Arthur De Vany is an American economist who has studied the Hollywood film industry and developed theories of evolutionary fitness focusing on nutrition and exercise in the paleo manner. He is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Fooled by Randomness

    is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb???s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don???t understand. The other books in the series are ,and ,., 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 , bestselling author of ,???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???, 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 , we can be a little better prepared.,Named by Fortune One of the Smartest Books of All Time,A Financial Times Best Business Book of the Year

  • Neural Darwinism

    Already the subject of considerable pre-publication discussion, this magisterial work by one of the nation’s leading neuroscientists presents a radically new view of the function of the brain and nervous system. Its central idea is that the nervous system in each individual operates as a selective system resembling natural selection in evolution, but operating by different mechanisms. By providing a fundamental neural basis for categorization of the things of this world it unifies perception, action, and learning.,The theory also completely revises our view of memory, which it considers to be a dynamic process of recategorization rather than a replicative store of attributes. This has deep implications for the interpretation of various psychological states from attention to dreaming. Neural Darwinism ranges over many disciplines, focusing on key problems in developmental and evolutionary biology, anatomy, physiology, ethology, and psychology. This book should therefore prove indispensable to advanced undergraduate and graduate students in these fields, to students of medicine, and to those in the social sciences concerned with the relation of behavior to biology. Beyond that, this far-ranging theory of brain function is bound to stimulate renewed discussions of such philosophical issues as the mind-body problem, the origins of knowledge, and the perceptual basis of language.

  • The Black Swan

    A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was.,The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.,Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities.,We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don???t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the ???impossible.???,For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. Now, in this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don???t know. He offers surprisingly simple tricks for dealing with black swans and benefiting from them.,Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications , will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory., is a landmark book ??? itself a black swan.