A very good book on swimming comparable to Aldo Nadi on fencing or Bacon on speculation or Wiswell on checkers or Caples on advertising or Williams on trading or Tilden on spin of ball is The Science of Swimming by James E. Counsilman. It was given to me by John Floyd. Everything is tested. What other great books on their fields have carry over value or are beautiful in themselves?

Ken Drees writes:

Trout by Ray Bergman

Jeff Watson writes:

Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling. A true masterpiece.

Herb Cohen's You Can Negotiate Anything has probably saved me $200,000 in my lifetime. It is also a true masterpiece though poorly written.

Ken Drees writes:

If this book string gets larger lets get some kind "greatest books" recommended list archived for the spec site.

Victor Niederhoffer writes:

Good idea. I'd like to make dailyspec a little better and more useful as it's shameful that we have so much good within us and we are like a ship passing in the night. 

Tim Melvin writes:

 Anyone who has not yet read Louis L'Amour's Education of a Wandering Man should do so at once.

Jeff Watson adds:

Not to shamelessly plug my blog , but I have several sections devoted to free book downloads. One section is on old books about trading and Markets…I have Bacon's book in there. One is a section on Classics that you might have slept through in college, I also have a selection of Nock, H. L Mencken, and Darwin. Feel free to peruse.

John Floyd writes:

Karate: Technique and Spirit
by Tadashi Nakamura

John Tierney writes:

For the younger (much younger) generations:

The Dangerous Book for Boys
by Hal Iggulden

For graduates, instead of the popular but worn, "If…"

Message to Garcia
by Elbert Hubbard

William Weaver writes:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Strategy in Poker, Business & War by John McDonald and Robert Osborn

The Broker's Edge; How to sell securities in any market by Steven Drozdeck and Karl Gretz

The last book is the only one that should need an introduction. It was definitely written with a desired purpose, but the methods described within can be used across most any social situation. Also, the original edition of How to Win Friends and Influence People has a chapter about writing letters in business that is not included in the versions since– definitely worth looking for.

Anton Johnson writes:

 Selling The Invisible by Harry Beckwith

Chock-full of lively anecdotes and short stories, Beckwith's engaging style and muted humor softens this typically dry subject matter. Although described as "A Field Guide to Modern Marketing", there are abundant philosophical lessons, applicable to personal relationships, speculation and beyond.

Jay Pasch writes:

The Baseball Codes by Jason Turbow is one such book to consider:

Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. What truly governs the Major League game is a set of unwritten rules, some of which are openly discussed, and some of which only a minority of players are even aware of. Old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game's most hallowed-and least known traditions. At the heart of this book are incredible and often hilarious stories involving national heroes in a century-long series of confrontations over respect, honor, and the soul of the game…

Victor Niederhoffer adds:

It's a given that Martin Shubik 's recommendation of the best book on trading as Horse Trading by Ben Greene should be up in the pantheon. 

Alan Millhone writes:

Fortman's Basic Checkers. It is long out of print, but a classic studied by all classes of players.

Larry Williams writes:

For advertising, any copy books by Clyde Beddell–of the Caples school. Clyde also traded up until his death he did a remarkable job on the Urantia book.

Alston Mabry adds:

On wrestling, A Season on the Mat: Dan Gable and the Pursuit of Perfection by Nolan Zavora

Amazon.com Review

Had Dan Gable played baseball or basketball instead of wrestled, not only would ad campaigns have been built around him, but also a wing in the hall of fame. Gable, a true athletic icon, dominated his sport–a virtually obscure one by American standards–as no one has before or since. An Olympic champion, Gable was virtually unbeatable. As a coach, he's been dauntingly invincible. His Iowa Hawkeyes have won 10 straight national championships–15 altogether–and every Big 10 title in the sport since Gable took over the program in the mid-1970s. A Season on the Mat is the engrossing narrative of Iowa's 1996-97 Cinderella season, Gable's finale as coach, and the intriguing hold wrestling has on its participants. Still, Gable is the clear star here. With drama and pathos, author Nolan Zavoral profiles him as a fiercely driven and competitive man, wracked by physical and emotional pain as he grapples with the life-altering decisions that he knows it's time to make.

Jim Sogi writes: 

On my 'great' list: 

Living with Children by G. Patterson

Parents and Adolescents by G. Patterson

Conan The Conqueror by R. Howard

Alston Mabry adds:

A rich source of interesting how-to is books on food and cooking. Here are some I have found to have great usefulness and depth:

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

Roasting-A Simple Art by Barbara Kafka, Maria Robledo

Outlaw Cook by John Thorne 

The Way to Cook by Julia Child





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