Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Of The Week - Repeat Until Rich by Josh Axelrad

Below is my take on a book I read this weekend entitled, "Repeat Until Rich - A Professional Card Counter's Chronicle Of The Blackjack Wars" by Josh Axelrad (just published by The Penguin Press).

Repeat Until Rich is a chronicle of professional black jack card counting but it is also (and importantly) much more than that. It is also a story of redemption, a coming of age story and a story of Recovery and the things about one's self that we have to admit in order to live up to (in the case of author, Josh Axelrad) one's prodigious talents. To realize that the unconscious exercise of talent can be a type of seduction and escape.

Axelrad could have been writing about himself when he writes of his youthful impressions of his step-Uncle, Eric, "He claims to have spent ten years, until he was thirty, utterly adrift, selling jewelry at fairs as a wandering hippie, but then he went to law school. He told the story in a way that made law school sound as if it took him four weeks. Then suddenly he was rich. He sold insurance to companies who in turn sold insurance to others. I'd had the impression he'd done it all on a laptop in his basement...He went from hippie to kazilionaire. He made it seem effortless, random." But as young Axelrad wonders, "..."there must have been more to him than that."

Like his Uncle Eric, Axelrad self presents in a way that can leave you scratching your head at his life of card counting but in this very moving memoir courageously shows us that there is much more to him than that.

This is the story of a young man who became a very good writer, and in the process, (you can imagine him cringing at the sound of this), grew up.

(Full Disclosure: Josh Axelrad is a family member).

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