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Book: How Life Imitates Chess

How Life Imitates Chess by Kasparov Garry is a book about life, business, politics, and chess. Each discipline has a lot in common with the others. He is a grand master in not just chess, but also in the other disciplines.

Chess has long been a basis for analyzing strategy, and Kasparov can articulate this very well.

One of the valuable take-aways is MTQ evaluation. Material, Time, and Quality can be traded off with each other. Indeed, one must be sacrificed to make gains in the other two. A chess player would see this as:

  • Material: stuff you have, pieces, assets
  • Time: clock time, board time, realtime
  • Quality: material may be worth different amount

But these concepts can be applied to business as well. For example, a product can be rushed to market at the sacrifice of quality. Quality is dependent on a competitor’s position, and they may dramatically shift the balance through their own positioning.

He often uses quotes to encapsulate concepts. From chapter 2: “The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss.” – Ralph Waldo Emmerson. From chapter 3: “Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.” – Savili Tarticower

In all, this is a very compelling book. If you don’t already like chess or don’t know much about it, don’t worry: you will still be able to get maximal enjoyment and understanding from this book.

My rating: 9/10


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