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The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win Audiobook, by Maria Konnikova Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Maria Konnikova Narrator: Maria Konnikova Publisher: Penguin Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2020 ISBN: 9780593288924
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 5.00 (1 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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How a New York Times bestselling author and New Yorker contributor parlayed a strong grasp of the science of human decision-making and a woeful ignorance of cards into a life-changing run as a professional poker player, under the wing of a legend of the game It's true that Maria Konnikova had never actually played poker before and didn't even know the rules when she approached Erik Seidel, Poker Hall of Fame inductee and winner of tens of millions of dollars in earnings, and convinced him to be her mentor. But she knew her man: a famously thoughtful and broad-minded player, he was intrigued by her pitch that she wasn't interested in making money so much as learning about life. She had faced a stretch of personal bad luck, and her reflections on the role of chance had led her to a giant of game theory, who pointed her to poker as the ultimate master class in learning to distinguish between what can be controlled and what can't. And she certainly brought something to the table, including a Ph.D. in psychology and an acclaimed and growing body of work on human behavior and how to hack it. So Seidel was in, and soon she was down the rabbit hole with him, into the wild, fiercely competitive, overwhelmingly masculine world of high-stakes Texas Hold'em, their initial end point the following year's World Series of Poker. But then something extraordinary happened. Under Seidel's guidance, Konnikova did have many epiphanies about life that derived from her new pursuit, including how to better read, not just her opponents but far more importantly herself; how to identify what tilted her into an emotional state that got in the way of good decisions; and how to get to a place where she could accept luck for what it was, and what it wasn't. But she also began to win. And win. In a little over a year, she began making earnest money from tournaments, ultimately totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.  She won a major title, got a sponsor, and got used to being on television, and to headlines like "How one writer's book deal turned her into a professional poker player." She even learned to like Las Vegas. But in the end, Maria Konnikova is a writer and student of human behavior, and ultimately the point was to render her incredible journey into a container for its invaluable lessons. The biggest bluff of all, she learned, is that skill is enough. Bad cards will come our way, but keeping our focus on how we play them and not on the outcome will keep us moving through many a dark patch, until the luck once again breaks our way. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Delivers a crucial lesson in how to thrive in an increasingly misleading world…The Biggest Bluff is the best depiction yet of the game I love and the invaluable thinking skills it teaches…Konnikova’s is an uplifting zero-to-hero journey that will raise a smile in these trying times.” 


  • “A must-read for most business entrepreneurs.”


  • “We could all do with the greater understanding of uncertainty and how to think about it under pressure, that comes with the game.” 


  • “Fascinating…Konnikova keeps the lines so clean and even, so steady and unshowy that she might be the Charlie Watts of prose.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice of the Week
  • A #1 bestseller in Cognitive Psychology

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brendall | 9/7/2020

    " As a psychologist, I am interested in how we think, make decisions, feel, and all other cognitive endeavors. I enjoyed Dr. Maria Konnikova’s exploration of decision making and luck through learning how to play poker. What life experiences are luck, what experiences do we create? How do we decide which experiences are due to luck and we have no control? What events are due to our determined preparation, and how to live our lives more fully? Such an interesting read—so interesting I ordered and listened to “Master-mind” by Konnikova. "

About the Author

Maria Konnikova is the author of Mastermind and The Confidence Game. She is a regular contributing writer for the New Yorker and has written for the Atlantic, the New York Times, Slate, the New Republic, the Paris Review, the Wall Street Journal, Salon,and Smithsonian, among others. Her writing has won numerous awards, including the 2019 Excellence in Science Journalism Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. She hosts the podcast The Grift from Panoply Media and is a visiting fellow at New York University’s School of Journalism. Her podcasting work earned her a National Magazine Award nomination in 2019. She graduated from Harvard University and received her PhD in psychology from Columbia University.