A Vegas Local’s Take on “Winner Takes All”

winner takes all

My friend and journalist Richard Abowitz suggested I read this book. Since he has been writing about Vegas forever, I took his advice. The book was so good that I now want you to take his advice.

Despite the fact that Winner is non-fiction I couldn’t put it down. Christina Binkley, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, achieved what every high school history teacher dreams of: She made history exciting. Sure she may have misspelled Danny Gans’ name once and there are rumors that she mixed up a few dates, but the book is indelible.

Basically, it explains what happened in the last 10-odd years to make Vegas what it is today. But mainly it’s a psychological portrait of the title’s three moguls. I’ve lived in Vegas for a year now and I’ve always felt like I arrived in the middle of a conversation. This book gave me an understanding of what I’ve been missing.

The only complaint I had was that this book didn’t have a satisfying conclusion. It seemed to stop instead of end. Certainly, the fortunes of Vegas has shifted since the book was published in 2008. If you’d like an update, check out this fascinating article in the Las Vegas Sun, which interviews three retired casino execs about the Big Crash.

I’d recommend this book to people who like: Las Vegas | business and development | a fast-paced non-fiction book | wheeling & dealing | an understanding of modern American pop culture

But don’t take my word for it, read these reviews:

Liz Benston in the Las Vegas Sun

– David G. Schwartz on his Vegas Blog, The Die is Cast

Steve Friess in USA Today

Tara McKelvey in the New York Times

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