By the author of Black Swan but written before it. This book has made Nassim famous but also "hated" in some quarters for his show no mercy comments.
I read Black Swan before this book, and like both. In a way, Fooled by Randomness is an easier read for most. While the thoughts are equally deep (for the underlining thougths of the two books are the same), the flow of writing is smoother and easier to follow.
The chapter on the Problem of Induction is very well written and I strongly recommend it to all who are interested in human knowledge and its true nature....Continua
這禮拜看了《隨機的致富陷阱：解開生活中的機率之謎》（Fooled by randomness : the hidden role of chance in the markets and in life）。作者是 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas，他的新作也就是這幾年知名度很高的《黑天鵝效應》。其實這本書裡頭所講的可以跟快思慢想做相呼應，都是談論人類思維裡對於機率概念的偏見。不過這本書用250頁的篇幅只談一個概念，就是隨機性。
世界是複雜的，我們的生活中有太多的東西是透過隨機性而產生的。我們很難去劃分他的成功裡頭有多少成分是運氣、有多少成分是實力。短期間裡頭，隨機性容易作怪，但到了長時間的尺度上，這些隨機性會被相互的抵消。凱因斯說過：「In the long run,we are all dead」很可惜，人的壽命有限，也就區區的幾十年。在年輕的歲月裡，我們可能必須在不到十年裡頭去和別人競爭、賺錢。對於這種急迫。我想，我們必須向隨機性低頭。隨機性是不可避免的，我們也沒辦法改變自身的運氣。那我們能做什麼？評估合理的效益和成本，在自己所能接受的時間尺度內盡量的消除隨機性。有三、五年的時間，就學學巴菲特做個價值型的股票投資人。只有半年甚至是幾個月的時間，那只好做個短線投機者。這麼做的隨機性肯定很大，風險也很大。但是，如果能夠收集更多的資訊，在有更多把握的情況下才進場，那也能夠賺錢。...Continua
It provided me with a great literature review on philosophy, behavioral economics/psychology and upheld the beliefs that I hold... but in a more structured manner.
As such, I will re-read it when I find myself particularly at the mercy of my (irrational and negative) emotions...Continua
In his witty, informative, sober yet often ludicrous and sarcastic tone, Taleb expounds on the simple yet unsolvable problem of inference. This problem is as old as Solon at least, who already warned against the human tendency to infer from little empirical evidence rules and predictions expected to apply in general context, especially in the future. The echo of Solon's warning comes across the book and is embodied by Popper's (naive, as some say) falsificationism and his suggestion not to take science too seriously, as it may be erecting buildings on fragile fundations, to be continuously subjected to revisions or rejections. Popper had embodied Solon's call also in politics and socioeconomics with his vision of the open society, where tolerance of alternative or even competitive views is fundamental to avoid errors and be able to face sudden changes. Taleb observes that monotheisms may have a large part in the difficulty to establish a truly open society, as they foster the idea of infallibilism, monism and of absolute truth. This tendency was in fact new to the Mediterranean area where they arose, and were not totally successful in silencing the competitive attitudes, particularly stoicism, to which Taleb tributes an explicit apology toward the end, though his appreciation of Montaigne, Carneades and Zeno are evident throughout. In earnest, Taleb admits that he himself is no better than anyone else in not being fooled by randomness, but his advantage is that he is aware of that (he is a specialist in risk trading, and it is interesting to note that though the book was published in 2004, he was still able to made a large fortune in recent years using the tools he exposes. This is consistent with his claim that people can be said of how to behave for very short time (when they may even agree with the suggestions), but then revert to their innate habits; and he also state his personal paradox, for which he gains because other do not apply what he is explaining).
Being a personal essay and not a treatise, Taleb is free from formal pressure yet conveys many concepts clearly and wittingly. He presents the results of Kahneman and Tversky at the base of behavioral finance, evolutionary psychology and brain modularity to try to explain why we may just be hardwired to be fooled by noise and not be able to behave according to our rational grasp of probabilities, as we are emotional beings - being emotional is fundamental, but has its downsides which need to be constrained, that is.
Taleb assaults MBAs and professional traders for their apparent success based according to him more on luck than skill. He comments on the way data are easy to fit post factum, so stories to justify success are easy to accomodate though they may just be fiction. He supports the idea that heroism is to be judged on actions, not on their results - just the opposite of what historians normally do.
The text is laden with Latin and Greek citations, which make a nice contrast to the Wall Street kind of setting of the action. His disgust for people compulsively checking news, fluctuations of prices and making judgments on easy to be scooped biases (hindsight, survivorship, anchoring, availability, endowement, and so on) is just lovely, admitted that he himself if occasionally the object of the attack, except for when that is tolerated for aestetic purposes.
Very refreshing, intriguing, against the grain and smart. A must read.