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A Bigger Prize: Why Competition isn't Everything and How We Do Better Paperback – 27 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (27 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471100758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471100758
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 238,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MARGARET HEFFERNAN is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive and author. She was born in Texas, raised in Holland and educated at Cambridge University. She worked in BBC Radio for five years where she wrote, directed, produced and commissioned dozens of documentaries and dramas. As a television producer, she made documentary films for Timewatch, Arena, and Newsnight. She was one of the producers of Out of the Doll's House, the prize-winning documentary series about the history of women in the twentieth century. She designed and executive produced a thirteen part series on The French Revolution for the BBC and A&E. The series featured, among others, Alan Rickman, Alfred Molina, Janet Suzman, Simon Callow and Jim Broadbent and introduced both historian Simon Schama and playwright Peter Barnes to British television. She also produced music videos with Virgin Records and the London Chamber Orchestra to raise attention and funds for Unicef's Lebanese fund.

Leaving the BBC, she ran the trade association IPPA, which represented the interests of independent film and television producers and was once described by the Financial Times as "the most formidable lobbying organization in England."

In 1994, she returned to the United States where she worked on public affair campaigns in Massachusetts and with software companies trying to break into multimedia. She developed interactive multimedia products with Peter Lynch, Tom Peters, Standard & Poors and The Learning Company. She then joined CMGI where she ran, bought and sold leading Internet businesses, serving as Chief Executive Officer for InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and iCAST Corporation. She was named one of the Internet's Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999, one of the Top 25 by Streaming Media magazine and one of the Top 100 Media Executives by The Hollywood Reporter. Her "Tear Down the Wall" campaign against AOL won the 2001 Silver SABRE award for public relations.

In 2004, Margaret published THE NAKED TRUTH: A Working Woman's Manifesto about Business and What Really Matters (Jossey-Bass) and in 2007 she brought out WOMEN ON TOP: How Female Entrepreneurs are Changing the Rules for Business Success. She is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at Simmons College in Boston and Executive in Residence at Babson College. She sits on the Council of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the UK as well as one the boards of several private companies. Margaret blogs for the Huffington Post and BNET and writes for magazines around the world. She was recently featured on television in The Secret Millionaire and on radio in Changing the Rules. She has written three plays for the BBC and is just starting her fourth. She is married with two children.

WHY WILFUL BLINDNESS?
As the banks were melting down, I kept wondering: Why did no one see this coming? I could see it, many people around me could see it. That the world was running on debt was plain to many people. So why were we so surprised? And then I thought: this feeling is familiar. That sensation of knowing something and not knowing something. Skeletons in cupboards. Emperors new clothes. The elephant in the room. The idea that you're safe as long as you don't recognize the one thing that truly threatens you. I'd seen it in people who smoked and knew they shouldn't, others who never opened their credit card bills, in marriages where you knew one of them was having an affair. And I suddenly realized: that's what it is. In some walk of life, we are all wilfully blind. And I started to wonder: How exactly does that work....?

Product Description

Review

'Universally relevant and hard to fault, this is an important contribution to an expanding genre'

'thought-provoking...she spares nobody' --The Financial Times

About the Author

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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Judith Derbyshire on 9 April 2014
Format: Paperback
The thesis of this book is that competition in its most extreme form is destructive and unhelpful. The chapters are wide ranging and cover all types of competition. I felt hugely for the Olympic hopefuls who devote every waking hour of their irreplaceable teenage years to shaving seconds off their speeds in a particular sport, to the detriment of their social life and development, and often putting enormous strains on their bodies, which will give them problems for the rest of their lives. And for what? The tiny chance of a gold, and the even tinier chance that they will become a "name" from which they can subsequently make a living.
Competition is encouraged by the regulatory environment and also between and within Companies. The saddest examples are of companies where no-one will help a colleague, who is actually seen as a competitor. Someone else's success comes at your cost.
Whilst this sounds (and is) very gloomy, the book has lots of examples of better ways of doing things. Collaboration is tough, and does not necessarily get the leader branded a hero, but it works.
I have read a lot of business books recently - this is a business book but a lot more. The style of most business books is dire. Thank goodness this one is well and clearly written but assumes the reader is intelligent. The book's conclusions are thoroughly researched and not handed to the reader on a plate in a few simple short chapters. Life is a bit more complicated than that.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. A. L on 10 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Margaret Heffernan's belief, based on her years of experience as a business woman, interviewer of others in business and after extensive research, is that high achievement and success in business and other walks of life, is often better attained through cooperation rather than through competition.

I found the book engrossing and the broad range of examples given are very well chosen. The level of research cited is impressive and the fact that this book is written by a business woman who understands the need for businesses to be financially succesful help this book to be very down to earth. It is about time that someone exploded the myth that competition is the only way forward. There are other, much more effective routes. I'm very glad I read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Philip Raby on 21 April 2014
Format: Paperback
I read this at the same time as Malcolm Gladwell's most recent book, David and Goliath, and it is interesting to compare their ways of approaching a subject. They are similar writers in that they work in the field of popular sociology, using stories to illustrate their meaning and purpose. But whereas Gladwell seems to find an interesting collection of stories and then construct a more or less coherent narrative around them, Heffernan starts from a thesis and then finds ways of exemplifying her points vis accounts from people she has spoken to. In this way, her book feels stronger because it is more thought through. And Heffernan's subject is more important and comprehensive. Try telling people that collaboration is not just morally more appealing than competition, but actually more efficient, and see their reaction. Some will agree, others will argue the point. Either way, it is a subject of great importance given the way the world is today - and the book could hardly be more timely.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This may be categorised primarily as a business book but it goes so much deeper than that. This is a book that makes you look again and re-evaluate the way we live our lives everyday.

Margaret carefully examines competition within education, home life, business, sport and science with intelligence and insight. It's clear that a huge amount of research went into this book and the cross section of people who have contributed is staggering. Potter Emma Bridgwater, Head of RADA Edward Kemp, and Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, to name only a few.

A Bigger Prize is that rare thing; a non-fiction page turner. I was fascinated from start to finish and amazed at the amount that I learnt. You'll be hard pressed to put it down, but when you do you'll want to change the world all at once.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By angelaneustatter on 24 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Each chapter takes you into a new world in which assessing our value system, and our personal ethics and concerns is thrown into fascinating relief. Thought provoking and beautifully written
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