Frankly, I am astonished by the recent popularity of television programs which feature competitive poker. They continue to be among the most highly rated in terms of the numbers of viewers they attract. It remains to be seen how long their popularity will continue. Within the past year or so, there have been several books published which suggest correlations between competitive gambling and the contemporary business world.
Previously, I have reviewed Eileen Shapiro and Howard Stevenson's Make Your Own Luck: 12 Practical Steps to Taking Smarter Risks in Business in which they offer a concept which they call "Predictive Intelligence" (PI): "the ability to act in the face of uncertainty to bring about desired results." It involves a process which begins with recognizing whether or not one is in a betting situation. If so, they recommend "The Gambler's Dozen," steps by which to increase one's PI and thereby improve the odds when "placing" business bets, career bets, and life bets. If all this seems hokey, blame me. It really isn't. Shapiro and Stevenson are quite serious when asserting that "every purposive action is a bet; one acts now on the expectation or hope, but not the certainty, of the results that will be achieved in the future." I agree. Given that premise, it is highly desirable to increase one's PI and, in their book, Shapiro and Stevenson explain how.
In Oops! I Won Too Much Money, Tom Schneider shares what he calls "winning wisdom." It consists of what he has learned during his life, business career, and then more recently during his current career as a professional poker player. Schneider carefully organizes his material by creating a context for each of 61 lessons or insights, all of which he hopes will be of interest and at least several of which will be of practical value to his reader. The tone of his narrative is appropriately informal, indeed conversational. He is a genial companion as you proceed through the material. I especially appreciate his sense of humor.
Presumably some of his readers will become more successful as competitive poker players. Thousands of people now gamble in casinos and many more gamble online. I defer to others to condemn the evils of gambling. I am an infrequent recreational gambler who has no intention of applying what I have learned about playing poker. That said, I was intrigued by various strategies and tactics which Schneider discusses and, indeed, several are directly relevant to business.
Entrepreneurs are by nature gamblers. That said, there are significant differences between risks which are calculated and those which are not. Presumably Schneider agrees with Shapiro and Howard Stevenson about the importance of developing what they characterize as "Predictive Intelligence." Experts on negotiation stress the importance of having a "drop dead point" beyond which one must not proceed. That is, knowing when to "hold `em" and when to "fold `em." Those with PI may not always be able to "make their own luck" but they can certainly improve the odds to their advantage. This is especially true of those involved with start-ups.
Consider these chilling statistics which Michael Gerber shares in E-Myth Mastery: "Of the 1 million U.S. small businesses started this year , more than 80% of them will be out of business within 5 years and 96% will have closed their doors before their 10th birthday." Of course, the reasons for failure probably vary from one start-up to the next but my guess (only a guess) is that decision-makers in many of them would have improved the odds for success had they absorbed and digested the "wisdom" which Schneider shares in his book. For example, the importance of thoroughly understanding the "rules" of the "game," measuring degrees of probability, establishing acceptable limits, "reading" competitors, and managing one's instincts. Concerning that last point, Malcolm Gladwell has much of value to say in Blink about the benefits of developing what is (for lack of a better term) enlightened intuition. That is, the ability to make informed hunches.
Who will derive the greatest benefit from this book? Previously I have suggested (at least by implication) that this book will be of interest and value to those who wish to improve their skills for competitive poker. Also, those involved with start-ups. And to varying degrees, other decision-makers who wish to sharpen their diagnostic skills when required to analyze an opportunity, solve a problem, resolve a conflict, etc.
If nothing else, those who read Schneider's book will be entertained.
on January 27, 2006
Having known the author for over 20 years and worked with him for a couple of years 20 years ago I was pleasantly surprised when Tom told me he was finishing writing this book. His wit and ability to recount his experiences in a relevant and enteraining manner makes this book a great read. The humor relayed in print is equal to sitting down with Tom and discussing life's absurdities in relation to business and poker. Having received the book one afternoon I began reading it late that night and finished it in a few hours. Pausing frequently to laugh out loud and say Amen to the Winning Wisdom summarized at the end of each short chapter. Read, laugh, think about and enjoy the wisdom and wit of its author.
on January 20, 2006
Poker is a growing phenomenon that doesn't seem to be losing its popularity any time soon. Tom Schneider, former business executive and current professional poker player, mixes the two professions in Oops! I Won Too Much Money: Winning Wisdom from the Boardroom to the Poker Table.
Schneider takes true stories and neatly weaves poker and business comparisons together. The result is life lessons. It's not that there is anything new in Schneider's observations. Many of them are things we already know but probably haven't considered before. And the way he views life (through the eyes of a business man and poker player) puts a unique twist on his observations.
There are thought-provoking takes on personalizing the "deal," asking the question why? when something is different, picking a strategy and staying the course and following through with commitments. Schneider's thoughts on making decisions when going through a divorce and risk taking are extremely interesting and make a great deal of sense.
Armchair Interviews says: If you want a different view of life, business and how poker relates to real life, you just might find Schneider's book a good read.
on July 6, 2006
A Certified Public Accountant and former President and Chief Financial Officer for three Arizona-based companies, Tom Schneider found that his background and experience in business and management were readily adaptable to playing and winning at poker. Becoming successful in going up against some of the most accomplished players in some of the biggest poker games around, Tom became and professional poker player (and the host of Texas' first televised poker tournament) for the last four years and has finished "in the money" four times at the World Series of Poker. Now he brings together in the pages of Oops! I Won Too Much Money: Winning Wisdoms From The Boardroom To The Poker Table (also available in a paperback edition, 1933285389, $16.95) all the hard earned wisdom he's learned in business, in poker, and in life to provide aspiring poker players with wit, humor, and "life lessons learned" that will enable poker players to become better at playing the game and living their lives .
on April 18, 2007
I don't think this book offers anything new for neither the top professional poker player nor the CEOs of the Fortune 500. However, anyone else in between will surely come away with at least a few common sense gems of wisdom which can be applied in our everyday lives. The stories about the colourful poker characters and crabby old office ladies are somewhat interesting. It is when the author explains how to understand and benefit from their motives is where the value of this fine read shows through. Apparently the author has a lot more sage advice than he does hair. I plan on re-reading this at least once a year.