Fooled by Randomness

  • by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Narrated by Sean Pratt
  • 10 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This audiobook is about luck, or more precisely, how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. It is already a landmark work and its title has entered our vocabulary. In its second edition, Fooled by Randomness is now a cornerstone for anyone interested in random outcomes.Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill, the world of trading, this audiobook is a captivating insight into one of the least understood factors of all our lives. In an entertaining narrative style, the author succeeds in tackling three major intellectual issues: the problem of induction, the survivorship biases, and our genetic unfitness to the modern word. Taleb uses stories and anecdotes to illustrate our overestimation of causality and the heuristics that make us view the world as far more explainable than it actually is.The audiobook is populated with an array of characters, some of whom have grasped, in their own way, the significance of chance: Yogi Berra, the baseball legend; Karl Popper, the philosopher of knowledge; Solon, the ancient world's wisest man; the modern financier George Soros; and the Greek voyager Ulysses. We also meet the fictional Nero, who seems to understand the role of randomness in his professional life, but who also falls victim to his own superstitious foolishness. But the most recognizable character remains unnamed, the lucky fool in the right place at the right time - the embodiment of the "Survival of the Least Fit". Such individuals attract devoted followers who believe in their guru's insights and methods. But no one can replicate what is obtained through chance. It may be impossible to guard against the vagaries of the Goddess Fortuna, but after listening to Fooled by Randomness we can be a little better prepared.


What the Critics Say

"[Taleb is] Wall Street's principal dissident....[Fooled by Randomness] is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther's ninety-nine theses were to the Catholic Church." (Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker)
"An articulate, wise, and humorous meditation on the nature of success and failure that anyone who wants a little more of the former would do well to consider." (


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Self righteous rambling

While the book may read well this unfortunately doesn't translate into a good audiobook. It comes across as very self righteous as he sneers at the mere mortals who don't appreciate randomness. Furthermore this book lacks any kind of structure and seems to be a collection of thoughts as they've come into the author's head. I was very disappointed
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- Ben Stubbens

Insightful and interesting

Many reviewers dock the author points for the arrogant and sometimes contemptuous tone of the writing.
While these elements are certainly present -exacerbated by the narrator- I feel the author is entitled to present his ideas in whatever style he sees fit and it is moreover an interesting insight into the mind of the man as well as the well presented ideas on the role of randomness in life.
One of the key messages of this book is that we are not designed to understand randomness because the environment in which we encounter it in the modern world is far removed from our evolutionary roots. This idea when explored, along with other very interesting subject matter is certainly very enlightening.
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- Preston Pickles

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-01-2008
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC