The Best Betting Books

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Everyone can learn new things. No matter how much of an expert you are on a given subject, there is always the opportunity to develop new skills and understand certain things that you may not have understood before. 

Betting is no different. Sure, you may be an experienced bettor and have won more than your fair share of bets over the years, but you cannot possibly know everything. Especially when the industry moves at the pace it does. That's where heading into your local bookshop and seeing what they have on offer comes in handy. 

There are a number of books that bettors looking to up their game can use to gain new insight. Not all are directly related to the industry - some focus on mathematics, finances and wider topics - but they all give you a helping hand as you seek that extra edge. 

In this piece, we look at some key books that really ought to be winging their way out of your nearest bookstore and onto your shelf. 


Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Written by essayist, statistician, former trader and risk analyst Nassim Nicholas Taleb, this book very much does what it says on the tin. Looking at the impact randomness plays in our day-to-day lives, it proposes that human beings often fail to recognise randomness and instead conclude that chance happenings actually have some logic behind them. The book was written with the financial world in mind, but Taleb's insights apply just as well to betting, which is similarly based around ideas of chance and probability. Released in 2001, Fooled by Randomness is the first part of a five-book series that collectively goes under the name Incerto. The Black Swan, The Bed of Procrustes, Antifragile, and Skin in the Game are the other entries in the series. 


Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Hitting shelves in 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is written by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and economist who has specialised in behavioural economics and how human beings make decisions. The book is the culmination of decades of research Kahneman conducted alongside the cognitive and mathematical psychologist Amos Tversky. In it, Kahneman explores two systems of thought. The first is fast and instinctive, and allows us to do quite easy things, like solve simple sums and locate the source of a sound, amongst other things. The second is slower, requires more effort and allows us to do things like park in tight spaces and solve complex equations. Ultimately, the book is about reasoning and lack of reasoning and how they inform decision-making across everything from the financial markets to, of course, betting. 


The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

Best known as the founder and editor-in-chief of the politics, economics and sports website FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver is also an author and his book, The Signal and The Noise, became something of a sensation when it was released in 2012. Using real life case studies from across the worlds of elections, weather forecasting, baseball and poker, The Signal and the Noise explores mathematical model building based around probability and statistics. Silver argues that human beings always seek patterns, and explores the way this can produce bad predictions as often as it can produce good ones. The applications to betting are clear. 


Squares And Sharps, Suckers And Sharks by Joseph Buchdahl

Joseph Buchdahl started his career as an environmental scientist, but he eventually turned his hand to sports betting, and became a prominent voice in the area. Which is why his books make not one but two entries on this list. The first is Squares and Shapes, Suckers and Sharks, which looks at the science of chance and probability, and how it applies to everyday life and betting. 


How to Find a Black Cat in a Coal Cellar: The Truth About Sports Tipsters, Joseph Buchdahl

The second Buchdahl book takes a more specific view by exploring the role of tipsters in betting. Buchdahl offers insight into how to find truly talented tipsters rather than those who have been highly profitable as much through luck as actual insight. He also explores why some sports are more profitable than others and why some bookmakers enjoy greater success than others. All of which makes How to Find a Black Cat in a Coal Cellar a truly indispensable piece of work for anyone who likes to find insight and information from tipsters. 


Enemy Number One: The Secrets of the UK's Most Feared Professional Punter by Patrick Veitch

Having studied mathematics at Cambridge University, Patrick Veitch eventually turned his attentions away from academic figures and fractions and towards the numbers and odds you see on offer from bookmakers. Veitch has lived a truly incredible life, and this fascinating tome tells the story of how he used his talents to earn over £10 million from his betting activity across an eight year period. While the book does not go into too much depth on Veitch's methods, it is clear what the key ingredient is: a lot of hard work and dedication to studying the industry. 


Gambling for Life by Harry Findley

Harry Findlay is a famous figure in the gambling circuit - and also quite a divisive one. Some love him, some dislike him, but whatever your thoughts, what cannot be denied is that he is a fascinating person who has lived a remarkable life. Findlay's story is detailed in Gambling for Life, which explores his triumphs, failures and the depression that came as a result of them. You may not always agree with Findlay's thoughts, but you will certainly have a good time reading them. 


The Sure Thing: The Greatest Coup in Horse Racing History by Barney Curley

In 1975, Barney Curley orchestrated what has gone down as one of the most amazing gambles of all time when he won millions on a horse called Yellow Sam. 35 years later - in 2010 - he did the same again, winning another huge haul with another brilliant coup. The Sure Thing explores Curley's history and how the coups came about with huge style and panache, making this not just a great betting book but a riveting read full stop.


So there you have it. Those are our favourite betting books. Reading them will not guarantee million pound windfalls, but you will gain greater insight into the world of betting and have a great time while doing so.

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