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Skin in the Game: The Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life (Incerto #5)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  3,330 Ratings  ·  370 Reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan, a bold new work that challenges many of our long-held beliefs about risk and reward, politics and religion, finance and personal responsibility

In his most provocative and practical book yet, one of the foremost thinkers of our time redefines what it means to understand the world, succeed in a profession, contri
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by Allen Lane
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Ryan Boissonneault
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Skin in the Game is at the same time thought-provoking and original but also contradictory and sometimes absurd.

Let’s start with the cons:

1. I certainly won’t be the first to notice that Taleb can be mean-spirited. But why does he insist on presenting his views in this way? The communication of his ideas, often profound, does not require a mean-spirited or condescending tone. For however brilliant Taleb thinks he is, his skills in persuasion are severely lacking; he’s alienating a significant r
Taleb’s ‘Skin in the Game’ has been put together in a somewhat disorderly way, but the reasoning goes as follows:

1. The world in which we live is complex and eludes our sense-making faculties.

2. Our society has cultivated a privileged class of Intellectuals Yet Idiots (IYIs). These people monopolize positions of authority and routinely take decisions to intervene in that complex world, without however doing the effort to think through the cascading impacts of these decisions and being convenient
Mar 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
SITG is an angry rant. It lacks structure. The core message - mainly because of the author’s often misplaced and wrong arguments against his self-created adversaries - is never examined beyond the title’s most known or intuitive conventional meaning. The basic concept is at least as old as the adage itself. The author does little to bolster the claim while spending all efforts on slamming real or imagined opponents. The book’s frequent diversions along with internal contradictions amid a rather ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: waiting, favorites
Another great book from Nassim! If you have 3minutes, check my animated summary of this one ;)

Animated Book Review

Animated Book Review
Magnus Ahmad
Feb 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
Pop-science in it's lowest form. Book reads like a poorly researched, hastily written college essay. Strings together a few nuggets of common sense wisdom with sizeable amounts of unreferenced BS. Taleb is a shark, living off a reputation and using his own fanbase like an ATM.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: on-a-break
Cherry-picking meets ignorance of human nature meets naive interpretation of history meets erroneous assumptions.

If you cherry-pick the data, you can make ANY ridiculous hypothesis sound convincing.

Unlike those who complain about Taleb’s unresolved teenage angst, his thin-skinned hubris, or his lack of civility, I couldn’t care less about his crass remarks. My problem is with the ideas in this book, not its author, although I do question the intelligence of its author when his prose lapses into
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
In this book #4, Taleb is more arrogant and pretentious than ever. You can never let go of the feeling that this book is about him, rather than any other topic. He's become profoundly obnoxious and negative. Despite some good points in the book, reading it feels like carrying a burden.

In this new book Taleb goes to extra lengths to attack David Runciman, head of the politics department at Cambridge, and a Guardian book reviewer who had torn apart his previous "Antifragile" book. Runciman's crit
Gints Dreimanis
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hey, another one who doesn't give a fuck.

NNT is a bit of a diva, and it is obvious that he has some beef with a lot of people. He certainly sounds right. But is he? I don't know.

The book revolves around the notion that people not having skin in the game will fuck us up, somehow. Turns out that the idea of skin in the game can be applied to a wide variety of fields and professions. Especially the ones Taleb doesn't like, like academics, policy makers, journalists. Oh, and rationality as you kno
Ill D
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Taleb's the hero.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this and I certainly did at the beginning. All of his insults are complex, original and amusing but he insults so many people so frequently that the process itself becomes tedious. I do enjoy his historical anecdotes, but again there are a large volume of them, and not always obviously with a point, other than a demonstration of his research or recall abilities. It is the fact that he criticises many individuals in passing with a specific but cryptic reference to something they ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Five stars only because six weren't available.
Peter Mcloughlin
I like Taleb's books while hating his politics. I like that he says what he thinks is true and doesn't care who he pisses off. He is also right about a lot of things. He is on target with his jibes at chattering classes who no skin in the game and blythly go on about issues that they will lose nothing on if they are wrong. no accountability. when he goes off on politics defending Trump he goes off rails. Just because his enemies who he calls intellectual yet idiots despise Trump it doesn't besto ...more
Daniel Cañueto
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Taleb should know by now that, according to Lindy effect, he should respect the canonical writing style and analysis schemes he tries to avoid.

