Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book Review - The Chess Assassin's Business Manual by Bob Long

  I got a copy of this book from the author himself at the Iowa Open last week. Bob is the owner of Thinkers Press, the chess publisher of many fine books including my favorites, the Cecil Purdy Collection. There is not a lot of chess games and positions in the book, so it was easy to finish the book in a week. The book talks mostly about Bob's careers in the typesetting business, chess publishing business, and the chess sales business. Bob's talks a lot about all the bright ideas he's had and the problems he has had dealing with cheating competitors, etc. I find the main thread of Bob's successes is not his great ideas or his business savvy, but simply that he cares about his work and outworks his competition. He mentions as an afterthought how he changed fonts on the chapter headings that is on the top of every right-facing page, but the font or even chapter headings would be an afterthought to most. These small tidbits explain why the Thinker's Press books are the best chess books on the market, in my opinion.

  There is a fair amount of self-promotion in the book. On page 212, Bob spends an entire page telling you how he can show you how to make 25 to 50K in the first year. I enjoyed Bob's stories about selling books and playing at chess tournaments. More of his personal stories would have been nice, but I guess 'assassins' shouldn't talk about their personal lives very much. I found this book very entertaining because I know about Bob from the books his company publishes. It is not a pure chess book, business book, or memior, but after reading it, you will know a more about chess, business, and Bob after reading it.

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