Reading: Amarillo Slim’s Memoir – In A World Full of Fat People

I finished Amarillo Slim’s memoir, In A World Full Of Fat People as my non-work related read. For work reads, the challenge is dealing with volume, so they require intense focus, and brute forcing my way through manuscripts and scripts. Basically, it sucks 80 percent of the joy from reading. Allocating time for non-work related reads is my way of saying, “I never want to not enjoy reading.” One hand washes the other.


I broke into this memoir because I love gambling and books on gambling. I didn’t read it with the idea of finding takeaways…

But I just couldn’t help myself.

There are major correlations between his anecdotes and self-dev (maybe not self-dev exactly, but bear with me, I’m about to drop some education on the practical application of Slim’s gambling philosophy):

Amarillo Slim was one of the world’s greatest proposition gamblers. He bet he could beat “Minnesota Fats at pool with a broom, Bobby Riggs at table tennis with a skillet, and Evel Knievel at golf with a carpenter’s hammer.” But Slim’s philosophy to be a winning gambler was simple:

“I never make a bet unless the bet is already won.”

Put another way, in Slim’s words:

“I learned that there are people who love action and others who love money. The first group is called suckers, and the second is called professional gamblers, and it was a cinch which one I wanted to be.”

What he’s talking about, is preparation.

Slim would practice with a skillet at table tennis for weeks before setting up his mark. When another mark wised up to the skillet gambit, he’d practice for months with a coke bottle to break him.

He’d master every pool hustle there was until he could do it with a broom. Blindfolded.

And Slim had patience: he would take his time laying the trap for a sucker, losing a little at a time until he was “ready to break the sonuvabitch.”

A full write-up to follow, but my major takeaway is self-dev is preparation. You’re preparing yourself, arming yourself with abilities to win the bet you place on yourself. These bets can take on many forms:

A negotiation next week.
An interview three months away.
Business decisions of tomorrow that’ll influence you for years to come.

Bets are won and loss in the preparation.

Photos Credit: pokerwire

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