- File Size: 1423 KB
- Print Length: 368 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press (June 23, 2020)
- Publication Date: June 23, 2020
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B082ZQYGSL
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,155 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$28.00|
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The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win Kindle Edition
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“There has never been a more pressing need for digestible and coherent literature on rational decision-making. Enter The Biggest Bluff, psychologist Maria Konnikova’s depiction of her journey into professional poker. What at first seems a light-hearted story about a curious academic dipping her toe into shark-infested waters delivers a crucial lesson in how to thrive in an increasingly misleading world. . . . As someone who has read almost every piece of literature on poker, I can say that The Biggest Bluff is the best depiction yet of the game I love, and the invaluable thinking skills it teaches. . . . Konnikova’s is an uplifting zero-to-hero journey that will raise a smile in these trying times.” —Nature
“The Biggest Bluff is a great read if you play poker. But it's also a great read for those, like me, who don't play poker. For us, the game provides the backdrop for a fascinating look at human nature, at attention and focus, at game theory (applied much more broadly than just to games), and at making better decisions. And how to better deal with the outcomes of those decisions -- and not just learn, but keep moving forward. . . . [A] must-read for most entrepreneurs.” —Inc.
“The tale of how Konnikova followed a story about poker players and wound up becoming a story herself will have you riveted, first as you learn about her big winnings, and then as she conveys the lessons she learned both about human nature and herself.” —The Washington Post
“The Biggest Bluff is a brilliant book mostly because Konnikova is a brilliant writer, but also because she is a brilliant observer of the weird world she has immersed herself into . . . The most enthralling parts of the book are when she takes the reader inside the cockpit and talks through some of the high-stakes plays she finds herself involved in.” —The Daily Telegraph
“The Biggest Bluff feels particularly timely in the current pandemic. As governments design policies based on limited data, and individuals are forced to grapple with the probabilities of contagion – we could all do with the greater understanding of uncertainty, and how to think about it under pressure, that comes with the game.” —BBC
“Konnikova seeks to explore the fine line between skill and luck, 'to learn what I could control and what I couldn’t.' If ever there were a game to illustrate those categories, poker is it. . . . She traveled to all the right places—Macau, Las Vegas, Monte Carlo—and even made some money along the way. The payoffs for readers are more cerebral, including Konnikova’s observation that we think we have much more control over our lives than we really do. . . . A smart and subtle delight—highly recommended for fans of cards and brain-hacking alike.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“I absolutely love this book. The story is fantastically gripping, and offers lessons about decision-making, luck, risk—and, most important, how to play at life like a cool-headed pro. This is one of my favorite books of the year.” —Charles Duhigg, author of bestsellers The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
“The Biggest Bluff is an exhilarating and often hilarious personal journey. What’s most exciting, though, is the probing sociological analysis by the brilliant and eternally-curious Maria Konnikova.” —Jesse Eisenberg, author of Bream Gives Me Hiccups
“The narrative is so gripping that you might get halfway through The Biggest Bluff before you even notice that you’re getting a master class in learning, focus, and decision-making. I tore through it in two sittings, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since.” —David Epstein, author of Range
“One of the most extraordinary outcomes of any experiment in participatory journalism. This is a book not just about the game of poker, but about the meaning of luck, the science of skill, and the psychology of outsmarting your competitors.” —Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein and founder of Atlas Obscura
“This book probably won’t turn you into an international poker champ overnight, and it definitely won’t make you as smart as Maria Konnikova. But it will do something just as valuable: it will teach you to think more like her. It’s rare enough to find a memoir this transfixing or a behavioral science book this insightful. To have them combined in one place—by a psychologist who mastered one of the most competitive games on earth—is a real treat.” —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the chart-topping TED podcast WorkLife
“Maria Konnikova has penned a page-turning memoir about going from journalist-curious- about-poker to professional gambler raking in hundreds of thousands. The fascinating portrait of her Buddha, Erik Seidel--the ultimate poker studmuffin & all around Renaissance man--puts this whole tale on a par with the best nonfiction by that czar of the form John McPhee. A must read!” —Mary Karr, author Liars' Club, Lit, and The Art of Memoir
“I love it. Not only did The Biggest Bluff lead me into a complex and charismatic new world, it made me think about my own life and my own self-deceptions about control—and taught me to pay more attention to my own opponents, mine being of the tennis sort. The narrative is deftly crafted, and the journey—the self-examination, the oddball characters, the awful misogyny, the Aggros, the notion of tilt—accumulates in a seamless and satisfying way. I read this in what for me was record time.” —Erik Larson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Splendid and the Vile
“The Biggest Bluff is a flat out classic. It’s a ripping good story—with an underdog heroine, a Yoda-like mentor, and a cast of wild characters. It’s a sophisticated meditation on the relative importance of deep skill and dumb luck. And it’s a primer on how to pay attention, think objectively, and make better decisions. Reading this book is like drawing a straight flush. You won’t believe your good fortune—and you’ll remember it for a long, long time.” —Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and To Sell is Human
“We’re all searching for greater self-knowledge—and Maria Konnikova found it through poker. She set out to make herself a champion, and along the way, she learned far more than the game. In lessons we can use ourselves, poker taught her greater emotional and physical regulation, tolerance for risk and uncertainty, more intelligent decision-making, a grasp of the intertwined roles of chance and skill, and sheer confidence. As she explains, ‘This book isn’t about how to play poker. It’s about how to play the world.’” —Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before
“There are a lot of great books about psychology. And there are even some great books about poker. There isn’t any book like The Biggest Bluff. Maria’s journey from a novice into a world-class poker player is a page-turning adventure that you’ll enjoy whether you’re a seasoned pro or someone who doesn’t know a busted draw from a full house.
