his book is the synthesis of, on one hand, the no-nonsense practitioner
of uncertainty who spent his professional life trying to
resist being fooled by randomness and trick the emotions associated
with probabilistic outcomes and, on the other, the aesthetically
obsessed, literature-loving human being willing to be fooled by
any form of nonsense that is polished, refined, original, and tasteful. I
am not capable of avoiding being the fool of randomness;what I can
do is confine it to where it brings some aesthetic gratification.
This comes straight from the gut; it is a personal essay primarily
discussing its author's thoughts, struggles, and observations connected
to the practice of risk taking, not exactly a treatise, and certainly,
god forbid, not a piece of scientific reporting. It was written
for fun and it aims to be read (principally) for, and with, pleasure.
Much has been written about our biases (acquired or genetic) in
dealing with randomness over the past decade. The rules while
writing the first edition of this book had been to avoid discussing
(a) anything that I did not either personally witness on the topic
or develop independently, and (b) anything that I have not distilled
well enough to be able to write on the subject with only the
slightest effort. Everything that remotely felt like work was out. I
had to purge from the text passages that seemed to come from a ......