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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2005
In another review about a book by the same author, I remarked that reading his books is like chewing sawdust. This basic fact has not changed. However, I now maintain that Bill Root has written the best books on learning the game in all its aspects.

This book is not about plain point ranges as another reader has already claimed; the book is logical, methodical, clear, but there is a catch: this is to be read like a text book; I have taken notes, underlined, and made crib sheets out of it. If you slow down enough your reading speed and do not read it casually like a novel, you will be amptly rewarded.

An example of the terseness of this book is that the headings in this book need to be read and fully understood before reading the respective sections; most of us tend to skip the headings, don't we?

Before I have used this terseness as a con in Root's books, but I have come to realise that this is the best possible format: no distractions, just pure essence.

I am tired of these books that are full of anectodes, pretend to ease you into the point they are trying to make, and then ... KABOOM, here is the point as dry as ever.

Root's books have the guts to be pure bridge, no filler, no gimmicks, JUST EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WITH NO HOLDING BACK OR TRYING TO SPREAD THE INFORMATION OVER SEVERAL BOOKS.

Root headed out to teach with no compromise, but following a standard of completeness and clarity.

It took me quite a time to realise his sense of integrity and charisma, but I did. I am sure that any absolute beginner will initially resist buying his books, but he or she will inexorably gravitate to them and appreciate their wealth of information.

It is this wealth that will make you go through them slowly; the other authors have spoiled you and have put the emphasis on easy reading.

A page by Root is worth easily 20 by the other authors.

5 stars!!!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2002
This book on bridge bidding is targeted at the advanced novice to intermediate player. It's full of straightfoward advice and examples to help you improve your game. The only knock I have against this book is that it's slightly outdated. Bridge experts' understanding has improved in the 20 years since the manuscript was developed. For example, weak 2 bids are almost univerally accepted as better than strong 2's now, but this book only mentions weak 2's in passing as an experimental technique. Overall it's still a very good book; it just needs to be read with a critical eye and an awareness of other sources.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 1998
This is the most thorough and readable book on standard bidding I've encountered. Not for complete beginners, but an excellent resource for anyone who knows the basics of bridge and is looking to become a lot better.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2000
Standard bidding was well explained. If you just want to learn/refresh yourself on standard bidding, that's great. But forget it if you want explanations, tradeoffs, etc., then this book falls short. I felt like a series of point ranges were presented to me, a series of hundreds of rules. But I got the sense that there was an underlying logic to the various bids that was just not being explained. A reverse used to be considered non-forcing but now is considered forcing. That's nice. But why? Don't call a book "commonsense" if you just lay out a series of rules and don't explain them.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2001
While not for complete beginners, I'd strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their bidding. This is -not- a book on bidding theory. Root provides a structured overview of how to open/respond/rebid/etc with hands of varying point count and distribution and includes many sample hands.
The book is extremely straightforward (and at times a little dry) but covers everything the novice/intermediate player needs to know. If you learn the material in this book thoroughly, you'll be better off than the vast majority of bridge players in the world.
My only criticism is that, to more advanced players, Root's style can come off as slightly pedantic. However I firmly believe that a player needs to know what the rules are before he can learn when to ignore/how to bend them. Knowing the material in this book is a crucial first step to become an effective, flexible, and successful bidder.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Another of Bill Root's comprehensive bridge primers, "Commonsense Bidding" is about as close to a bible of modern Standard American bidding as is available in the literature today. Root examines every aspect of bidding methods from a perspective that is in line, for the most part, with modern club players. There are some exceptions, especially in the emphasis of strong twos (weak twos being an afterthought) and neglect of the now virtually universal Jacoby transfer. However, for someone wanting to understand what comprises "standard" in the modern era, there is no better book. With appropriate adjustments, it is a great read for beginning to intermediate players.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2000
It has been about 20 years since I have played party bridge. Just to get into the swing of things, I purchased "Commonsense Bidding" by William S. Root. This was a tremendous refresher for me in terms of bidding, and approaches to common problems in bidding. Although this book does not cover Jacoby Transfers, (which, incidentally I do not use) the common thread is to allow you to achieve the most natural bid.
Stayman, the artificial club bid, is also detailed within this book. I had never used Stayman, but it seems to fit within my comfort zone, even though you can not show a true club bid. The only way is to bid one club, then three clubs, or bid three clubs right off the bat. Either way has its detriments, which I can live with because of all the good information that describes your hand. This book is truly geared to the better-than-novice-but-not-really-advanced player. If I could find a player that uses the concepts outlined in this book, I know that we would reach game, or slam, whenever we had the chance and certainly keep us out of trouble. I highly recommend this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2012
The kindle edition is badly done. It is almost unreadable with layout, graphic and typographical errors. While the printed book is valuable, the Kindle version should not be purchased
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2007
this book is fine, but not my favorite, and not one i regard as essential. the BIGGEST flaw in all of the root books is that there is no INDEX!!! this is so important for research (when comparing different books and systems) that i cannot believe they left it out, and it often means i don't find out what root's take on a given issue is!

his system is unusual, and quirky, and it's not quite my style. but, this is a personal issue i think, and it may be great for others.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2006
Actually, it would be 4 1/2 stars, because this is a really thorough guide to bridge bidding. It is not dated, because it only discusses the standard, which hasn't changed much. Of course, if you want to know about the conventions, you should get Modern Bridge Conventions by the same author. Both very thorough; if you read them (and undersatnd and remember them) both, there are little situations where you will not know what to do
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