Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Lucky or good?

I like to define wisdom as the acceptance of coincidence. We are disposed to make snap judgements rather than to follow the statistical rules of evidence. We have a problem with randomness in that it is not in our second nature. Indeed, Nassim Nicholas Taleb has written Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (which I blogged about some months back).

Going over much the same ground is Leonard Mlodinow in The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. I liked the latter much better. Towards the end, the author writes that nothing beats being lucky and good. Even better:

I wrote this book in the belief that we can reorganize
our thinking in the face of uncertainty. We can improve our skill at
decision making and tame some of the biases that lead us to make poor
judgments and poor choices. We can seek to understand people's
qualities or the qualities of a situation quite apart from the results they
attain, and we can learn to judge decisions by the spectrum of potential
outcomes they might have produced rather than by the particular result that actually occurred.