"After all, the engineers only needed to refuse to fix anything, and modern industry would grind to a halt." -Michael Lewis

Enable Massive Growth

Skin In The Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Summary In Quotes

Oct 2018

The topic of this summary in quotes is Skin In the Game. The book's central argument is that people who don't participate in both the downside and upside of something don't know what they are talking about. Simply put, if you haven't been chastised for failure in the real world and promoted for excellence in that same real world, then you will fail to actually know how the real world works.

"What is crucial here is that the downside doesn't affect the interventionist. He continues his practice from the comfort of his thermally regulated Suburban House with the two car garage, a dog, and a small play area with pesticide-free grass for his overprotected 2.2 children."
"It is easier to know when something is wrong than to find the fix. Actions that remove are more robust than those that add, because addition may have unforeseen complicated feedback loops."
"Skin in the game keeps human hubris in check"
"You do not want to win an argument--you want to win"
"Forecasting in words bears no relation to speculating in deeds"
"If something stupid works and makes money, it cannot be stupid."
"Freedom is always associated with risk taking, whether it leads to it or comes from it."
"What matters isn't what a person has or doesn't have, it is what he or she is afraid of losing."
"There's something respectable in losing a billion dollars--provided it is your own money."
"Too high a rate of mutation prevents locking in the benefits from previous changes. Evolution and progress require some but not too frequent variation."
"It is not easy to sell without some strong narrative. But for a real business, as opposed to a fundraising scheme, something that should survive on its own, business plans and funding work backward."
"...the error continues because someone else is paying the price."
"The main theological flaw in Pascal's wager is that belief cannot be a free option. It entails a symmetry between what you pay and what you receive."
"To make money, you must first survive." -Warren Buffet
"Never cross a river if it is on average four feet deep."

Nick Fisher is a software engineer in the Pacific Northwest. He focuses on building highly scalable and maintainable backend systems.