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More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
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DiogoFC Offline
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More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
A recent podcast with him. Many insights. http://abre.ai/sIZ

My highlights:

"But today, when, you know, the gentleman who was head of the CIA was a big military person, when he was busted--was his name Petraeus?--I thought--I mean, I looked at his Wikipedia page and there were all these decorations. Hundreds of decorations. I saw that the fellow jumped from helicopters at night, climbed walls. Threw grenades through small windows. Turned out, the fellow had never been in battle. He had never been in battle. So here we have a generation of people who have never had to take risks for the sake of others. And society cannot function when you have an imbalance between, like in the first column is people who make others take risks for them. And then you have in the right column people who take risks for the sake of others. It can't function that way. It cannot."

"Ralph Nader had a heuristic for war. He said that if you are going to vote for war, you should have a member of your family--a descendent, a son or grandson--on the draft. And then you can vote for war."

"When you go to a doctor, if the doctor amputates someone and he takes the wrong leg, you don't take the doctor and amputate his leg in return. But there is a penalty, you see. So, we're not worried about places in which this equilibrium has been discovered heuristically, bottom up. I am worried about modernity. I am worried about bureaucrats causing hyperinflation, affecting savers and citizens but not harming them at all. I'm worried about that kind of stuff. We're not worried about contracts between individuals that can find equilibrium in some way or another."

"systems, when they are localized, tend to enforce skin in the game very naturally. You look at, systems when they are small, you can identify cause and effect very easily, and then you can force the cook to eat his own cooking. And you see it in small communities. Like the army, for example. In almost every country I looked at, people who repair helicopters are sort of forced to take rides on them. And in almost everyone folding for parachute jumping, has that sort of skin in the game involved, where if you fold someone's parachute you may be asked to jump in it, jump using it. So you have this, so there's a natural tendency by systems, when they are small, to produce a skin-in-the-game rule and function that way. But it looks like when things get large there is a size effect. Large is ugly. And large doesn't have skin in the game. And large doesn't have these warped incentives. And large, of course, likes regulation rather than the simple heuristics. As a libertarian I like the last resource. It doesn't mean no government at all, which would be minimum, but whatever is less; not the first."
09-25-2013 02:48 PM
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MHaes Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
I'm not quite sure I agree with his analysis of Petraeus's combat record.

Petraeus has a Combat Action Badge, which is the CIB but for general-grade officers (O-6 and above), and also has a Bronze Star with V. Both of these are exclusively combat awards.

In addition to these, Petraeus went through Airborne School (not particularly challenging, but definitely makes you a more elite soldier), Air Assault School (very grueling), and Ranger School (if you don't even know what this is, then you aren't really qualified to be talking about whether or not Petreaus was qualified enough to be a leader).

I think Taleb is a great thinker who posits some interesting ideas, but he's off in regards to Petraeus.

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09-25-2013 03:55 PM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
I've become a Taleb fan this year. I will review his book on antifragility shortly. It changed the way I viewed a lot of things.

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09-29-2013 06:45 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
I like Nicholas Taleb.

But I often feel the basic idea of each of his books can be summed up in a page or two. As such I have yet to start reading 'Anti-Fragilitiy' yet. From the book reviews I feel like I have read the book already. As was the case with the previous books - where each page felt like the same idea being repackaged with slightly different examples.

Anyway - I have always had a soft spot for Taleb since I discovered 'Fooled By Randomness' soon after it came out. So it has been fun watching his writing career take off. Still - I don't think his work will surivive the test of time. He strikes me as one of those authors who is very popular (and fashionable) for a decade or so before slowly fading away. A bit like Francis Fukuyama in the 1990's.
09-29-2013 11:44 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
Nicholas Taleb? Sorry that should be Nassim Taleb.
09-30-2013 12:56 AM
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Thomas the Rhymer Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
(09-29-2013 11:44 PM)cardguy Wrote:  I like Nicholas Taleb.

But I often feel the basic idea of each of his books can be summed up in a page or two. As such I have yet to start reading 'Anti-Fragilitiy' yet. From the book reviews I feel like I have read the book already. As was the case with the previous books - where each page felt like the same idea being repackaged with slightly different examples.

Anyway - I have always had a soft spot for Taleb since I discovered 'Fooled By Randomness' soon after it came out. So it has been fun watching his writing career take off. Still - I don't think his work will surivive the test of time. He strikes me as one of those authors who is very popular (and fashionable) for a decade or so before slowly fading away.

I personally found his concepts of barbelling and his explanations of noise-to-signal to be life-changing and paradigm shifting for me.

I disagree with your assessment of his work. I believe he will be known as one of the greatest philosophers of the twenty-first century.

