Fooled by randomness

Fooled by Randomness delves into the often overlooked significance of chance in everyday life. Taleb covers the issue of widespread innumeracy as well as society’s general unwillingness to accept randomness as a major influence in success. As Taleb suggests, “Past events will always look less random than they were” As a result, the scope of the material covered within the book will be eye opening to most.

Taleb infers early in the book that hindsight bias tends to cause people to create erroneous explanations for results. “Nobody accepts randomness in his success, only his failure.” Taleb points out that most people don’t even understand adequate probability to recognize what is truly random and what is not. Fooled by Randomness focuses on these issues and provides an abundance of intriguing concepts along the way.

Taleb is careful not to discount skill, but weary of those who attribute any accomplishment with talent. The ability to flip 10 heads in a row on a fair coin is pure chance, but only 1,024 people would be needed for an expectation of 1 success. The successful flipper would have no more skill than any of the failures, yet society has the poor habit of assuming any success is a result of skill, discounting the near certainly of success given by probability.

Skill can lead to accomplishment in any endeavor, but given a large enough pool, chance will also lead to some success and thus to group all victors with an assumption of skill is irrational, and presents the essence of Taleb’s work.

The book is filled with many outstanding nuggets of insight and only weakened by its organization, as the material tends to be scattered at times. This weakness is easily overshadowed by the value of the content and should not deter anyone with an open mind.

I highly recommend this book to those seeking a better understanding of chance and its role in life.

If it on Amazon here:

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