Brady F. Anderson

Skin in the Game

My Notes

Knowledge must have exposure to the real world and its consequences, good or bad.

Bureaucracy separates individuals from the consequences of their actions.

Decentralization works because it is more difficult to microbullshit than macrobullshit.

Reality, not words or logic, convince people that they are wrong.

The Silver Rule: “Do not treat others the way you would not like them to treat you.” This avoids the problematic issue of deciding what is good for others. Also, humans have much greater clarity on what they would like to avoid than what they want. E.g. Someone who is happy with “anything” for dinner until another person starts suggesting restaurants they don’t enjoy.

“You do not want to win an argument. You want to win.” (24)

Being rational is doing what works. It isn’t stupid if it works. If it doesn’t work for the long term, then it is not rational. As a rule, what is rational must then be that which avoids ruin, thus enabling survival.

Being ethical is always more robust than being legal. Laws change, ethics don’t. Being ethical allows you to do what works over the long term while laws don’t.

The Minority Rule: Small, stubborn, intolerant minorities can command collective behavior when the majority does not have skin in the game. Think of how we approach peanut allergies and kosher people, by making our eating spaces peanut free or complete kosher cooking.

Here’s some grandparent wisdom, the ideas that have been around in ancient lore and modern psychology.

A great BS detection heuristic: Is it still valuable without the label? E.g. If an MBA is only valuable if you go to a top MBA school, that tells you that MBAs are likely a BS discipline.

Sequence matters, not averages. The existence of devastation negates potential benefits. E.g. the stock market may return an average of 5% for 30 years, but if you would inevitably lose all your money one year, that potential benefit is moot.