Saturday, December 10, 2011

 

Bounce (1)

First bounce, perhaps I should say. I've just finished the book Bounce by Matthew Syed and I thoroughly recommend that you read this book. Don't even finish reading this until you do it. Download it now from the link (install Kindle for PC if necessary, it's great).

I picked this up on a recommendation from everyone's favourite Twittering footballer Joey Barton. The central thesis of the book is not new, it's the basic idea that Malcolm Gladwell put forward in Outliers. Bounce is a much better book though IMO, much less anecdotal and has the advantage of being written by someone who, as Britain's top table-tennis player for several years, freely admits that he used to believe that this was largely due to his own natural "talent" rather than the circumstances of his upbringing combined with extraordinary amounts of practice.

In some ways this is only tangentially related to poker but there's not really anywhere else I can put this now so here is going to have to do :). It does, however, have some relevance to a snippet on a Late Night Poker episode I caught up with today. Players were asked (for some reason) what sporting figures they would like to be/have been. They rattled off more or less what you would expect - Tiger Woods [1], Roger Federer, Michael Jordan.

I know it was just a flip soundbite question but I wonder if the answer "well I'm not sure I'd like to be a world-class sportsman at all" actually occurred to anyone as a possibility. Because you can be assured that those three people have devoted their entire lives to their respective sports. How they will cope with retirement remains to be seen.

Thing is though, I think we really know whether the players actually want to be Tiger Woods, for example. Because they have their own field of excellence in which they already have a platform and an opportunity to excel. Poker. So are they practising with the intensity of Tiger Woods? Every day, like Michael Jordan? Desperate to improve and build on every setback, like Roger Federer? Well, we don't know. But I reckon they probably aren't.

There's one poker player I can think of who might have done. He reputedly played 18 hours a day in Atlantic City for 2 years straight when starting up. He's one of the few "live" players who saw online poker as a tremendous opportunity to learn and improve, rather than just exploit by association. And funnily enough, albeit for completely the wrong reasons, he is sometimes known as the Tiger Woods of poker...

[1] Tiger Woods was chosen by Vanessa Selbst on the grounds that "golf doesn't look like you have to train for it very much" - LOL. That depends how good you want to be. To be Tiger Woods, you have to train incredibly fucking hard for your entire life, is all.

Comments:
Cracking read Andy. Thanks for the recommendation. It really makes you think.
Dave
 
I enjoy, cause I found exactly what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye
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