Less new ideas and more off-topic resentful digression. His message keeps being interesting. However, Jordan B. Peterson has been able to distil it in a more productive way for humanity (and not only for contrarian elitists).
Gaurav Mathur
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Aah, Taleb. I have read all his non-technical books at least twice, so of course it was with great enthusiasm that I bought this... SITG.

Bit of a bummer.

SITG has some great insights, but most of them were shared on his Twitter account, and his posts on Medium. That is:

(SITG book - Previous works - Medium posts = few new insights)

Also, a bit of complaining about how his ideas were not listened to.

But of course applaud the man for pursuing his ideas for more than 2 decades. Have learned quite a lo
Lucas Carlson
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this book. Much smaller in number of words than his others, but equally dense if not more so with ideas. It’s a great compliment to the rest of his books and ties his ideas together well.

I’ve heard a lot of otherwise smart people criticize Taleb as trying to sound smart without saying anything new or special, but I can’t disagree more.

If I had to distill everything Taleb into one idea, I would focus on the last few sentences of this latest book, which I will summarize in my own memory of
Harsh Gupta
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book. Many chapters of the book are available on medium, for example http://medium.com/incerto/the-most-i...


* Taleb is **not** meant to be read literally.

* Read "Antifragile" or "Black Swan" before reading this to better appreciate the content, especially if Taleb's article on "Intellectual Yet Idiot" offends you http://medium.com/incerto/the-intell... Better get some "skin in the game" :D
3.5* - rounding up to 4.

Be warned: this book is a ranty, largely unstructured, flow-of-consciousness type stuff. It has an equal probability or either delighting the reader or driving them mad. I personally enjoy the erudite style of Taleb's argumentation and find his references and vignettes to 'times gone by' intellectually stimulating. Also, the black-and-white bluntness of his position makes the book feel refreshing. You may not agree with Taleb's side, but you are never left in doubt which
Leif Denti
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Taleb has lost it. Regrettably. This book is a good example of someone doing a "Lord Kelvin", that is, making strong claims about things that are not within your field of expertise. Taleb is a statistician, but of course that doesn't hinder him from having very strong opinions on other matters such as other researchers' fields, politics, banking, journalism, to mention just a few.

That's a shame because I loved his first two books. However since Antifragility, quality has been on a downward slop
The one non-fiction book everyone should take a look at as it puts in (very skilled) words what most people feel - today the smooth talkers have power without risk (unless they are caught at the outrage du jour) and they use it to enrich themselves with an "after us the deluge" motto; the "talk is cheap" cliche has never been exposed better than in this book and reading it, one may get angry or exhilarated (or both and more) but one will learn a lot from it
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some really good insights in a very small book -

1. "When it comes to the country, I'm a libertarian, when it comes to the state, I'm a republican, when it comes to my city, I'm a Democrat, when it comes to my family, I'm a Socialist".
2. Cost benefit analysis is not possible when there is a probability of Ruin.
3. The west is in the process of committing ideological suicide (on minority rule).
4. Its easier to Macrobullshit than it is to Microbullshit.
5. What matters is not what a person has, but w
Taleb does it again--

