Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
I must admit I may have gone about this backwards… Before reading the book, I read this excellent critique of it by Alex Lynch. It definitely helped me keep from getting sucked in to the passion with which Taleb writes.
This was the first Taleb book I’ve actually read, but I’m told that his stylistic approach is consistent throughout his writing – specifically, he writes with an impressive level of arrogance! Also a bit annoying: the book is littered with latin phrases that add no discernible value other than to scream “I know latin!”
That aside, I recommend this book for two reason. First, skin in the game is a concept with plenty of merit, and should be a requirement in more cases than we find today. Many people have managed to get vast upside potential while dumping downside risk on an unwitting public (i.e. bank bailouts) because our system is flawed. Second, there are plenty of interesting stories and anecdotes in the book. Many of them around the old-world, including the code of Hamurabi. And, if you take Taleb in context, his writing can be pretty entertaining.