 
  2. ^ Mouton, Andre (19 August 2013). "Does big data have us 'fooled by randomness'?". U.S.A Today. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Sizemore, Charles (23 January 2013). "Nassim Taleb's 'Antifragile' Celebrates Randomness In People, Markets". Forbes.com. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Patterson, Scott (3 November 2008). "October Pain was Black Swan Gain" (PDF). Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Book review : Fooled by randomness". The New Yorker. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  6. ^ fooled by randomness

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.