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For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business [Paperback]

Kevin Werbach
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Oct 2012
Take your business to the next level FOR THE WIN. Millions flock to their computers, consoles, mobile phones, tablets, and social networks each day to play World of Warcraft, Farmville, Scrabble, and countless other games, generating billions in sales each year. The careful and skillful construction of these games is built on decades of research into human motivation and psychology: A well-designed game goes right to the motivational heart of the human psyche. For the Win, authors Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter argue persuasively that gamemakers need not be the only ones benefiting from game design. Werbach and Hunter are lawyers and World of Warcraft players who created the world's first course on gamification at the Wharton School. In their book, they reveal how game thinking - addressing problems like a game designer - can motivate employees and customers and create engaging experiences that can transform your business. For the Win reveals how a wide range of companies are successfully using game thinking. It also offers an explanation of when gamifying makes the most sense and a 6-step framework for using games for marketing, productivity enhancement, innovation, employee motivation, customer engagement, and more. In this illuminating guide, Werbach and Hunter reveal how game thinking can yield winning solutions to real-world business problems. Let the games begin!

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Product details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Wharton Digital Press (30 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613630239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613630235
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Video games now have the dubious honour of having inspired their own management craze. Called 'gamification,' it aims to take principles from video games and apply them to serious tasks. The latest book on the subject, For the Win, comes from Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter, from the Wharton Business School and the New York Law School respectively...[T]heir central idea--that the world might be a better place if work was less of a necessary drudge and more of a rewarding experience in itself--is hard to argue with." --The Economist "Here's a conversion worthy of a Transformers movie: Take buttoned-down, MBA-toting business professionals and turn them into video game designers. That's the goal of a new book about Gamification, changing behavior of employees and customers by appealing to their sense of fun and their competitive instinct, video game style. The co-author of For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business is Dan Hunter, who runs New York Law School's Institute for Information Law and Society. He says gamification done right is about meaningful competition." --David Brancaccio, Marketplace, American Public Radio "Werbach and Hunter aren't playing around with this book on how to add the joy of gaming to your enterprise. This is a quick but thoughtful look into the pros and cons of gamification, what works and what doesn't, with plenty of insight into what really motivates and engages customers and employees." --Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind "For the Win is a total win! In the 21st century, business must shift from push to pull to get the best out of their employees and to entice their customers. This book brilliantly explains how to design and use gamification techniques to that end. I highly recommend this useful and fun to read book." --John Seely Brown, Coauthor of The Power of Pull and A New Culture of Learning; Co-chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge; Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation and Director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) "If you want to understand one of the most important trends in business today, go out and buy For the Win. Werbach and Hunter reveal the secrets to powering up your organization through game thinking. Read this book. It's a game changer." --Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group; Co-author of Do More Faster "If you prefer realism to hype and rationality to bandwagons, this is the gamification book for you. As a work about gamification today, this book is excellent; as a work about gamification tomorrow, it's staggeringly excellent." --Richard Bartle, Professor, University of Essex; Creator of MUD1, the first multiplayer online game; Author of Designing Virtual Worlds "Like gamification, this book is a fusion of human nature and good design. Far and away the best book on the subject, with the most examples and the best intellectual grasp of the topics." --Bing Gordon, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; former Chief Creative Officer, Electronic Arts "Every business executive, small business owner and public servant should read this book; the public and private benefits would be enormous. I'm not kidding. If you're even half as blown away as I was by For the Win, it'll be your best book purchase of the year. Applying 'game thinking' to everyday life might just change... well, everything. Read the book and you'll see what I mean." --Jessica Mulligan, Online game pioneer and co-founder, Themis Group "For the Win is the perfect title, because businesses that understand these techniques will be the standout winners in their markets. Do yourself a favor and read this deep yet practical guide before your competitors do." --Rajat Paharia, Founder and Chief Product Officer, Bunchball "A wonderfully written, funny, and timely work. Should be required reading for anyone pursing a modern undertaking utilizing these concepts. As the concept of 'gamifying' continues to grow, the importance of this text will continue to emerge." --Professor Andrew Phelps, Director, School of Interactive Games & Media, Rochester Institute of Technology "For the Win hits a home run in illustrating the business value of gamification for both small and large companies across the globe." --Kris Duggan, CEO, Badgeville "An entertaining and immensely practical guide to this rich managerial opportunity." --Philip Evans, Senior Partner, Managing Director, and BCG Fellow, Boston Consulting Group; co-author of Blown to Bits "In For the Win, Werbach and Hunter eloquently and practically explain how to apply one of the most important shifts in our cognitive models." --Joichi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab "For the Win is the smartest book written on the practical potential of gamification. With eyes wide open to both the promise and the risks inherent in yoking business practices to the power of play, Hunter and Werbach may have singlehandedly saved gamification from collapsing under the weight of its own hype." --Julian Dibbell, author of Play Money and My Tiny Life

