This review was written by Eugene Kernes
Chess is more than just a game, it is a mindset. Chess provides a way of thinking that can be beneficial to everyday life. Such as influencing the outcome of a situation by applying strategies. Planning ahead orients decisions to conform with set goals. Which facilitates control of what happens, rather than life just happening. Strategy involves utilizing available resources towards an objective. Adjusting the objective to become realistic and achievable. Strategy involves a conflict between interest and resolution. Strategy allows the individual to overcome obstacles. Much like in chess, the more information is known, the more informed strategies become. A way to obtain more information is by looking at situations from different perspectives. Becoming a strategic thinker requires the individual to know one’s self. This book being a general guide to getting to know one’s self, to obtain self-knowledge.
This book is easy to read, but has many inconsistencies. The basic premise is to use chess skills in real life. The problem is that chess and life have different complexities. In chess, rules rarely change. Learned rules can easily apply to future scenarios. While in life, rules change quickly. What was successful recently, cannot easily become applicable moving forward. Life cannot be manipulated as pieces in chess.
Part of the book requires a bit of cognitive dissonance, or maybe the language needs to be made more consistent. The cognitive dissonance comes how much control an individual has over their lives. From seeing the outcome of a plan static and trying to fulfill it, but also being fluid. As in that the individual can control the outcome, but also not really. There is an acknowledgement that the future is uncertain, but most claims are for controlling an outcome. Individual’s may have some control over their lives, but the book reads as if individual’s control everything about their lives.
This book sets up many self-help guidelines. The problem is that they can help or can hurt. There are many different ways of achieving some of the general claims of self-help virtues, but different people will need to find their own way of achieving them. The tasks need to be put in context with individual values.