CHOCKFULL of insights, surprising, counterintuitive insights. But not only that, he basically snubs the whole discipline of psychology (possibly even Daniel Kahneman's prospect theory) when it comes to rationality and risk-taking. Now, as a long-term believer in psychology as a scientific endeavor, I was in for quite a bit of shock and fascination. Recently I've had doubts about the results of learning science (a branch of psychology), which simplifies things a little too mu
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Few authors through their writing have the ability to make one really think; Taleb is one of the few who can and does.
There are many ways to be critical about this book, and the criticisms would not be groundless.
For one, Taleb expresses contempt for many present-day scholars such as Steven Pinker, Richard Thaler, and Thomas Picketty. One of the nicer expressions he coins for this group is IYI (Intellectual Yet Idiot).
As is usually the case, an attack on another tends to reflect more on onese
Mar 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
“The mark of a charlatan is to defend his position or attack a critic by focusing on some specific statement (“ look at what he said”) rather than blasting his exact position (“ look at what he means” or, more broadly, “look at what he stands for”)— for the latter requires an extensive grasp of the proposed idea.”

This quote from Mr. Taleb perfectly summarizes my problems with his book.

The general theme of the book is that one should be wary of those making decisions who lack consequences of thos
Mike Peleah
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Skin in the Game" is fourth book of Taleb's Incerto. This volume focuses on Asymmetries in a range of things, from politics, to religion, to GMO. The book presents insights in very readable way, combined with real stories and well peppered by Taleb's trademark arrogance.
Denis Vasilev
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Рациональность как выживание, связь действий с результатом. Есть хорошие дополнения к привычной картине рассмотрения религий с позиции их «рациональности». Как обычно идет мочилово неугодных автору академиков и наук.
Bhashit Parikh
More wisdom from Taleb. Since this was a Taleb book, I was ready to give it a five star rating without even reading it. Well, I did finish it. And it's not as long or as densely packed as his other books, it's more like a long summary of ideas with some ideas explained in more detail. As with all Taleb books, this one's pretty entertaining too.

If you haven't ready any Taleb books before, this is probably not the place to start. It's rather succient, and builds on the ideas already exposed in oth
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Taleb is at it again: writing a great book while at the same time insulting almost everyone notable

Skin in the game is important for us to judge whether. particular advice should be followed. Thus people with a reputation to uphold (professionals), people who risk their own money (business founders and hedge fund managers), people who risk their lives (firemen, police) should be given more credibility when they give advice. On the other hand, people with no skin in the game, or interventionista
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I waded into this book warily. NN Taleb was a personal favourite due to his ability to stand up to a large section of the establishment which does not practice what it preaches. Yet over the years his diatribes and jeers towards anyone who doesn’t agree with his world view was a bit jarring. Taleb is hailed by Manu Joseph ( Columnist at The Mint who wrote the amazing “Illicit happiness of other people”) among others.

This book did not disappoint in terms of either, his acute insight or his acerbi
John  Edgar Mihelic
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Iconoclasm Sells Books: The Writings of N. N. Taleb

The story goes that Socrates was the wisest man in Athens, because only he admitted he knew nothing. Taleb is the Socratic inverse, because he believes that only he knows everything.

I have a lot of feelings about Nassim Taleb, most of them not charitable. He’s got me blocked on social media for reasons unknown to me. He brags about liking to win, but that’s not a win.

I actually dislike him so much that whatever value his ideas have are lost in t
Max Nova
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review and highlights at http://books.max-nova.com/skin-in-the-game

Taleb strikes again with "Skin in the Game". This incendiary book is the source of his notorious "Intellectual Yet Idiot" essay, as well as several other fiery gems, such as "How to Legally Own Another Person." This book feels a bit more discombobulated than his previous works - it is really a collection of essays only mildly related to each other by the idea that fair exposure to downside risk is important for a well-funct
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb spent 21 years as a risk taker (quantitative trader) before becoming a flaneur and researcher in philosophical, mathematical and (mostly) practical problems with probability.

Taleb is the author of a multivolume essay, the Incerto (The Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, and Skin in the Game) an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error
More about Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Other books in the series

Incerto (5 books)
  • Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
  • The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

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“The curse of modernity is that we are increasingly populated by a class of people who are better at explaining than understanding, or better at explaining than doing.” 13 likes
“What matters isn’t what a person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing.” 10 likes
More quotes…