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Posted February 2, 2006
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. 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. 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.' 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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.