Monthly Archives: April 2018

Lolita (first read)

I finally read this last December or so at the recommendation of a friend (who is much more widely read than I). I look forward to a second read at some point in the future. Below are my notes from the first read. They are extracted from a message to my friend, forgive the unpolished stream-of-consciousness. I hope to develop and refine these ideas more on the second read. I’m posting this for my own records, and anyone that it might resonate with. These notes will likely only make sense if you’ve read the book…

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Paul Graham, Wealth, and Skin in the Game

I was re-reading Paul Graham’s Wealth essay today when I realized that he’s talking about Nassim Taleb’s idea of “skin in the game”:

I think everyone who gets rich by their own efforts will be found to be in a situation with measurement and leverage. Everyone I can think of does: CEOs, movie stars, hedge fund managers, professional athletes. A good hint to the presence of leverage is the possibility of failure. Upside must be balanced by downside, so if there is big potential for gain there must also be a terrifying possibility of loss. CEOs, stars, fund managers, and athletes all live with the sword hanging over their heads; the moment they start to suck, they’re out. If you’re in a job that feels safe, you are not going to get rich, because if there is no danger there is almost certainly no leverage.