He simplifies incredibly complex issues and makes them easy to understand with vivid examples. I appreciate the fact that he repeats his ideas over and over from different angles, because as someone who doesn't have the mathematical know-how to read his papers, this will be the only way I can truly gain insight into what he is talking about.

I think people make the mistake of judging Taleb's output based solely on his popular books - time will not judge him on these books. Time will judge him on his mathematical papers and the textbooks he is continuing to write.

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09-30-2013 01:17 AM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
I do like Taleb. But I am easily pleased. I can read a bad book - and still be happy if I take away one new idea.

Anyway - here is a critical review of his latest work which gives a good overview of what alot of people feel about his work:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/no...leb-review

I just sense that Taleb's reputation is built on a shaky foundation. And as with Francis Fukayama, Thomas Friedman and, to go back to the sixties, Colin Wilson - what was once a fashionable writer will be forgotten about as the next 'superstar' comes along.

I am going on my gut instinct here. But I am convinced that the overblown writing style of Taleb along with his repackaging of old ideas - and the repeated reworkings of his more novel insights will not age well.

And to finish. I think Taleb writing a book of aphorisms was a bad move. Particularly when they are as pretentious and shallow as the ones he wrote.

And I say all of this from the point of view of somebody who enjoys his work. And besides - whether or not an author's work will survive the test of time is not important to me in enjoying a book. And recommending it to others.
(This post was last modified: 09-30-2013 02:01 AM by cardguy.)
09-30-2013 01:59 AM
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poutsara Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
I read "Fooled by Randomness" and "Black Swan" around the time each came out. They did reinforce some things I already suspected but had not been able to articulate to myself. For example, the general idea that we are fooled into framing events into logical chains of events/stories rather than seeing events, and outcomes, as influenced heavily by randomness in many cases. And also, the idea that as humans we fundamentally underestimate the risks involved in certain kinds of events (rare ones) and their potential magnitude when they happen, and that this is not accounted for in our calculations both intuitively and when we build models (in finance, for example).

I've watched interviews he's done and he's very confident which turns some people off. If you get into the ideas he presents however, they are far from arrogant and in fact, if anything, suggest that nobody really knows whats going on.

Who knows if his works will end up as classics. He builds on many that certainly will (like Mandelbrot) be at least remembered for a long time.
09-30-2013 02:32 AM
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Bill Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
Though I am no fan of him his site seems to be one of the less annoying. Taleb´s facebook site with 38k likes:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nassim-Ni...3012333374
09-30-2013 03:36 PM
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renotime Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
(09-25-2013 03:55 PM)MHaes Wrote:  I'm not quite sure I agree with his analysis of Petraeus's combat record.

Petraeus has a Combat Action Badge, which is the CIB but for general-grade officers (O-6 and above), and also has a Bronze Star with V. Both of these are exclusively combat awards.

In addition to these, Petraeus went through Airborne School (not particularly challenging, but definitely makes you a more elite soldier), Air Assault School (very grueling), and Ranger School (if you don't even know what this is, then you aren't really qualified to be talking about whether or not Petreaus was qualified enough to be a leader).

I think Taleb is a great thinker who posits some interesting ideas, but he's off in regards to Petraeus.

http://www.businessinsider.com/patraeus-...le-2012-11

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09-30-2013 06:08 PM
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MHaes Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
(09-30-2013 06:08 PM)renotime Wrote:  
(09-25-2013 03:55 PM)MHaes Wrote:  I'm not quite sure I agree with his analysis of Petraeus's combat record.

Petraeus has a Combat Action Badge, which is the CIB but for general-grade officers (O-6 and above), and also has a Bronze Star with V. Both of these are exclusively combat awards.

In addition to these, Petraeus went through Airborne School (not particularly challenging, but definitely makes you a more elite soldier), Air Assault School (very grueling), and Ranger School (if you don't even know what this is, then you aren't really qualified to be talking about whether or not Petreaus was qualified enough to be a leader).

I think Taleb is a great thinker who posits some interesting ideas, but he's off in regards to Petraeus.

http://www.businessinsider.com/patraeus-...le-2012-11

Wow, interesting. I thought that the military had by and large done away with bestowing awards on officers just 'cuz.

I see that article was published about a year ago - did they ever follow up on it? If they did, I would love to see it. If not, maybe that in and of itself is an answer to some of the claims they made in that article.

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09-30-2013 06:30 PM
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renotime Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
(09-30-2013 06:30 PM)MHaes Wrote:  
(09-30-2013 06:08 PM)renotime Wrote:  
(09-25-2013 03:55 PM)MHaes Wrote:  I'm not quite sure I agree with his analysis of Petraeus's combat record.

Petraeus has a Combat Action Badge, which is the CIB but for general-grade officers (O-6 and above), and also has a Bronze Star with V. Both of these are exclusively combat awards.

