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Fooled by Randomness

Nassim Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness (the first in his Incerto series) delightfully yet forcefully causes the reader to confront the fact that random chance rules much of human fate. Emotions are lubricants of reason, aphorisms allow us to judge situations fast and easy.

Taleb hits a number of highlights along the way, such as:

  • Noting the urge to keep up with the Jones’, while we might be happier staying put as the most successful of our original social milieu. (The big fish in the small pond may be happier than the big fish in the big pond.) To this end, much of happiness is derived from the perceived trajectory of your circumstances, rather than the circumstances themselves.
  • Rejecting luck as a reason for our success, but embracing it as a reason for our failure.
  • The real phenomenon of luck-induced dopamine causing self-fulfilling-prophecies of success and charism.
  • The value of a slow information diet, eschewing the daily news cycle.
  • His deep disdain for journalists.

I really enjoy his writing style. A modern man of letters… I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Incerto.

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