Fooled by Randomness is the word-of-mouth sensation that will change the way you think about business and the world. Nassim Nicholas Taleb–veteran trader, renowned risk expert, polymathic scholar, erudite raconteur, and New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan–has written a modern classic that turns on its head what we believe about luck and skill.
This book is about luck–or more precisely, about how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill–the world of trading–Fooled by Randomness provides captivating insight into one of the least understood factors in all our lives. Writing in an entertaining narrative style, the author tackles major intellectual issues related to the underestimation of the influence of happenstance on our lives.
The book is populated with an array of characters, some of whom have grasped, in their own way, the significance of chance: the baseball legend Yogi Berra; the philosopher of knowledge Karl Popper; the ancient world’s wisest man, Solon; the modern financier George Soros; and the Greek voyager Odysseus. We also meet the fictional Nero, who seems to understand the role of randomness in his professional life but falls victim to his own superstitious foolishness.
However, the most recognizable character of all remains unnamed–the lucky fool who happens to be in the right place at the right time–he embodies 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 by chance.
Are we capable of distinguishing the fortunate charlatan from the genuine visionary? Must we always try to uncover nonexistent messages in random events? It may be impossible to guard ourselves against the vagaries of the goddess Fortuna, but after reading Fooled by Randomness we can be a little better prepared.
PRAISE FOR FOOLED BY RANDOMNESS:
Named by Fortune One of the Smartest Books of All Time
A Financial Times Best Business Book of the Year
“[Fooled by Randomness] is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses were to the Catholic Church.”
–Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink
“The book that rolled down Wall Street like a hand grenade.”
–Maggie Mahar, author of Bull! A History of the Boom, 1982—1999
“Fascinating . . . Taleb will grab you.”
–Peter L. Bernstein, author of Capital Ideas Evolving
“Recalls the best of scientist/essayists like Richard Dawkins . . . and Stephen Jay Gould.”
–Michael Schrage, author of Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate
“We need a book like this. . . . Fun to read, refreshingly independent-minded.”
–Robert J. Shiller, author of Irrational Exuberance
“Powerful . . . loaded with crackling little insights [and] extreme brilliance.”
For those who slept through Stats 101, this book is a lifesaver. Wheelan strips away the arcane and technical details and focuses on the underlying intuition that drives statistical analysis. He clarifies key concepts such as inference, correlation, and regression analysis, reveals how biased or careless parties can manipulate or misrepresent data, and shows us how brilliant and creative researchers are exploiting the valuable data from natural experiments to tackle thorny questions.
And in Wheelan’s trademark style, there’s not a dull page in sight. You’ll encounter clever Schlitz Beer marketers leveraging basic probability, an International Sausage Festival illuminating the tenets of the central limit theorem, and a head-scratching choice from the famous game show Let’s Make a Deal—and you’ll come away with insights each time. With the wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a bestseller, Wheelan defies the odds yet again by bringing another essential, formerly unglamorous discipline to life.
Perhaps no one is better acquainted with the intersection of economics and politics than Robert B. Reich, and now he reveals how power and influence have created a new American oligarchy, a shrinking middle class, and the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in eighty years. He makes clear how centrally problematic our veneration of the “free market” is, and how it has masked the power of moneyed interests to tilt the market to their benefit.
Reich exposes the falsehoods that have been bolstered by the corruption of our democracy by huge corporations and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street: that all workers are paid what they’re “worth,” that a higher minimum wage equals fewer jobs, and that corporations must serve shareholders before employees. He shows that the critical choices ahead are not about the size of government but about who government is for: that we must choose not between a free market and “big” government but between a market organized for broadly based prosperity and one designed to deliver the most gains to the top. Ever the pragmatist, ever the optimist, Reich sees hope for reversing our slide toward inequality and diminished opportunity when we shore up the countervailing power of everyone else.
Passionate yet practical, sweeping yet exactingly argued, Saving Capitalism is a revelatory indictment of our economic status quo and an empowering call to civic action.
