Professional gamblers’ reading list

The top 15 books recommended by winning bettors


The Business of Betting is the world’s leading gambling podcast. It features intelligent conversations with the most successful people in the gambling industry.

We have collated and distilled the advice and recommendations given by these experts into the following lists;

Over 150 books and authors have been recommended on the podcast. These are the most common and relevant recommendations. Less than half are specifically 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 16 times by 11 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

They 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 7 times by 6 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

In equal second place, Moneyball is recommended 5 times by 5 guests.

This book documents the introduction of advanced data analytics in professional sports. 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 5 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.

Richard H. Thaler –
Misbehaving: The making of behavioural economics

Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Thaler shows that people are irrational and biased and that this has serious consequences.

The study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make better decisions in our lives, our businesses, and our governments. However, that is only after Thaler fought an uphill battle against the bastions of traditional economic thinking.

All of this is addressed with humour and lots of funny stories.

Honorable mentions

The following books and authors are recommended 3 times.

Dean Oliver
Basketball on Paper: Rules and tools for performance analysis

Ed Miller, Matthew Davidow
The logic of sports betting

James Surowiecki
The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few and how collective wisdom shapes business, economies, societies and nations

Stanford Wong
Sharp sports betting

William Poundstone
Fortune’s formula

Reading lists on GoodReads

I put the 15 most commonly recommended books (the books that appear in this post) in this GoodReads reading list.

I have put 74 out of all 75 recommended books into this GoodReads reading list (1 book is not on GoodReads).

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