Book Review: Skin In The Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Book Name: Skin In The Game

Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Publisher: Allen Lane

Rating: 4.3/5

Book Blurb: “Skin in the game is the ultimate BS filter and the engine of evolution. Do not pay attention to what people say, only to what they do and how much of their neck they are putting on the line.”
Citizens, artisans, police, fishermen, political activists and entrepreneurs all have skin in the game. Policy wonks, corporate executives, many academics, bankers and most journalists don’t. It’s all about having something to lose and sharing risks with others. in his most provocative and practical book yet, Nassim Nicholas Taleb shows that skin in the game, often seen as the foundation of risk management, in fact applies to all aspects of our lives.
In his inimitable style, Taleb draws on everything from Antaeus the Giant to Hammurabi to Donald Trump, from ethics to used car salesmen, to create a jaw-dropping framework for understanding this idea. Among his insights:
For social justice, focus on symmetry and risk sharing.
Minorities, not majorities, run the world.
You can be an intellectual yet still be an idiot.
Beware of complicated solutions (that someone was paid to find).
Just as the Black Swan did during the 2007 financial crisis, Skin in the Game comes at precisely the right moment to challenge our long-held beliefs about risk, reward, politics, religion and business – and make us rethink everything we thought we knew.

Review: Skin In The Game is about hidden symmetry in human affairs, uncertainty and reliability of knowledge and comes coated with a lot of practical wisdom and philosophy. It’s unique and fun filled with some wry wit and occasional humour.

The world is divided on Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Half the world hates him while the other half loves him but you cannot ever ignore him. Skin In The Game has a little going for every kind of reader, whether you are an entrepreneur, student or into social media or perhaps even a pacifist.

Nassim has a habit of hammering the facts into his readers:

“The company man is best defined as someone whose identity is impregnated with the stamp his firm wants to give him. He dresses the part, even uses the language his firm wants to give him. He dresses the part, even uses the language the company expects. His social life is so invested in the company that leaving it inflicts a huge penalty.”

The above sentence sort of sums up the life of an average, contemporary, corporate employee. Does it not? How often have you not been in such a situation? It has happened to me more than once. the minute I left a particular company, I was excluded from invitations of countless birthday parties, marriages, weekend getaways which were on an average a week when I was with my company. The last company I left made it a point to remove me from all whatsapp groups as soon as a stepped out of the door! So there you have it!

Since the book is subjective, you may or may not agree with all of what is in these pages but its worth reading, the arguments may seem a tad bit too argumentative but hey, that’s why he sells and this is what us readers like!

 

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