You can learn almost anything from a book. Strange and niche titles like Doug Richmon’s How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found and Chad Orzel’s How to Teach Physics to Your Dog are just two of the millions of very narrowly focused publications.
If you’re someone who plays games, you may not immediately consider books as a good place to learn about your chosen discipline. But for almost every game, be it centuries-old or contemporary, you’ll find publications that will help you learn everything there is to know about a game and its mechanics, different strategies, or even the history behind how it was created.
Of the almost endless options, here are some of the best gaming books ever written.
Table of Contents
Poker is one of the most popular card games played today. Its roots can be traced back several centuries, with similar games existing in many of the biggest and most influential nations and empires of history. However, it developed into the game we know today in the early 20th century after Europeans exported it to the United States.
Since then Texas hold’em has taken over as the most commonly played variant of the game and features heavily in online poker and in live tournaments like the World Series of Poker.
Being so old and so popular, there is a huge demand for books about poker that cover every possible aspect of the game from “systems” of play through to psychology. Of these, Mike Caro’s Book of Tells is up there as one of the best.
Aimed at casual players and beginners, the book examines all of the different types of behaviours you’re likely to see at a poker table and how to interpret them. It’s almost 40 years old, so some of the information is a little out of date, but the majority of the examples remain just as valid today.
Grand Theft Auto is one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. The latest release, GTA V is the second-best-selling title ever released, with more than 150 million units shifted.
There have been dozens of books about the series, including the official Brady Games Strategy Guides that were released alongside each game. However, Jacked is not a book that goes into much detail about how to be a better player. Instead, most of its focus is on how Grand Theft Auto became such a successful video game franchise and what its creators did to get it there.
Sam and Dan Houser were the brains behind GTA. David Kusher has tried to understand the factors that influenced the brothers to create a game that has continually pushed the boundaries of gaming, both technically and societally. It examines the continual battles with game rating bodies, lawsuits, and news reports that attempted to place culpability for real-world crimes on Grand Theft Auto.
Of all the books published about Grand Theft Auto Jacked is regularly cited as one of the best and most in-depth.
Chess is a game that’s even older than poker. It is believed to go back more than 1,000 years when a similar game was played in India, though historians like to debate its exact origins.
It’s one of the most popular board games in the world and is enjoyed by people of all ages. It can be learned relatively quickly but takes a lifetime to master and, like poker, and solitaire, chess tournaments are played right across the globe.
Also like poker, hundreds of books about chess exist, looking at every element and how to improve it. How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman is a standout example of this.
Through it, Silman talks about imbalances in play and how to take advantage of them to gain mastery in the game. It’s for experienced players who want to take their game to the next level.
It’s heavy, so don’t expect to fly through it in a few hours. Instead, you’ll spend a long time reading, contemplating, and then practising the points that Silman discusses. In doing so, you’ll become a much better player.