Saturday, December 31, 2005

Don't buy this book

This book is the written equivalent of refusing to fold a bad hand even in the face of overhwhelming evidence you are beat. All In: Poker Night Lessons for Winning Big at Your Career ($24.95, HarperCollins) by Geoff Graber with Matthew Robinson is ostensibly a look at how to apply no limit Texas hold 'em strategies in business and vice versa. Not a bad idea, I suppose, but the execution is flawed. Graber just can't find the appropriate analogies to make the book work.

For example, in a chapter on slow-playing (intentionally misrepresenting a strong hand as weak as you try to trap your opponent), Graber does an adequate job discussing the various poker slow-playing strategies. But then he spends page after page explaining why there isn't a good equivalent in business, until finally contriving one. And even then his advice is banal -- that you should keep your cards close to the vest an office setting.

Later, in the chapter on bluffing Graber advises never to bluff in business. It's clear he's trying to indemnify himself in his career against charges of outright lying, but it takes something away from the value of the section. In his defense, he does devote considerable time to discussing the semi-bluff in business, when you tell the truth in advance, so to speak, by playing an incomplete hand (or project or idea) as though it's a complete one. He sums this up by saying you have to up-sell. Of course, you don't need a business degree to know that, nor do you need to spend $25 on his book to learn it.

This book would be worth it if Graber was in your weekly game, and you could get a glimpse into his playing style that you'd later use against him. But unless you know this guy, I say fold'em.



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March 08, 2006  

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