Have you ever finished a book you couldn’t quit talking about after you never intended reading it in the first place? That’s how I felt after reading Molly’s Game, Molly Bloom’s story of running high-stakes poker games.
I must be living under a rock. I had never heard of this story nor seen the movie. Sorry, Leonardo da Vinci. Walter Isaacson’s biography was wearing me down, so I found this book by random chance as
Meet Molly Bloom
Molly didn’t grow up wanting to run poker games. Far from it. She grew up in a family where (perfection?) high achievement was expected. One brother is now a doctor who graduated from Harvard. Another brother was a world champion skier and drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. And Molly? Well, she was a good skier in her own right, but a back injury and
After Molly leaves home and ultimately drops out of law school, she winds up in Los Angeles working for a couple creeps. Yes, creeps. The last one, I wanted to reach into my Kindle and wring the twerp’s little neck.
We see Molly’s competitive spirit and emotional intelligence in sticking through these demanding work situations. Had she not endured, this book (or movie) never happens. Or would that have been a good thing? We’ll never know.
But back to the story.
In her last job, her boss asked her to attend a poker game with names and faces we would all recognize. She loved every minute of it. She went home and Googled how to run poker games–the right food, the right music, the right ambiance, everything. It appears her research worked.
Soon, Molly was running these games and people were calling her. Venues, faces, and the bigger stakes ultimately changed. Before long, Molly was a brand.
Oh yeah, she made money through tips. But that changed later in the story. Sorry, no spoilers.
Is Molly’s Game a Business Book?
When I finish reading a book I like, I immediately start searching for stories about the author and watch or listen to interviews.
Molly’s been through a lot. She was roughed up and could have been killed. There was dealing with the FBI and an arrest. Then there was
So when I point out the business lessons that can be learned from this book, I don’t do so flippantly. There’s a lot of meat to this story, and I don’t want to diminish it one iota. Still, there are some strong business lessons to be gained:
- When it came to marketing and selling, Molly got it. She was a great marketer and she had a unique way of selling. She could put the hyper sales growth guy to shame. Even Seth Godin could learn from Molly.
- Molly understood the whole Joe Pine experience economy thing. Really, she did. No small detail was taken for granted. She wanted the perfect experience for her players. Her players noticed and they became part of the marketing and sales effort too.
- Money management was critical. Sometimes she didn’t get paid. She collected immediately, not a week later, Not two weeks. Immediately, as in right away.
- Molly knew a thing or two about core values and credibility. I don’t ever recall Molly’s credibility ever being challenged. Forget Toby Maguire. He doesn’t count. Plus, you may never want to watch another one of his movies after this read.
I’ll be revisiting this book down the road. There’s substance in this book. While the book may not be even 50% related to your finance work, it’s a worthy read.
We read to be entertained, to be inspired, or to learn something new when we read books. This book hit all three elements.
I was certainly entertained as I had a hard time putting the book down. Molly’s story is also inspiring because the final chapter has not been written. She’ll be impacting men and women around the world for years to come.
Finally, I learned about a life that never existed. My high school poker games are far behind me, and I don’t plan on starting again. But I did read and just finished Fortune’s Formula as a result of reading this book. Accordingly, Molly’s Game tugged at my intellectual curiosity.
Thumbs up and five stars out of five.
Title Photo by Keenan Constance