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The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win Hardcover – 1 January 1900
"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 "An inspired investigation of 'the struggle for balance on the spectrum of luck and control in the lives we lead, and the decisions we make, ' partway between memoir, primer on the psychology of decision-making, and playbook for life." --Maria Popova, Brain Pickings "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
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Press (1 January 1900)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 052552262X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525522621
- Dimensions : 16.21 x 3.15 x 24.23 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 62,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The line that sticks in my mind the most is how after learning a subject for a while you feel worse, as you realise how much more there is than originally thought, how true.
Top reviews from other countries
Well, when you have access to various Poker professionals, full time, you should expect a good chance of this.
Would you believe, poker is very much like life itself? Sometimes things run good, sometimes bad. Cue, pychological discussions.
There was lot of Kahnemans' "Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow" in here - sometimes randomly shoe horned in.
Overall, I found it to be an interesting overview of the Higher Level poker fraternity, some of their thought processes and how they think on multiple levels. Otherwise, I found it surprisingly flat with no real surprises
Many poker books focus on getting the edge in games, and nothing deeper than that. You often get the impression poker players write to impress upon you their knowledge, as if all the money and time they’ve invested into the game still hasn’t gotten them over that hump of wanting recognition and approval.
This is a book where the author confronts exactly those desires, within herself. She uses poker in a holistic manner to take her on that journey, and the results are impressive.
This is also one of the books in a new trend that sheds light on letting go of the need to control what you can’t, while also not completely given up on building the skills to control what you can.
I only took a star off as, like i said, parts are overwritten and drawn out. In the final chapter, the author makes a “beat” out of her ill health to try and keep you in suspense while you read through a point she’s already made previously. It feels like cheap and gratuitous emotional exploitation of you as a reader, which is one of the very things she warns you to watch out for when you’re seated at the poker table.
Don't get me wrong, it's clear the author is a talented woman, very articulate and has excellent command of the English language.
But it's just so hard to get any value out of this at all. There's just huge amounts of describing who she met, every word they said, every thought she had, it's just all pretty meaningless.
It's seems all about her, not about the reader. Far too long and wordy, 50% of the excess unnecessary waffle needs to be taken out.
It seems like a book someone has written for themselves, like a journal, as oppose to a book that actually helps others.
It might get better after 25%, but I can't spend any more time on this...sadly.
Perhaps using simpler words that are easier to resonate with would make it more enjoyable also.
The book's very well-written; it has a great balance of storytelling and lessons on luck, on life and on everything in-between. As the book progresses, you can feel Maria's love for Poker and it's depths develop and you're brought along on that ride. The reflection on the relationship between life and Poker leave you with a lot to consider.
I honestly can't recommended it enough, it was a great read and I was sad to finish it.