This is without question one of the best books on effective leadership ever written and it is profound and entertaining as one of the most unusual yet best possible analogies is used. Poker is a game that requires a combination of skill and luck, luck in the sense that the cards you receive are randomly selected and skill in the sense that the best hand does not always win. This combination is one that is directly applicable to the situation faced by leaders in that they must play the hand they are dealt. While people in leadership positions can often select the people that work under them, there are many cases where they do not. Of course they generally have little to no influence in selecting the people in other areas that they must work with or the exterior circumstances such as market forces and economic tides. The latter part is the equivalent of the cards that you are dealt, which is important but not the only factor.
Complaining about the cards you have received is a common action and quite healthy, as long as it is not taken too far. Bouncing back and forth between leadership in the workplace and the equivalent situation in a poker game, the authors write some of the best advice for leaders and just generally dealing with life ever put on paper. We are all constantly buffeted by forces and events largely beyond our control, yet the worst thing we can do is to let our complaining and blaming become a dominant force in our lives. Winners in poker examine the cards they are dealt, examine the cards that the other players have exposed, make reasonable estimates regarding the unseen assets of their opponents, examine their current financial stake, look closely at their opponents in an attempt to read any subtle signals in their mannerisms and then take a calculated risk. This is what should be done in the business world. Sometimes the cards simply aren't there yet you bet anyway just to keep the opposition confused. In the business world, this is known as strategic thinking, taking a gamble on an immediate loss with the opportunity for greater benefits in the future. If you don't lose on occasion, you are not pressing the issues as much as you should.
Many books on leadership tend to be correct in their content but dull in their delivery. In this case the content is superb and the delivery is even beyond that, the comparisons between poker and quality leadership are apt, educational and make this book one that should be read, re-read and intellectually digested.