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EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomes back popular guest Nassim Nicholas Taleb in this episode to chat about the manuscript of his forthcoming book, Skin in the Game. In their wide-ranging conversation, the discuss the value of employees versus slaves, the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to work, and the power of minorities. Even though Taleb counsels listeners to beware of “good advice,” trust us…take ours and have a listen!

1. Why does Taleb think we are more “slave-burdened” today than in the past? To what extent do you agree with him?
2. Taleb tells Russ he shouldn’t have an assistant. Does this contradict the principle of comparative advantage? What is Taleb’s reasoning? (And what can you suggest as means to maximize your own free time?)

3. What’s the difference between having “skin in the game” and “soul in the game?” Which is it more important to have, and why?

4. What does Taleb mean by the “minority effect,” and why is he so concerned about it? To what extent do he and Russ agree on its perverse effects? With whom did you find yourself in more agreement, and why?

5. What sort of “circuit breakers” does Taleb suggest to create more diversity within systems (including democratic ones)? How effective do you think these might be?