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Stack Your Deck: Which Books Would a Professional Poker Player Recommend?

Liv Boeree, one of the world’s best poker players, reveals her five favorite reads on Blinkist.
by Michael Benninger | Oct 12 2018

In his 2017 book, Tribe of Mentors, legendary life-hacker Tim Ferriss interviewed experts in a variety of fields to discover the secrets behind their success. Among those he spoke with was Liv Boeree, a professional science communicator and one of the world’s most successful poker players.

Ferriss asked Boeree, “What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?”

We were thrilled when we read her response:

“Blinkist — an app that condenses nonfiction books into 15-minute reads.”

Before Boeree entered the world of poker, she graduated from the University of Manchester with a First-Class Honours degree in Physics and Astrophysics. She only started playing cards while participating in a reality TV show, hoping to win enough money to pay off her student debt. Boeree recounts her inauspicious start during her February 2018 TEDx talk about the wonders of quantification and decision-making under uncertainty:

We’re delighted that Ms. Boeree uses Blinkist, and we’re big fans of hers, too. After we learned about her appreciation for our app, we reached out to find out which books she recommends other Blinkist users explore. Here are five of her favorites:

1. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll

If you’ve ever wondered what the meaning of life is or questioned why the universe exists, this book explains how a scientific approach can help you make sense of many of mankind’s biggest mysteries. The Big Picture offers readers way of considering the most challenging questions in philosophy, physics, and biology, shedding light on insights into the origins of life, the foundations of consciousness, and the nature of reality.

2. Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths

In today’s world, algorithms rule everything around us, but they’re not only found in technology. Algorithms are also found in our own brains, and we use them every day — even if we don’t know it. This practical guide explains how algorithms affect more areas of our lives than we realize, and how we can leverage them to our advantage to solve our personal problems and make smarter decisions.

3. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

As painful as it is to believe, the majority of the decisions we make on a daily basis are entirely irrational. From choosing what we eat for lunch to deciding how much to pay for clothes, much of our behavior makes little sense when we later look back upon our actions. Predictably Irrational explains the erratic nature of our decisions and includes strategies for developing the ability to truly act in our own best interests.

4. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

Between Silicon Valley and science fiction, many people now believe it’s only a matter of time until humanity invents a superintelligent machine capable of doing things we can’t currently comprehend. Notable philosopher Nick Bostrom chronicles our journey toward developing artificial intelligence and investigates what creating a computer far more intelligent than Einstein would mean for our future.

5. The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane

Is charisma inherited? Or can it be cultivated? According to the author of this book, everyone can become more charismatic by adopting the right mindset and exhibiting the proper body language. Through an assortment of anecdotes about individuals who developed charisma in order to achieve success, The Charisma Myth offers practical tools and exercises that you can use to improve your sense of self.

If you are curious about any of these titles, simply launch our app to explore any of the blinks to these books. Want to learn more about Liv Boeree? Visit her website, and check out her nonprofit, Raising for Effective Giving, which has brought in over $6 million for numerous charities.

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