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Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (2001)

af Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4,251612,837 (3.89)32
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.… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 61 (næste | vis alle)
I’ve actually only read this book as the Blinkist summary and the review is really made mainly for myself ...to help me focus and recall. So it’s slightly unfair to the author of the full book, which, I’m sure has a lot more detail. Anyway, the summary was enough for me to get a reasonable handle on what the book is about and I’m not rushing out to invest in the full book. Here are some extracts from the Blinkist summary that grabbed my interest:
We are all frequently fooled by randomness, meaning that we underestimate the impact of luck and random events on our lives. We use terms like “skills”, and “determinism” when “luck” and “randomness” are called for. Nowhere is this discrepancy more evident than in the stock market, where “capable investor” should usually be substituted with “lucky idiot”.
Consider for example a cohort of 10,000 investors who, are relatively incompetent: each year they only have a 45% chance of being profitable.......after 5 years based on probabilities alone we can expect almost 200 of them to have been profitable every year. [I’ve seen this sort of example a number of times but it always impresses me. Hard not to bt to be impressed by somebody who’s been a winner for 15 years straight and who appears on talk shows talking about how he does it]. Wall Street has seen many traders, who after years of success have one devastating quarter where they lose everything...We often mistake luck and randomness for skill and the basis of all empirical science is a process called induction: we infer things about the nature of the world based on our observations.
Unfortunately, this approach carries an inherent problem, illustrated by the famous example of black swans as stated by philosopher John Stuart Mill:...the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion”......This is known as the problem of induction, and it means no theory can ever be proved right, only wrong (by a single “black swan”). It used to be a popular logical statement that “all swans are white”.....until black swans were found in Australia and Mill was born in 1806, well after Australia was settled by the British].
Always consider the possibility that your theories and assumptions may be proved wrong, and examine how such a development would affect your share portfolio.......
Yet wherever people are involved, like in the stock market, there will be constant change through adaptation. For example, if stock prices always rose on Mondays, rational investors would all buy stocks on Sundays, thus changing the market dynamic and eliminating the effect.
We can never be sure any theory is right–things constantly change and the next observation may prove us wrong. On average, the fittest organisms will survive. A few lucky unfit organisms will usually also endure, at least in the short term......The same is true for many things in life. This is called a path dependent outcome: if we were to start from scratch, we would not wind up with a QWERTY-keyboard again.
When enough people started using Microsoft products, it created a positive feedback loop, where new customers bought Microsoft products precisely because everyone they knew was already using them. After a product has passed the tipping point, it is in a very strong position.......In real life though, an incremental change can have a huge impact: a single grain of sand can cause the entire castle to tumble.
Life is unfair and non-linear: The best do not always win.
Despite what we may believe, our mind is not a sophisticated thinking-machine, but rather a patchwork of rules and shortcuts called heuristics....Unfortunately, the price we pay for using these lazy shortcuts is that our reasoning becomes irrational and marred by what psychologists call biases. For example, due to attribution bias, we tend to disproportionately ascribe successes to our own abilities, and failures to “bad luck”.
Our thinking also becomes path dependent...For instance, if you were to win $5 million today and lose $4 million tomorrow, you would likely be much less happy than if you simply won $1 million tomorrow, although the end result is identical.
Path dependency also means we cling to our existing opinions. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that we get attached to things we have invested a lot of time and effort into.....Our reasoning is context-dependent and mostly based on simple heuristics.
Some researchers believe emotions are the true shortcuts in our decision-making process, the “lubricants of reason”. Without emotions to give us that little irrational nudge, we would agonize endlessly over the slightest decisions.....Emotions are fundamentally irrational precisely to stop us from temporizing......Neurobiologists have found evidence to support the notion that we feel emotions first, then try to rationalize an explanation for them. This means emotions have a stronger influence on rational thinking than the other way around. Emotions can help us make decisions, but also overwhelm our capacity for rational reasoning.
Learning from history does not come naturally to humans.
This is due to hindsight bias: in retrospect, earlier events always seem more predictable than they really were at the time. If any past data is sufficiently analyzed, it is inevitable some pattern will emerge from it: one author even claimed that he could find predictions for past world events simply by examining statistical irregularities in the Bible.