In addition to these, Petraeus went through Airborne School (not particularly challenging, but definitely makes you a more elite soldier), Air Assault School (very grueling), and Ranger School (if you don't even know what this is, then you aren't really qualified to be talking about whether or not Petreaus was qualified enough to be a leader).

I think Taleb is a great thinker who posits some interesting ideas, but he's off in regards to Petraeus.

http://www.businessinsider.com/patraeus-...le-2012-11

Wow, interesting. I thought that the military had by and large done away with bestowing awards on officers just 'cuz.

I see that article was published about a year ago - did they ever follow up on it? If they did, I would love to see it. If not, maybe that in and of itself is an answer to some of the claims they made in that article.

It makes sense.

He's only deployed to war zones since 2003, and he's been a high ranking officer that whole time.

And they gave Pat Tillman a medal for getting killed by his own guys, so I'd venture to bet that the military still gives medals for bullshit here and there.

You want to know the only thing you can assume about a broken down old man? It's that he's a survivor.
09-30-2013 07:06 PM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
(09-25-2013 03:55 PM)MHaes Wrote:  I'm not quite sure I agree with his analysis of Petraeus's combat record.

Petraeus has a Combat Action Badge, which is the CIB but for general-grade officers (O-6 and above), and also has a Bronze Star with V. Both of these are exclusively combat awards.

In addition to these, Petraeus went through Airborne School (not particularly challenging, but definitely makes you a more elite soldier), Air Assault School (very grueling), and Ranger School (if you don't even know what this is, then you aren't really qualified to be talking about whether or not Petreaus was qualified enough to be a leader).

I think Taleb is a great thinker who posits some interesting ideas, but he's off in regards to Petraeus.

(09-30-2013 07:06 PM)renotime Wrote:  
(09-30-2013 06:30 PM)MHaes Wrote:  
(09-30-2013 06:08 PM)renotime Wrote:  
(09-25-2013 03:55 PM)MHaes Wrote:  I'm not quite sure I agree with his analysis of Petraeus's combat record.

Petraeus has a Combat Action Badge, which is the CIB but for general-grade officers (O-6 and above), and also has a Bronze Star with V. Both of these are exclusively combat awards.

In addition to these, Petraeus went through Airborne School (not particularly challenging, but definitely makes you a more elite soldier), Air Assault School (very grueling), and Ranger School (if you don't even know what this is, then you aren't really qualified to be talking about whether or not Petreaus was qualified enough to be a leader).

I think Taleb is a great thinker who posits some interesting ideas, but he's off in regards to Petraeus.

http://www.businessinsider.com/patraeus-...le-2012-11

Wow, interesting. I thought that the military had by and large done away with bestowing awards on officers just 'cuz.

I see that article was published about a year ago - did they ever follow up on it? If they did, I would love to see it. If not, maybe that in and of itself is an answer to some of the claims they made in that article.

It makes sense.

He's only deployed to war zones since 2003, and he's been a high ranking officer that whole time.

And they gave Pat Tillman a medal for getting killed by his own guys, so I'd venture to bet that the military still gives medals for bullshit here and there.

Air assault grueling? C'mon.

I've seen bronze stars for more ridiculous, and CABs as well. I once saw an entire FOB apply for CABs when they received indirect. Somehow some paperwork was slipped into the pile for the fire truck at a certain compound on the interior to get the award too. I was at the ceremony. It was fucking beautiful.


That being said, Petraeus is a graduate of Ranger school, but is more noted for his expert repackaging of David Galula's work during the writing of his counter-insurgency doctrine. While his mettle in combat has never been tested he did happen to be in command when Iraq began to look less fucked up. While the effectiveness of Petraeus's "Surge" is largely undisputed amongst the mainstream observers I tend to agree with Col. Gian Gentile that ethnic cleansing had more to do with the reduction of violence in Iraq to the sub-civil war levels we see now. That and a shit-ton of network dismantlement done by SOCCOM.

Lots of issues get to be avoided in the discussion of Petraeus's legacy because he got caught banging 40 something man-jaw Paula Broadwell. I think the thing about the man I'm most impressed with is how he snagged the Superintendent's daughter while a cadet at West Point. That's actually way more impressive than Ranger school.

My favorite line I've ever read about Petraeus is the line by Col. Douglas MacGregor and is also quoted in the article above. Petraeus is "a remarkable piece of fiction". The real shame is that this dude has received so much acclaim, while some real badassess I've had the pleasure to meet shun the spotlight.
09-30-2013 07:57 PM
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Thomas the Rhymer Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
The man's latest facebook post:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Wrote:The alpha person at a gathering of "high status" persons is often, detectably, the waiter.
---
(Also note that the acting boss in the Obama household is Mrs Obama).

