Author(s): Nassim Nicholas Taleb
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A bold new 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 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 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."
The hottest thinker in the world * The Times * The most prophetic voice of all * GQ * Imagine someone with the erudition of Pico de la Mirandola, the skepticism of Montaigne, solid mathematical training, a restless globetrotter, polyglot, enjoyer of fine wines, specialist of financial derivatives, irrepressible reader, and irascible to the point of readily slapping a disciple * La Tribune, Paris *
Nassim Nicholas Taleb spent two decades as a risk taker before becoming a full-time essayist and scholar focusing on practical, philosophical, and mathematical problems with chance, luck, and probability. He now spends most of his time in the intense seclusion of his study or as a flaneur meditating in cafes. In addition to his life as a trader, he spent several years as an academic researcher as Distinguished Professor at New York University's School of Engineering and Dean's Professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst.He is the author of the Incerto (Latin for uncertainty), accessible in any order (Antifragile, The Black Swan, The Bed of Procrustes and Fooled by Randomness) plus a freely available technical version, Silent Risk. Taleb has also published more than 50 academic and scholarly papers as a backup, technical footnotes to the Incerto in topics ranging from statistical physics to decision science. His books have been translated into thirty-seven languages.