The cover of this book says Fooled by Randomness – The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.? And parts of the title are just randomly missing – like half of the first O, the top of the L, and much of the base of the D.
Which told me about the sense of humor of the author, a stock market trader at the time he wrote the books, and now a major writer and thinker, still working in the stock markets.? I bought the book at Joseph – Beth, just on an intuitive whim.? Books about the stock market are not normally likely to get my attention, most of them having been written by guys with hierarchical and narrow points of view.? And from my point of view, their time is rapidly passing – I’d rather read new thinking.
This guy, as might be realized from his name, is not narrow.? He was born in Lebanon into a Greek Orthodox family, and lived through the Civil War there, doing most of his studying in the basement as he was growing up.
And he is rollicking.? Lots of grins and a fair number of laughs, plus lots of appreciation for his lucid and new thinking.? This book came out in 2001 – the Second Edition is the one I bought a few months ago, which came out in 2005.? His book Black Swan came out in 2007, implicitly pointing out that the black swan events of 2008 were going to happen.
Black Swans are rare events, confluences of randomness, that those who require certainty and rules in their thinking will never see coming – because every swan they’ve ever seen is white, they make decisions as though all swans are white.? It is that kind of thinking that had nearly all of us believing that housing across the country could increase in value forever.
Another grin from him is about all the Wall Street hedge fund guys who believe they know something, when they’ve actually just been lucky for a particular period of time.? Many of us still think those guys are worth their huge salaries – which they mainly got from following the herd, not from actual work at figuring things out.
Taleb is now working with Universa Investments and the International Monetary Fund.? His writing is focusing on anti-fragility – or, basically, how to survive the Black Swans.