Professional gamblers’ reading list

The top 12 books recommended by winning bettors


    The Business of Betting is the world’s pre-eminent gambling podcast. It features intelligent conversations with professional bettors, operators, academics and technologists.

    Guests often recommend tools and resources, such as websites, books and podcasts which helped them succeed. I have collated all 372+ recommendations into these lists

    Over 100 books and authors have been recommendations on the podcast. The full list is here but these are the top 12 most common and relevant recommendations. Only 4 of them are actually about gambling!

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb

    Taleb and 3 of his books

    • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
    • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
    • Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

    Are recommended 10 times by 5 guests.

    Taleb writes about markets, trading, probability, randomness and uncertainty.

    Edward O. Thorp

    Thorp and 3 of his books

    • A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market
    • The Kelly Capital Growth Investment Criterion: Theory and Practice
    • Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One

    Are recommended 7 times by 4 guests (mostly A Man For All Markets).

    Thorp is one of the first people to document successful card counting and inspired a generation of advantage gamblers. He writes about the similarities between making money gambling and in financial markets.

    Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, Fast and Slow

    Kahneman and his nobel prize winning book are recommended 5 times by 5 guests which is the equal most for any single book.

    Thinking, fast and slow deals with cognitive bias, loss aversion and our overconfidence in human judgement.

    Michael Lewis – Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

    Sharing the prize for most recommended book, Moneyball is recommended 5 times by 5 guests.

    This book documents the introduction of advanced data analytics in professional sport. It then became the document that introduced the concept to the general public. It was made into a hit film with Brad Pitt.

    Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers: The Story of Success

    Gladwell, his book Outliers and his podcast Revisionist History are recommended 6 times by 5 guests. Gladwell’s “10,000-Hour Rule” from Outliers is also cited several times.

    The 10,000-hour rule suggests that world class expertise and performance can only be achieved after 10,000 hours of practice in the field. More generally Gladwell writes about what makes successful people successful from a data driven point of view.

    Honorable mentions

    The following books and authors are recommended 3 times.

    Dean Oliver
    Basketball on Paper: Rules and Tools for Performance Analysis

    Richard H. Thaler
    Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics

    James Surowiecki
    The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations

    Reading lists on goodreads

    I have put the 12 most commonly recommended books (the books that appear in this post) in this GoodReads reading list.

    I have put 49 out of all 50 recommended books into this GoodReads reading list (1 book is not on GoodReads).

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