Like our ancestors who divined the future by examining bird entrails, we tend to naturally find patterns and causal relationships where there may not be any......Of course, unleashing modern computing power on a large amount of data will inevitably uncover many such rules, but the past “success” of these rules is due to pure randomness, and whoever blindly believes in them is likely to have their portfolio annihilated.
In retrospect, we always find patterns, causes and explanations in past events, but they are mostly useless for predicting the future......When hedge funds report losses, they often refer to large and “unexpected” events, factors......These statements ignore the fact that things which have never happened before actually happen all the time, and are always unexpected.
For example, early climate researchers removed the largest temperature spikes in their data because they thought them unlikely to occur. But in fact these spikes added disproportionately to climate change, an outcome the resultant climate model failed to anticipate. .....Experienced investors fall into this trap, and in fact many traders who enjoyed a short-lived success used trading strategies where they won small sums often, but subsequently lost large amounts all at once.
We are inherently poor at understanding the impact of rare events. While generally it is sensible to be hyper-rational when dealing with science and finances, one can gladly be fooled by randomness when it comes to art and poetry......As the Yiddish say, “If I must eat pork, it had better be the best kind.” Similarly, if we must be fooled by randomness, it had better be the beautiful, harmless kind.
All of us are sometimes the victims of adversity caused by harmful randomness (an unexpected cancer diagnosis is a prime example).....In such an event, the code of conduct we should follow is provided by stoicism. [I must confess that this sudden twist to philosophical thinking took me by surprise.....but I guess it is one way aof managing with randomness]. Today’s information environment is so cluttered with useless news, the cost of wading through all of them by far exceeds the cost of missing those few truly valuable items.
Though Bloomberg journalists may try to interpret and explain every miniscule movement, stock prices actually fluctuate quite disconnectedly from the fundamentals they are supposed to reflect......In the short term most movements are merely random noise.
Consider how this affects an investor following her stock portfolio, which for argument’s sake has 10% volatility and 15% expected returns......If she checks her portfolio every minute,
she can expect to experience 60, 688 minutes of pleasure versus 60,271 of pain.
If, on the other hand, she checks her portfolio annually, she can expect to feel pleasure 19 out of 20 years. Eventually her returns are the same either way, the minute-to-minute updates will leave the investor emotionally drained, since losses always sting more than
profits please. Both in the media and stock markets, random noise is not worth listening to.
The key message in this book is:
We are all fooled by randomness, but frequently misinterpret it as something deterministic.
We often mistake luck and randomness for skill and determinism. We can never be sure any theory is right–things constantly change and the next observation may prove us wrong. Life is unfair and non-linear: The best do not always win.
My take on the book. Whilst I was familiar with most of the arguments presented, it was an entertaining and useful refresher and made me think about introducing it to my grandkids. Happy to give it four stars. ( )
  booktsunami | Jul 5, 2024 |
260 pages of sarcasm is more than I can stand, all to tell us that Wall Street can predict everything except the unpredictable. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Castalia Library, Cowhide Leather 900 ( )
  TomLopez | Dec 9, 2023 |
Taleb’s toeval is een bespreking van het eerste deel uit zijn Incerto reeks, ‘Misleid door toeval’. En gelijk de beste. Ik las het 15 jaar geleden ook al eens en was benieuwd wat er was blijven hangen. Het antwoord daarop is paradoxaal: zowel heel veel als heel weinig. Veel, omdat het meeste wat ik las inmiddels wel gemeengoed is in het vakgebied. Weinig, omdat ik bij sommige stukken dacht het echt voor de eerste keer te lezen, zo onbekend kwam het mij voor. Zoals de waarschuwing van Solon. Een uitstekende metafoor voor Taleb’s toeval. Lees hier de hele recensie https://www.rizoomes.nl/risicomanagement/talebs-toeval-een-boekrecensie/ ( )
  Rizoomes | Oct 22, 2023 |
Very enlightening! I am so stoked that I signed up for a course on Probability and statistics after reading this book ( )
  harishwriter | Oct 12, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 61 (næste | vis alle)
The lesson here for investors is powerful and frightening. How much can you rely on the track records of investment advisers, mutual fund managers, newspaper columnists, or even the market as a whole in making decisions about your investment portfolio? Not nearly as much as you probably think.

 

» Tilføj andre forfattere (10 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Nassim Nicholas Talebprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Sergio, ChristopherOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Welch, ChrisDesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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This book is the synthesis of, on one hand, the no-nonsense practitioner of uncertainty who spent his professional life trying to resist being fooled by randomness and trick the emotions associated with probabilistic outcomes and, on the other, the aesthetically obsessed, literature-loving human being willing to be fooled by any form of nonsense that is polished, refined, original, and tasteful.
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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.

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