The best book I have ever read!

I can identify with Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s following excerpt in Fooled by Randomness on biases in our daily lives:

My favorite time is spent in bookstores, where I aimlessly move from book to book in an attempt to make a decision as to whether to invest the time in reading it. My buying is often made on impulse, based on superficial but suggestive clues. Frequently, I have nothing but a book jacket as an appendage to my decision making. Jackets often contain praise by someone, famous or not, or excerpts from a book review. Good praise by a famous and respected person or a well-known magazine would sway me into buying the book.

What is the problem? I tend to confuse a book review, which is supposed to be an assessment of the quality of the book, with the best book reviews, marred with the same survivorship biases. I mistake the distribution of the maximum of the variable with that of the variable itself. Publishers would never put on the jacket of the book anything but the best praise. Some authors go even a step beyond, taking a tepid or unfavorable book review and selecting words in it that appear to praise the book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s