From the Hardcover edition.
Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors.
Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.
“Schlosser has a flair for dazzling scene-setting and an arsenal of startling facts . . . Fast Food Nation points the way but, to resurrect an old fast food slogan, the choice is yours.”—Los Angeles Times
In 2001, Fast Food Nation was published to critical acclaim and became an international bestseller. Eric Schlosser’s exposé revealed how the fast food industry has altered the landscape of America, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and transformed food production throughout the world. The book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat and helped to launch today’s food movement.
In a new afterword for this edition, Schlosser discusses the growing interest in local and organic food, the continued exploitation of poor workers by the food industry, and the need to ensure that every American has access to good, healthy, affordable food. Fast Food Nation is as relevant today as it was a decade ago. The book inspires readers to look beneath the surface of our food system, consider its impact on society and, most of all, think for themselves.
“As disturbing as it is irresistible . . . Exhaustively researched, frighteningly convincing . . . channeling the spirits of Upton Sinclair and Rachel Carson.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Schlosser shows how the fast food industry conquered both appetite and landscape.”—The New Yorker
Eric Schlosser is a contributing editor for the Atlantic and the author of Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Chew on This (with Charles Wilson).
Complexity surrounds us. We have too much email, juggle multiple remotes, and hack through thickets of regulations from phone contracts to health plans. But complexity isn’t destiny. Sull and Eisenhardt argue there’s a better way. By developing a few simple yet effective rules, people can best even the most complex problems.
In Simple Rules, Sull and Eisenhardt masterfully challenge how we think about complexity and offer a new lens on how to cope. They take us on a surprising tour of what simple rules are, where they come from, and why they work. The authors illustrate the six kinds o f rules that really matter - for helping artists find creativity and the Federal Reserve set interest rates, for keeping birds on track and Zipcar members organized, and for how insomniacs can sleep and mountain climbers stay safe.
Drawing on rigorous research and riveting stories, the authors ingeniously find insights in unexpected places, from the way Tina Fey codified her experience at Saturday Night Live into rules for producing 30 Rock (rule five: never tell a crazy person he’s crazy) to burglars’ rules for robbery (“avoid houses with a car parked outside”) to Japanese engineers mimicking the rules of slime molds to optimize Tokyo’s rail system. The authors offer fresh information and practical tips on fixing old rules and learning new ones.
Whether you’re struggling with information overload, pursuing opportunities with limited resources, or just trying to change your bad habits, Simple Rules provides powerful insight into how and why simplicity tames complexity.
With pragmatic recommendations on what government, business and labor should do to alleviate the economic crunch, The Big Squeeze is a balanced, consistently revealing look at a major American crisis.
This book shows you how to validate your initial idea, find the right customers, decide what to build, how to monetize your business, and how to spread the word. Packed with more than thirty case studies and insights from over a hundred business experts, Lean Analytics provides you with hard-won, real-world information no entrepreneur can afford to go without.Understand Lean Startup, analytics fundamentals, and the data-driven mindsetLook at six sample business models and how they map to new ventures of all sizesFind the One Metric That Matters to youLearn how to draw a line in the sand, so you’ll know it’s time to move forwardApply Lean Analytics principles to large enterprises and established products
In the late 1980s, Japanese scientists were trying to figure out the economic damage that would be caused if a catastrophic earthquake destroyed Tokyo. The answer was bleak, but not for Japan. Kaoru Oda, an economist who worked for Tokai Bank, speculated that the United States would end up paying the most. Why? Japan owned trillions of dollars’ worth of foreign liquid assets and investments. These assets, which the world depended on, would be sold, forcing countries into the precarious position of having to return large amounts of money they might not have. After the recent earthquake, Michael Lewis reexamined this hypothesis and came to a surprising conclusion. With his characteristic sense of humor and wit, Lewis, once again, explains the inner workings of a financial catastrophe.
“How a Tokyo Earthquake Could Devastate Wall Street” appears in Michael Lewis’s book The Money Culture.