Reading is slowly going out of style. It's one of those unfortunate facts of life. With the advent of technology, human attention became the new currency of the world, and so our focus gets depleted every single day by numerous outlets trying to capture our interest. Between the various social media, entertainment and infotainment websites we spend our days hopping from one piece of content to the other, with an ever decreasing attention span. Needless to say, 2017 is not exactly a reader's paradise.
However, there's still amazing value to be gained if we decide to engage with the long written form and while relevant poker books are currently in a rather short supply, there are some tremendous pieces of literature out there, that can have a profound effect on one's performance at a poker table. In this article, we're going to list a few non-poker books that every poker player should add to their private library.
"The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" by Leonard Mlodinow
Poker might often seem like a niche activity. Those of us who are less sensitive might even call it a waste of time (it's surprising how many poker players share that sentiment!) and it might be difficult to appreciate how profound of an effect on our understanding of the world playing cards for a living can have. Reading Leonard Mlodinow book can be a major motivation boost for players who feel a bit guilty about spending a lot of time playing poker. "How Randomness Rules Our Lives" highlights the ubiquity of variance. Randomness is not just something that needs to be considered while playing games of chance, it's a factor in almost every aspect of life.
Mlodinow's book won't exactly improve your ability to calculate odds at a poker table, but it will prove to you that odds matter! The fact that probability calculations are a vital part of your favorite game, makes engaging in that game worthwhile. "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" is a far less revolutionary read for a poker player than it is for an average human being and while you might find parts of this book fairly obvious, you can find a lot of comfort in that realization.
"The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle" by Steven Pressfield
The idea that playing poker is a creative endeavor might find some opposition. To an untrained eye, playing cards - especially in an online setting - might be more akin to the job of an accountant than that of a writer. That being said, there's certainly a degree of finesse necessary to enjoy a long time poker success. While the cream of the crop can get away with playing poker on an auto-pilot, most of us mere mortals have to play each and every session by ear - not unlike a musical instrument.
Poker is equal parts preparation and improvisation and that makes it really tough. It's hard to stay consistent when playing poker requires so much of our attention and the fact that the result of each session is so uncertain - even for seasoned pro players - breeds resistance. "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield is all about resistance. It paints our inability to engage in a creative work as a clear villain that we need to best on a daily basis. Pressfield created a great piece of literature that's both entertaining and enlightening.
"The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg
If we had to point out the one thing that's the most important when it comes to the long-term poker success we'd most likely choose discipline. Discipline is what separates true professionals from wannabes and hobbyists. Success is almost always the result of small actions performed consistently over a long period of time. Discipline is not a matter of force of will, it's a matter of a smart set of habits.
"The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg is a great resource for anyone who wishes to understand the science of habit formation. Duhigg's book can be especially powerful if you never put much thought into the subject, by allowing you to take control over your daily activities. Like we've already discussed, poker is not about how well you can play the bottom of your range in some fringe river spot - it's about persistence.