“Skin in the game” by Nassim Taleb

Decentralization reduces large structural asymmetries.

What is the foundational logic of risk bearing?

Asymmetry in risk bearing leads to imbalances and, potentially, to systemic ruin.

Good fences make better neighbors.

Risks and cost for contingencies are to be incurred equally, with no concern for responsibility. Those who don’t share risk should never be involved in making decisions.

The most reliable advocate for a product is its user.

Markets aren’t sum of market participants, but price changes reflect the activities of the most motivated buyer and seller. Yes, the most motivated rules. Why a price can drop by ten percent because of a single seller. All you need is a stubborn seller.

Society doesn’t evolve by consensus, voting, majority, committees, verbose meetings, academic conferences, tea and cucumber sandwiches, or polling; only a few people suffice to disproportionately move the needle.

Groups are units on their own. At a certain scale, things become different. Understanding how the subparts of the brain (say, neurons) work will never allow us to understand how the brain works.

Individuals don’t need to know where they are going, markets do. Leave people alone under a good structure and they will take care of things.

Inequality, by definition, is zero-sum.

Skin in the game prevents systems from rotting. You will never fully convince someone that he is wrong; only reality can.

No downside for some means no upside for the rest.

The problem is never the problem; it is how people handle it.

We know what is wrong with more clarity than what is right. Subtraction, not addition, works better.

Most of what is called “irrational” comes from misunderstanding of probability.

Never pay for complexity of presentation when all you need is results. What value fluency has without the content?

What looks scientific is usually scientism, not science.

Real gyms don’t look like gyms.

There are natural and evolved preferences and then there are constructed preferences.

The facts are true, the news is fake.

To be or to be seen as such.

We need entrepreneurs. The risk takers.

Way too many cooks in the same tiny kitchen, most of whom never have to taste the food.

Who cannot find a coconut-on-coconut island?

What works cannot be irrational.


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