Inadvertent Great Books: Introduction to a Series

There’s a kind of book that I call an inadvertent great book: a book that had modest or narrow goals, and yet ends up teaching us something profound about the human experience. Somehow, inadvertently, the book turns out to be a useful metaphor for a much broader range of subjects, and offers insights that reveal something previously hidden in the real world.

Note that I won’t focus on books that are merely intentionally great — books that might exceed expectations but are in-line with what the author intended.  There are many of those, and it’s easy to find discussions about them.  I’m focusing on books that you might pass over again and again, thinking that the subject is irrelevant to your life or the topic uninteresting. The books I review are often intentionally great in their topic, but are nonetheless inadvertently great in general.

For each book I review, I’ll explain how its lessons escape the bounds the writer thought he or she was within, and how you can use it to view the world in a different way.  I hope to post a new review every couple of weeks, but I’ll probably fall short of that…

The first review I’m working on is David Sklanksy’s “The theory of poker”, which turns 30 this year.  It is an intentionally great book on Poker, but an inadvertently great book on life in general.