Ohshit

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04-06-2014 01:22 AM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
Some great heuristics from Taleb. Just posted on his Twitter account.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8nhAlf...w?sle=true
05-18-2014 10:53 AM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
BIG fact about Petraeus not considered by Taleb: He was shot in the chest in 1991 in a range accident when a soldier tripped with his rifle and popped off a round. He had chest surgery; the round punctured a lung.

He spent a lot of time in Iraq, of course he was well protected, but indirect fire, roadside bombs and potential suicide bombers at places he visited were a constant threat that could not be eliminated. He led the 101st Airborne Division on the way up to Mosul and for months afterwards.

I met Petraeus; he seemed OK.
05-18-2014 11:59 PM
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Basil Ransom Offline
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
If a man is arguing and he is not willing to bet money on his position, he needs to shut the fuck up. I can't say that in strong enough terms. Most public policy nowadays would get binned very quickly if politicians had to bet their personal fortunes on it - because Panglossian pandering is all very nice in theory, but no one will actually voluntarily pay up when it fails. Thus you see liberal lesbians talking up equality in public and practicing hardcore eugenics in private, at the local sperm bank.

That's why if I'm ever honestly arguing about something which can be settled definitively, I will bet money on it. Either way I win - I get money or I get corrected. If the other person refuses to bet money, then they're either a fool or a coward. Either case is grounds for them to shut the fuck up. And if I am unwilling to bet money, then I too need to quit yapping. Of course, it's rare that people will agree to bet - oddly enough, girls are usually more willing than guys. Guys will almost always say "I don't want to bet money on it..."
(This post was last modified: 05-19-2014 09:04 PM by Basil Ransom.)
05-19-2014 09:03 PM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
(05-19-2014 09:03 PM)Basil Ransom Wrote:  oddly enough, girls are usually more willing than guys. Guys will almost always say "I don't want to bet money on it..."

Interesting...
05-19-2014 10:31 PM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
(05-19-2014 10:31 PM)cooledcannon Wrote:  
(05-19-2014 09:03 PM)Basil Ransom Wrote:  oddly enough, girls are usually more willing than guys. Guys will almost always say "I don't want to bet money on it..."

Interesting...

It's fun betting with daddy's money Smile

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That's why you see real life alphas without chicks. He's doing him.

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05-19-2014 10:49 PM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
The thing with betting with girls is you MUST get their money in your hands or in those of a neutral party before you settle the bet - if she loses and the money is still in her purse, you ain't getting it.
05-20-2014 01:48 AM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
Excerpts adapted from new book he's working on (Skin in the Game): How To Legally Own Another Person: The Domestication of Employees

Quote:People you find in employment love the regularity of the payroll, with the special envelop on their desk the last day of the month, and without which they would act as a baby deprived of mother’s milk. Then you realize that had Bob been an employee rather than what appeared to be cheaper, that contractor thing, then you wouldn’t be having so much trouble.

But employees are expensive… You got to pay them even when you’ve got nothing to do for them. You lose your flexibility. Talent for talent, they cost a lot more. Lovers of paychecks are lazy … but they would never let you down at times like these.

So employees exist because they have significant skin in the game –and the risk is shared with them, enough risk for it to be a deterrent and a penalty for acts of undependability, such as failing to show up on time. You are buying dependability.

Quote:Evidence of submission is displayed by having gone through years of the ritual of depriving himself of his personal freedom for nine hours every day, punctual arrival at an office, denying himself his own schedule, and not having beaten up anyone.

Quote:Coase was the first to shed lights on why firms exist. For him contracts can be too costly to negotiate, they entail some amount of transaction costs, so you incorporate your business and hire employees with clear job description because you don’t feel like running legal and organizational bills every transaction. A free market is a place where forces act to determine specialization and information travels via price point; but within a firm these market forces are lifted because they cost more to run than the benefits they bring. So the firm will be at the optimal ratio of employees and outside contractors, where having a certain number of employees, even when directly inefficient, is better than having to spend much resources negotiating contracts.

As we can see, Coase stopped one or two inches short of the notion of skin in the game. He never thought in risk terms to realize that an employee is a risk management strategy.

He also gives two examples of non-slave employees: salespeople who have personal relationships directly with the firm's customers; and traders who are profit centers. He discusses the risks associated with being an elected head of state and contrasts heads of Western governments with Putin.

It's many of the same themes of fragility that Taleb has discussed before but I still enjoyed reading the whole thing.
04-07-2016 09:06 PM
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RE: More red-pill-Taleb: Skin in the game
http://fooledbyrandomness.com/SITG.html

More pre-pub chapters of his new book.

Taleb is a super cool dude; the first time I read Antifragile it made my head spin as it rewired my thought processes.
04-10-2016 12:16 PM
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