When PokerNews asked me to do a book review for them every now and then I had to do my best not to sound too eager, as people who know me know that reading poker books is one of my hobbies.
This time it's not a strategy book but a book about skills. Poker skills that are universally applicable and this book stimulates the business man to take notion of poker strategies, or at least learn how to use them.
The book written by David Apostolic is not always very moderate. The cover of the book reads: Develop a Poker mindset in all aspects of business, including investing, negotiations, running a business, marketing products, managing clientele and dealing with co-workers. The author says about himself that he is an expert in the field of poker and business.
Also when looking at the single chapters the reader expects a lot.
Chapter 1: Drawing Cards: Why Use Poker Strategies?
Chapter 2: The End Game: Investing for the Long-Term
Chapter 3: Avoiding Tilt: The Psychology of Poker and Investing
Chapter 4: Table Leader: Negotiate From Power
Chapter 5: Bluff or Fold: Effective Negotiating No Matter What Hand you Are Dealt
Chapter 6: All-In: Climb the Corporate Ladder and Win
Chapter 7: Top Pair: How Successful Poker Players and Businesspeople Think
Chapter 8: Pocket Aces: Playing to Win
Title: Poker Strategies for a Winning Edge in Business
Author: David Apostolic
Publisher: Prometheus Books (20 April 2007)
It's a shame that the author doesn't manage to bring together the single chapters to a logical whole. They remain to be loose chapters without there being a build up in any them. What I find completely unbelievable is that the book does not include an index, which doesn't make searching very pleasant.
In the first PokerNews magazine I already advocated the inclusion of poker lessons in the elementary school curriculum. At the end of the day, the sooner you start to learn, the better. Obviously I wasn't being very serious about that, but what I was being serious about is how a great deal of poker skills can be applied to help in real life situations. It keeps amazing me how I can have in depth conversations about tournament strategies with people who never really paid attention in school back in the day and didn't even know how to pronounce the word strategy. And I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Charles Nesson, professor at Harvard University, has published numerous articles about implementing poker skills in every day life. For years he has been a strong supporter of teaching poker in schools!
This book could very well be the book that would then be studied in combination with the poker classes (after a couple of adjustments in the build up of the book). The kids would then already know how to play poker and could then learn how to apply this knowledge to real life situations. I would say the can be read from an age of around 14. The book is easy to read and includes a couple of interesting anecdotes here and there. For example, there is a nice piece about the deciding television debate between Kennedy and Nixon. Kennedy and Nixon where sitting in the same dressing room before the debate. According to the author, Kennedy refused to have any make-up applied to him, stating that make-up is for women. Now Nixon obviously didn't want to look like a woman on TV and also decided not use any make-up. That was too bad for Nixon. Kennedy had completely bluffed him with his pokerface, and just before the debate, out of Nixon's sight, Kennedy did agree to use make-up. We know the outcome. The radio listeners believed that Nixon should have won. The TV viewers, on the other hand, saw a healthy and lively Kennedy and a sweating and very pale Nixon.
This was a funny part in the book, but it's a shame that the standard of the first part of the book is not extended throughout the whole book. Before you know it, the book becomes meaningless and everything from poker needs to be applied to a business scenario. For example: On page 110 of the book he starts talking about how you have to "Mix up your game so you are not predictable". He starts off by applying it to poker, saying how you have to vary your game in order to avoid being read by your opponent. We can, of course, also apply this to the business world, and this is done by using the example of buying a car. When going to a car dealership, you don't want the sales man to know what your maximum price is. In fact, you don't even want him to know that you are seriously thinking about getting a car. You are letting the sales man know that you have other options to choose from. Make sure to ask about the things that are missing, bla bla bla. That kind of standard. Neither the example itself, nor the way it is being worked out show any signs of creative thinking or originality.
As you might have guessed, my impression of the book is not the most positive one. The idea itself isn't a bad one but the book as a whole seems a little rushed. It seems to me like the author just wanted to exploit the poker boom and make a couple of quid. Maybe he should have spent more time describing his own strategy, then the book might have turned out better.