Monday, June 1, 2015

What is Bug Reading? May 2015 Edition.

Too many books, too little time...
Often I get contacted by blog readers looking for book recommendations. Most of these queries (obviously) are related to poker training materials, but not always. Sometimes people are just curious what I'm reading, even if it's non-poker fiction. Ergo, in today's inaugural end-of-month post, I present what's currently on my iPad, Kindle, bedside table, easy chair, and (gasp) in the bathroom (and no, I won't tell which book is where!):

First up is Charley Swayne's Advanced Degree in Hold'em. I've skimmed this book in the past and found it thought-provoking. As Le Monsieur and I work our way through the ABC poker lessons, I keep finding myself picking it up frequently to clarify a point here and there. It was especially useful when I wrote a recent monster two-part ABC lesson on a) Classifying Villain Types; and b) Exploiting Villain Types. Swayne's book is kind of weirdly written (a cross between a textbook, a scientific journal paper, and 1980's-era computer graphic output) but there's gold nuggets buried therein if you're up to the task of wading through it.

During this past couple of weeks, I've also had Ed Miller's excellent Playing the Player open in various electronic and paper copy versions throughout the house. As I've stated before, I'm a big fan of Miller, and this one has some really good, solid, practical advice on dealing with common villain types you face at medium and low-stakes games. Not a cheap book, but well worth the money. If you literally can't earn back the cover price during a week of employing its advice at the micro-tables, you're doing something seriously wrong.

Semi-related to poker (actually, more related to the eventual online training site Le Monsieur and I are creating) is Michael Hyatt's Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. I'm a huge fan of Hyatt; I subscribe to both his podcast and his blog, and I can honestly say that through the years his advice on work, leadership, and family has made me a better man, manager, and husband. This particular book is very "sales" specific, but it's still recommended. I've picked up a number of things in it that are directly applicable to the training material development effort we're in the midst of. Good stuff.

And whilst on the self-help and business theme, I also recently picked up Kate Erickson's The Fire Path, which purports to lay out the sequential steps necessary to begin a successful online business. I found this book via another podcast that I'm a big fan of: John Lee Dumas' Entrepreneur on Fire. Kate Erickson is Dumas' wife, and while I'm only a little ways into the book, and while it is a little simple-minded at times, the fact that JLD had a hand in the book's creation makes it worth the price of admission all by itself. I really like JLD's business insights, and there are some good, very practical--and actionable--steps to address that his wife has captured in the book. Really simple but powerful concepts like creating a Venn diagram of your passions and proficiencies, and then layering on another Ven circle set of Profitability to find your possible calling was an "a-ha" moment for me. Lots of these kinds of interesting things in the book, and I'm only about a third of the way through it.

Totally unrelated to poker and/or business is Michael Connelly's The Gods of Guilt. Dunno if you saw The Lincoln Lawyer on the big screen or not, but it was based on Connelly's first installment in this particular novel series of his. Connelly's books aren't incredibly deep or meaningful, but they are always fun and fast moving. He also affords an interesting look behind the curtain of the justice system. I have most of Connelly's books, and when this one came out a year or so ago, my wife bought it for me as a gift. I'm just now getting around to reading it and am enjoying it immensely. Yes, it's a guilty pleasure, but it's also a very diverting bed-time read to relax to and turn off all the other non-fiction stuff going on in my head.

Finally, I'm working my way through an older out-of-print book by Hal Roth called Two On A Big Ocean: The Personal Account of a Man and Woman Who Circumnavigated the Pacific--Alone In A 35-foot Sailboat. This was written decades before GPS, Loran, solar systems, digital electronics, reliable radios, etc., so it's a great glimpse back into the, well, courage it took to do something audacious like sail out into the wild blue ocean and try to hit tiny islands thousands of miles away. Despite living in the desert, sea-going tales like this have always held sway with me. As a kid I read Robin Lee Graham's Dove and have been hooked ever since on this kind of story. Roth does a good job mixing the at-sea "this is how you use a sextant" stuff, with the on-land "here's the interesting stuff that happened to us ashore" tales. A fun read. I often see it available on Amazon for pennies.


I'm always looking for book recommendations, so please drop me a line if you have a good idea or a favorite read you think I'd enjoy. My tastes are very varied and extra eclectic (or, as Mr. Multi likes to opine: maybe I just have no taste to begin with). Anyway, I'm jetting off on a big 3-week sojourn to Europe starting next Saturday, and I'll be loading up the iPad with a number of tomes to read whilst gone; if you have a good suggestion, I'm all ears (or is that eyes?). Too bad I can't/won't take the unfinished bathroom book with me-- it will have to wait for my return from Germany.

All-in for now...


  1. Have you tried this one: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman?

    I'm also a big fan of Connelly. The Last Coyote is my favorite (it's really old). I just mention that as a comment.

    Have you tried the John Green books? He writes for young adults, but I can still relate. I've read Paper Towns and The Fault In Our Stars, and have Looking for Alaska in the hopper. Might not be your cup of tea, just sayin'.

    I imagine you've read Verbal Poker Tells (Condensed) by Zachary Elwood?

    I've not heard of the Charley Swayne book. I'll give it a whirl, thanks for the heads up.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, Dave. I've heard of the Kahneman book, but haven't purchased it; will look into it.

    Re: the John Green books, my tastes are hugely wide, so I'll check these out, too. I did see the movie version of The Vault in Our Stars, and I did enjoy it.

    Yep, I've read Zach Elwood's book, too.

    Finally, Charley Swayne's book is a bit strange. Useful, but strange. Be warned.