A Bigger Prize: Why Competition Isn't Everything and How We Do Better

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Simon and Schuster, Feb 27, 2014 - Business & Economics - 400 pages
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The Olympics. Britain's Got Talent. The Rich List. The Nobel Prize.
Everywhere you look: competition - for fame, money, attention, status.

We depend on competition and expect it to identify the best, make complicated decisions easy and, most of all, to motivate the lazy and inspire the dreamers. How has that worked out so far?

Rising levels of fraud, cheating, stress, inequality and political stalemates abound. Siblings won't speak to each other they're so rivalrous. Kids can't make friends because they don't want to cede their top class ranking to their fellow students. (Their parents don't want them to either.) The richest men in the world sulk when they fall a notch or two in the rich list. Doping proliferates among athletes.

Auditors and fund managers go to jail for insider trading. Our dog-eat-dog culture has decimated companies, incapacitated collaborators and sown distrust. Winners take all while the desire to win consumes all, inciting panic and despair.

Just as we have learned that individuals aren't rational and markets aren't efficient but went ahead operating as though they were, we now know that competition quite regularly doesn't work, the best do not always rise to the top and the so-called efficiency of competition throws off a very great deal of waste. It might be comforting to designate these 'perverse outcomes' but as aberrations mount, they start to look more like a norm.

It doesn't have to be that way. Around the world, individuals and organizations are finding creative, collaborative ways to work that don't pit people against each other but support them in their desire to work together. While the rest of the world remains mired in pitiless sniping, racing to the bottom, the future belongs to the people and companies who have learned that they are greater working together than against one another. Some call that soft but it's harder than anything they've done before. They are the real winners.
  

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Contents

Introduction
Personal Best
Oh Brother
Making the Grade
The MorningAfter 4 Angry Birds
Keeping Score
The Business of Winning
Clone Wars
Supersize Everything
How Low Can We
Top oftheWorld 11 A Bigger Prize
Notes Bibliography Index
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

MARGARET HEFFERNAN was born in Texas, raised in Holland and educated at Cambridge University. She worked in BBC Radio as a television producer, before leaving to run the trade association IPPA. She returned to the US where she worked on public affair campaigns and with software companies trying to break into multimedia. She then joined CMGI where she ran, bought and sold leading Internet businesses. She is a visiting professor and Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Bath. She is the author of The Naked Truth and How She Does It, and Wilful Blindness. She writes a regular column for Real Business and the Huffington Post.

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