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Skin in the Game Paperback
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When I buy books I usually read one star reviews. Some of them are crap (my book arrived with six missing pages!), but some give you a pretty good idea of what you are going to find. There is one star review that gets close to 5000 words limit, followed by the long thread of comments exchange where the replies by the original author get, again, to the said limit. If someone gets that fired up by the book that he regurgitates thousands of words - it's well worth a few bucks and I simply must read it.
Anyway, as always with Taleb, I now have a new reading list based on his footnotes. Yes, he comes across as an angry man. Yes, he has irrational dislike of academics (as do I) and policy makers. Yes, some of his statements are contradictory and yes, sometimes he goes too far in his arguments. But this is exactly what makes books worthwhile the time spent reading them. Contradictions have to be sorted, but to do so you have to think about the subject and come to your own conclusions, and this involves effort, and this is what makes books stimulating.
I highly recommend this book.
His latest book, Skin in The Game, is more of a work of moral philosophy than one of probability and statistics. In my opinion, its most valuable aspect is that it provides a framework though which to judge the arguments, assertions, and most importantly the actions of others. That framework is skin in the game. To have skin in the game is to have a stake in the outcome of any given circumstance (upside and downside). This framework only ascribes value to the opinions of people who have skin in the game and makes judgements based on other people’s actions and not their words. In the end the determination of right and wrong is left up to the passage of time, with survival being the highest badge of success. This has applications not just in investing but also in politics, religion, medicine, and may other arenas.
My only gripe about the book is that there is no update on the life and times of Nero Tulip. One of Taleb’s most interesting characters and a mainstay in all of his other books.