Andrei Luca

2 months ago · ·

Skin in the Game: The Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan, a bold new work 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.”

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2 months ago · ·

Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life: A Kick-Butt Approach to a Better Life

Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get a Life

This is not your typical self-help book. You won’t find any motivational platitudes or cute business parables here. This is more of a “get off your butt and get to work” approach that can help you achieve more success, make more money, improve your business, and have more fun.

Larry Winget doesn’t pull any punches here. He believes that business gets better when businesspeople get better through personal growth. And it works the same way in your personal life-husbands and wives improve each other when they improve themselves, and kids improve when their parents do. In other words, everything in life gets better when you get better, and nothing gets better until you get better.

This book can make you better, but it will probably tick you off. Winget is direct, caustic, and controversial. You won’t like or agree with everything he has to say. Yet his advice is full of wisdom and truth that can’t easily be argued with.

Words from Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get a Life that prove that this book is anything but typical:

“If you don’t have much going wrong in your life, then you don’t have much going on in your life.”

“When you work, work! When you play, play! Don’t mix the two.”

“What you think about, talk about, and do something about is what comes about.”

“When it quits being fun-quit.”

“Time management is a joke.”

And that’s just the beginning!

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2 months ago · ·

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of startups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all startups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable symbols in the world today.

But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, in a memoir that is candid, humble, gutsy, and wry, he tells his story, beginning with his crossroads moment. At 24, after backpacking around the world, he decided to take the unconventional path, to start his own business—a business that would be dynamic, different.

Knight details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream—along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls the formative relationships with his first partners and employees, a ragtag group of misfits and seekers who became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything.

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2 months ago · ·

Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin To Munger

Peter Bevelin begins his fascinating book with Confucius’ great wisdom: “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” Seeking Wisdom is the result of Bevelin’s learning about attaining wisdom. His quest for wisdom originated partly from making mistakes himself and observing those of others but also from the philosophy of super-investor and Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charles Munger. A man whose simplicity and clarity of thought was unequal to anything Bevelin had seen.

In addition to naturalist Charles Darwin and Munger, Bevelin cites an encyclopedic range of thinkers: from first-century BCE Roman poet Publius Terentius to Mark Twainfrom Albert Einstein to Richard Feynmanfrom 16th Century French essayist Michel de Montaigne to Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett. In the book, he describes ideas and research findings from many different fields.

This book is for those who love the constant search for knowledge. It is in the spirit of Charles Munger, who says, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.” There are roads that lead to unhappiness. An understanding of how and why we can “die” should help us avoid them. We can’t eliminate mistakes, but we can prevent those that can really hurt us.

Using exemplars of clear thinking and attained wisdom, Bevelin focuses on how our thoughts are influenced, why we make misjudgments and tools to improve our thinking. Bevelin tackles such eternal questions as: Why do we behave like we do? What do we want out of life? What interferes with our goals?

Read and study this wonderful multidisciplinary exploration of wisdom. It may change the way you think and act in business and in life.

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2 months ago · ·

Robin

From New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff, the definitive biography of Robin Williams – a compelling portrait of one of America’s most beloved and misunderstood entertainers.

From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed.

But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent.

Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.

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2 months ago · ·

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years.

Yet Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specialization—which started more than 100,000 years ago—has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair.

This bold book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.

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2 months ago · ·

Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimised practices for waking, working, learning, eating, training, playing, sleeping and sex

Revolutionise your life one day at a time with this empowering handbook designed for men and women which provides simple strategies for each element of your day. Aubrey Marcus, author of the book is CEO of Onnit, a human performance company that he has built into one of the fastest growing companies in the world.

How can we get the most out of our body and mind on a daily basis? Want to change your life for the better?

Aubrey Marcus answers these questions in this handbook that guides the reader to optimise each moment of the day. With small, actionable changes implemented throughout the course of one day we can feel better, perform more efficiently and live happier. And these habits turn into weekly routines, ultimately becoming part of a lifelong healthy choice.

From workouts and diet to inbox triage, mindfulness, shower temperature and sex this groundbreaking manual provides strategies for each element of your day. Drawing on the latest studies and traditional practices from around the world, this book delivers cutting-edge life hacks, nutritional expertise, brain upgrades and fitness regimes.

Own the Day presents a path to change. It guides readers through a single 24-hour day of positive choices and optimal living that will form the groundwork for all their days to come. From foundational elements like workouts, diet, and mindfulness, to more routine opportunities to optimize your choices, such as shower temperature and inbox triage, readers will learn to make the most of every moment.

Ultimately, Marcus creates a choose-your-own-adventure guide to living that brings the reader’s mind, body, and spirit to life. It is a promise delivered on the back of real, concrete strategies for better living. And the all-encompassing results are what make this book’s simplistic approach so successful. By focusing on optimal decision making for just one day —by making several small, key changes in your daily approach—you end up addressing your health at every level. And owning your day.

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