But what makes The Biggest Bluff so unique is its honesty and humility. It understands the importance of luck and uncertainty in our lives—and how different they can look when we’re suddenly facing high-stakes, life-altering decisions. I can’t think of a better guide for navigating these subjects than Maria and I highly recommend this book.” —Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief, FiveThirtyEight
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When the ebook arrived last night, I consumed it one sitting. The tale of Konnikova going from 100% poker-naïve novice to sponsored pro in a year is crackingly compelling. No triumphalist tale here. She's candid about the painful process of improving via trial and error and error and error: impatience, misplaced pride, susceptibility to the biases she has written whole books about, and incomplete self-knowledge. But she also has the insight and humility to ask for help from a mindset coach, who apparently makes some difference (even though he quotes Freud, and it's not exactly clear *how* he changes mindset -- this here coach is curious to know). She endures enough crap -- crippling self-doubt, insomnia, sexism, vicious migraines, perfidious allies, crude propositions by creepy dudes -- that when she describes her first big tournament win, I threw my hands in the air and audibly woo-hooed. Her victory is every smart, hard-working underdog's victory.
The heart of the book is her relationship with her poker coach, Erik Seidel, one of the game's all-time greats. A deeply wise and caring mentor, he dispenses advice that is not just timeless but omni-applicable: "Telling bad beat stories is like dumping trash on your neighbor's lawn: it just stinks. The goal of poker is not to win pots or chips but to make good decisions. Defeat teaches you more than victory. Don't play a tournament if you don't feel at your best." We all wish we could have a mentor this good.
I also picked up on a lot of useful resources to improve my own game: the PioSOLVER software for game-theory optimized play; SnapShove; Phil Galfond's Run It Once coaching site; and live streaming of real hands played by pros. These alone were easily worth the cover price.
What delighted me was Maria's interweaving of the scientific literature into her narrative of training and tournament play. The description-experience gap will make our gut feelings trump numerical rules. Only a third of tournament hands go to showdown, and the best hand only wins 12% of the time. Facial tells are worse than useless; look at hand motions instead. Her long digression into the science and lore of superstition was particularly fun. If you have a lucky shirt or necklace, Konnikova makes a persuasive case for getting rid of it.
This is also a book about entrepreneurship: setting a goal, assembling a team, getting some funding, and executing on the plan. That funding part is pretty essential, because hey, world-class poker training don't come cheap. Poker coaches can charge hundreds of dollars an hour, well beyond the reach of mere mortals without a substantial bankroll or publisher's advance. This is a detail I wish the book shared more about.
Finally, there's much dishy poker lore here. Konnikova has met some greats of the game - Paul Magriel, LuckyChewy, Ike Haxton, Patrik Antonius, and my personal hero "Action Dan" Harrington - and retells stories from legends like Doyle Brunson, Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak. Thanks to Maria, our home games will probably soon feature the silly but fun sides bets of the Lodden Game.
Even though the bits of poker strategy Konnikova shares are incidental to the storytelling and not the book's main show, I learned more about the psychology of my own game from this book than dozens of pure strategy books I've read. Besides being a cracking tale, 'The Biggest Bluff' is about how seemingly unlikely results can come within reach through persistence, planning, systematic training, and mindset management. Konnikova has earned every bit of her excellent results, one of them being this book. How about you? May the book serve as rocket fuel for your own farfetched daydreams, or that of your favorite budding entrepreneur.
-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., Happiness Engineer, poker therapist, executive coach and author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible , the most-highlighted book in Amazon Kindle Store, and Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine
Maria Konnikova is a psychologist whose personal predilection is to study the question of how much control we have over our lives. This of course spawns a lot of other questions: Are successful people successful because of luck or good choices? Do superstitions help us overcome the whims of fortune or succumb to them? How much personal agency are women denied by Western culture?
She explores these questions by relating her year of being trained by the best in the game of poker. For Konnikova, the game is important, but more important is it as a metaphor of life. There is the draw—clearly chance—and there is the betting—clearly decision. But where success falls into the mix of these is nearly as complicated as success in life.
I won’t spoil the book by citing the author’s answers but suffice it to say that she brings a new and unique perspective to these age old questions. As someone whose professional work deals with chance on a daily basis, I found the book fascinating even though I have almost no interest in poker.
If you are interested in a mix of psychology, philosophy and game theory in an effort to shed new light on one of man’s perennial questions than you will be delighted by the Biggest Bluff. Those looking for poker tips should, however, choose another book.
Glad I read it in the morning, because if I had read it at night I would have fallen asleep. It’s not the worst book I’ve ever read, Art Garfunkel’s autobiography was even worse, but I’ve read over forty poker books and this is by far the worst one! DONT BUY IT