Thanks for that, JL! I am going to go ahead and buy the BP book.
Also, in case anyone else is interested, I found this really informative review by Daily Double in this thread:
Daily_Double wrote:Here's my review, thought I'd post it so everyone knows how BP stacks up to MLG and LGB.
Just finished the book today. I have been studying for the LSAT for awhile, probably too long, and this book was a much needed breath of fresh air. First I'll outline what I feel summarizes the best parts of the book, then I'll introduce my opinion of how the BP LG book stacks up to the competition, I'll give you a hint, it does well. The mental back and forth between the student and the fictional characters was not only hilarious but also educational, because many of the suggestions from some of these characters illustrate the pitfalls that the typical student falls into during games. In addition to the characters, the most valuable part of the book was the approach to the games, I don't mean theoretical, but in terms of teaching. It's one thing to do a game and learn form your mistakes, but it's another thing entirely to be lead through them. This book does a phenominal job of simulating a classroom environment, while at the same time offering the advantages of self study.
In the interest of full disclosure, I've been through LGB and MLG twice, I took a class, and I've been through a majority of the published games. There are two issues here, first is that I've gotten very good at the games, and second that it's been awhile, at least four months, since I read Powerscore and Manhattan. Now the first issue, might not seem like much, but since prep books, like yours and the ones above, assume that the reader is either not good at games or is just beginning to get good at them, I found most of the beginning material, especially ordering games, far too easy. That being said, I did reinforce many of the concepts and drills that I have been doing, so even though they were easy, doing them probably helped in some small way. Second, this issue sort of ties back into the first, it's been awhile since I've done the books, this is mainly an issue because I'm describing the differences and similarities from memory.
Now on to the good stuff, similarities and differences. To begin with, the glaring difference between BP and Manhattan and Powerscore is the approach BP uses to teach. Whereas BP uses a step by step approach, Powerscore and Manhttan throw games at the student then show them what they should have done. In addition, Powerscore was dense to read, Manhattan did a better job of this, although BP takes the cake. It's almost as if the student is speaking to someone, and that person is as funny as Louis C.K. Very easy to read, good job. On to the specifics, all three books employ a similar approach to ordering games, BP and Manhattan use the same diagramming method for this game type, whereas Powerscore uses an overly complex system of greater than/less than (>/<) symbols to represent who must go before who. In terms of grouping games, again Powerscore lags behind here, mostly because of its unwavering reliance upon its diagramming methods. I'm going to spend a little bit more time on this, so Powerscore uses biconditionals to not only illustrate relationships but also to diagram, this becomes difficult to read when you're taking the contrapositive of a logic chain. However, I do like the method for diagramming rules. BP uses biconditionals in just that way, written next to the rules to show a relationship, then uses basic logic to diagram the rules. While diagramming logical relationships purely in the form of the given rule and the contrapositive might be an advanced technique, I think it's the best approach to use, especially for In - Out games. Manhattan makes a leap here and uses an overly complicated, and time consuming, logic tree to illustrate relationships for In - Out games, but other than that, BP and Manhattan are very similar.
So in summary, there's not a bunch of differences between the books here in terms of theory, however in terms of teaching methods, BP is far superior, in addition, BP is very straightforward. Manhattan suggests a few new methods, some of which are valuable, specifically Manhattan's Open Board Method of diagramming open grouping games, which is in my opinion better, although very similar to the way BP solves June 2004, game 4 (p372), but other than the Open Board Method, Manhattans really just congests students' heads by suggesting time consuming and unnecessary ways to solve problems.
So would I change anything about the BP book? And again, I'm not the typical student that you're probably marketing towards since I'm a little far into prep to crack another book, but if I had to make a change to the book, I'd make the games more difficult. At the end of the book, BP recommends specific problems, some of which are labeled a difficulty level of 4, some 5. I'd suggest including all of those problems labeled four or five. In addition, one thing I really liked about Manhattan's LG book was the challenge. At the beginning of every chapter was a game, the book challenged you to do the game in less than eight minutes. The rest of that chapter was devoted to similar games and at the end of the chapter, the book challenged you to do the game in less time than before, then the book would walk you through the games. I'd recommend BP upping the difficultly level a little bit and making the book more challenging in terms of material and teaching
So that's it for me, I want to thank you for letting me have a copy of the book and if you would like more information on my review or on specific parts of it, please let me know. Good luck with the books, I'm sure you'll be reprinting more very quickly.