About the Author

Kevin Werbach is an associate professor of legal studies and business ethics at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also the founder of the Supernova Group, a technology analysis and consulting firm. He co-led the review of the Federal Communications Commission for the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Called "one of the few policy wonks who really got it" by Wired, he helped develop the United States Government's e-commerce policy, shaped the FCC's approach to Internet issues, and authored Digital Tornado, the first comprehensive analysis of the implications of the Internet. A sought-after speaker and commentator, Werbach appears frequently in print and broadcast media including CNN, CNBC, NPR, ABC News, USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. His writing has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Fortune, The Industry Standard, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Slate, among other publications. He blogs at http://werblog.com and tweets at @kwerb. Dan Hunter is an expert in internet law, intellectual property, and the application of games to public policy arenas. He is a professor of law at New York Law School and the director of the school's Institute for Information Law & Policy. He is also an adjunct associate professor of legal studies at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. His research has appeared in journals such as the California Law Review, the Texas Law Review, the William & Mary Law Review, and the Journal of Legal Education. Hunter is a judge for the resolution of domain name disputes for the World Intellectual Property Organization, and is on the editorial board of numerous journals. He was one of the first scholars to examine the social significance of virtual worlds, and he co-founded the scholarly blog Terra Nova (terranova.blogs.com).

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the authors of this book is the professor at the Wharton School who runs the online gamification course. I bought the book to get a good grounding in a new subject before I started the course. And it does its job and it is clearly written and the theme is developed well.

If I have any hesitation it is about the extent to which gamification knows exactly what it is beyond badges, points, and leaderboards.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For The Win has many superior features. For someone, like me, who is relatively new to the topic, it serves to break the ice and make initial introductions. It is easy to read in the sense that it contains almost nothing in the form of high-level geek speak or business jargon. The inclusion of a glossary was a superb idea.

The authors are careful not to present gamification as a magic potion for every business ill (p. 43). They are clear in their definitions of what gamification is (p. 26, 36) and isn't (i.e. building a game - 27/8). They insist that a certain type of game thinking lies at the basis of successful gamification projects, not just a throwing in of a lot of game elements ('PBLs'). This game thinking is hard work, as much an art as a science.

Werbach and Hunter are explicit and brutal on what gamification can become at its worst ('pointsification' - 105-7). "Don't think of gamification as a cheap marketing trick: think of it as a deep and subtle engagement technique. A substantial percentage of the gamificatione exmaples in the wild today are just pointsification." (107)

But, I'm left wondering, with all these qualifications, is gamification that revolutionary after all? Well, it turns out, gamificaiton "may" turn out to be revolutionary, although it is at least fascinating (13). OK, so I admire their honesty, but my initial enthusiasm is somewhat dampened. This doubles when I learn that "some examples of gamification are only game-like in the vaguest sense." (40) Their "impact varies" (45).

As they put it, "If gamification is just a gloss on existing marketing or management practices, or traditional rewards in shiny packages, it won't produce any added value." (11) True story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars gamification explained in a few words 20 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is well written and to the point. It will give you a great insight on when and when not to use gamification
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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful introduction to gamification 8 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book provides a very useful and fairly easy introduction to gamification, which is a developing issue in many business and organizational contexts. Prof. Werbach is a very knowledgeable specialist within gamification and its application.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The book is ok 7 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An introduction and 'business school' style presentation of some ideas and theories surrounding the use of game concepts in general business contexts. Depth is sacrificed for simplicity but simplicity is perhaps too shallow and trivialises what should be a deeply interesting subject matter...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Frank Carver VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is squarely in the category of business books which provide an introduction to and evaluation of a field rather than rather than teaching you how to actually do it yourself. That's not to say that it is superficial - it does go in to more detail than any other business book I have found on this topic area, particularly in its coverage of aspects of gamification beyond the common points, badges and leaderboards.

Where it runs out is on the details of implementation. The book is overflowing with ideas and inspiration, and certainly provides you with the understanding to recognize and evaluate gamification when you encounter it, but it provides little or no help in producing a gamified system once you get beyond the stage of brainstorming product ideas on a whiteboard. To take these ideas into existence needs a rare combination of gamification vision and specific development skills (app development, web development, marketing campaign development and so on.

Despite its limitations, I'd still recommend this book if you have maybe heard the name or idea of gamification and want to know what it can offer and whether its right for your business or project.
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