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  • Skin in the Game

  • Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
  • Written by: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Narrated by: Joe Ochman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (302 ratings)

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Skin in the Game

Written by: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Narrated by: Joe Ochman
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Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times best seller

A bold work from the author of The Black Swan 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, contribute to a fair and just society, detect nonsense, and influence others. Citing examples ranging from Hammurabi to Seneca, Antaeus the Giant to Donald Trump, Nassim Nicholas Taleb shows how the willingness to accept one's own risks is an essential attribute of heroes, saints, and flourishing people in all walks of life.

As always both accessible and iconoclastic, Taleb challenges long-held beliefs about the values of those who spearhead military interventions, make financial investments, and propagate religious faiths. Among his insights:

  • For social justice, focus on symmetry and risk sharing. You cannot make profits and transfer the risks to others, as bankers and large corporations do. You cannot get rich without owning your own risk and paying for your own losses. Forcing skin in the game corrects this asymmetry better than thousands of laws and regulations.
  • Ethical rules aren't universal. You're part of a group larger than you, but it's still smaller than humanity in general.
  • Minorities, not majorities, run the world. The world is not run by consensus but by stubborn minorities asymmetrically imposing their tastes and ethics on others.
  • You can be an intellectual yet still be an idiot. "Educated philistines" have been wrong on everything from Stalinism to Iraq to low carb diets.
  • Beware of complicated solutions (that someone was paid to find). A simple barbell can build muscle better than expensive new machines.
  • True religion is commitment, not just faith. How much you believe in something is manifested only by what you’re willing to risk for it.

The phrase "skin in the game" is one we have often heard but have rarely stopped to truly dissect. It is the backbone of risk management, but it's also an astonishingly rich worldview that, as Taleb shows in this book, applies to all aspects of our lives. As Taleb says, "The symmetry of skin in the game is a simple rule that's necessary for fairness and justice and the ultimate BS-buster," and "Never trust anyone who doesn't have skin in the game. Without it, fools and crooks will benefit, and their mistakes will never come back to haunt them."

©2018 Nassim Nicholas Taleb (P)2018 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Skin in the Game

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wow

this book was recommended to me and I was not disappointed . well thought out and discussed . a real thought provoking book

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Bloated

I guess you have to make a book but the length was padded with a lot of insults to his peers.

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2 people found this helpful

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important book

lessons for life, dense, worth every word, not what you want to hear yet what you should hear

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1 person found this helpful

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A great independent thinker!

Nassim's books are always a breath of fresh perspective! Well written, interesting, always a tad controversial and adversarial!

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1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A long rant

Some interesting perspectives and new ideas. Uses a lot of pretentious academic words to insult and belittle others ideas and points of views. Overall a long rant. The first few pages are the most interesting.

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    5 out of 5 stars

With great power...

We all sure have heard, "With great power comes great responsibility." It was made famous by Uncle Ben to the last couple generations. It resonates with this book for me.
I write this in the time of the film, Sound Of Freedom. (Its subject matter is the trafficking of children for the sex trade.) Some say controversial, and many say it is the time for its message. To address the "some," I often hear the bashing of the movie from those who have no, "Skin in the game" they don't have children not want them. So, as a parent, I do have skin in the game. I am also one whose children were almost harmed by a leader in the community that was captured and being a king ping in that despicable world. I have been biased now being a part of that for any movie that exposes it.
This book made it title so real to me after experiencing what I did, and now I am hyper aware of the heinous industry.
Manu will have their own experience that will allow them to understand whatever they will need to relate to this book.
What I will say is having read it, listening really, I can say it brings clarity on why it is important to gain it and be a part of owning you choices in life. It gains you authority in the subject matter. You can read or do. In doing so, you understand knowledge leads to wisdom and even discernment. Take action and apply this book for the real effect of what it means to have, Skin in the game.
(My hope is you never experience what I shared. It made sense to me to share in this review because of the time we are in and the impact of it subject matter.)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Decent but scattershot

There are a lot of decent points but the guy seems to have no editor. He is still talking about what he's going to talk about in the book almost halfway through the book. I thought for a second I bought an ad for the book by accident instead of the actual book.

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4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Harshly read

The narration is harsh, the concept quickly understood, and well illustrated. Perhaps a bit too ruthless

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    3 out of 5 stars

strated strong but then seemed to ramble

It first struck me as a wonderful book that will provide many insights. After a quarter way into the book, you notice how much he goes off topic. Almost as if he knows that most people don't finish books they start.

He tried to offend as many people as possible. Possibly to get people talking about the book itself.

A lot of times, he will simply just state a point without having ant evidence to support the argument. I would love to read/listen to an academic review of this book along with fact checking. Although the author makes it very clear, his disdain for academics (with no skin in the game).

Overall, wouldn't recommend. It's an old man's ramblings.

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    4 out of 5 stars

An interesting rant

While presenting some ideas convincingly, this essay sounds like a long rant or stream-of-consciousness writing that, infuriatingly, lacks rigour in both its central claims, as well as around the edges.

If, according to the author, the only thing we can learn from, say, professors, is how to be one - does it not also follow that we've only learned how to write like the author? Broad claims are easy targets; I've only picked one at random.

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12 people found this helpful