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The Kids are Alright: How the Gamer Generation is Changing the Workplace Paperback – 1 Nov 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press; 1 edition (1 Nov. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422104354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422104354
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.6 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,679,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Got Game deserves credit for drawing attention to an 200 bright and breezy pages." -- The Financial Times, 21 October, 2004 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John C. Beck is President of North Star Leadership Group, Senior Advisor at Monitor Group, and Senior Research Fellow at UCLA’s Center for Communication Policy. He is coauthor of The Attention Economy (HBS Press, 2001).

Mitchell Wade develops information tools and strategy for firms like Google, RAND, and Charles Schwab. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It's not often that a book about a series of interviews, correlation and causation and other scientamific subjects turns out to be a page-turner. As proven in the sentence before I'm not even a native English speaker, and I read the book like there was no tomorrow. The conclusions they drew are astounding and profoundly changed my way of thinking about games and their influence on society. At the very least it makes for great discussion material.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 34 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Cheat codes for managing gamers 10 Nov. 2004
By Graeme from Waltham, MA - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a book comparing the attitudes and work habits of two groups of people: those who grew up playing video games and those who didn't. The basis of the book, the jumping off point for Beck and Wade's analysis, is a *lot* of data collected in surveys by the authors. The analysis is based on how much gaming you did growing up, not how much you do now -- I don't get credit for my mastery of Rise of Nations. That makes sense given the number of hours involved. I'm fifty-two, I was old when the first computer games came out, but my children don't know a world without them. They have literally thousands of hours more gaming experience than I do.

You can call this a generation gap -- the authors analyze the data by age as well as gaming experience -- but over and over again the data suggest that gaming is more important than age. I can see the parts of my own personality that resonate with games, blowing away monsters as well as solving puzzles in resource allocation, but that's a coincidence reinforced by choosing games I like. My children, the data say, have been molded by games.

Have you ever used a slide rule? My father used one routinely, but although I know how, I've never used one to solve a real problem. It's just not part of my conceptual tool bag. When you bump into a business problem, do you reach for a metaphorical slide rule, recall a metaphor from Wordsworth, or make a list? Gamers hit a key or button or mouse, and they do it as fast as they can. Trial and error (and speed!) have been built in to their wiring from their first video game on. That's not the only characteristic discussed in the book. There's a list of twenty in the introduction, including expecting the world to be simple, logical, structured, rapidly learnable, forgiving of error, fair and ultimately solvable.

You can argue about what a terrible thing this is, just like the ancient Romans complained about sloppy togas on their teens. Trial and error wouldn't have built the interstate highway system, got us to the moon, etc., etc. But trial and error is an excellent strategy for taking advantage of a rapidly changing environment. I could quote the control theory to back this up, but that's the point: gamers would have tried four or fourteen or forty new ideas while I was building the model.

Beck and Wade analyze the data, illuminate the differences that gamers bring to a business environment, untangle benefits from prejudices and discuss how managers can manage and motivate gamers to take advantage of these benefits. Even if the idea of yet another corporate team-building exercise makes your skin crawl, you're better off knowing how your younger colleagues think. The book is an excellent combination of data and discussion, so it should be useful and accessible to anyone. Other than gamers, of course; they never read the manual.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
You'll either love it or hate it. I loved it. 3 May 2005
By J. David Evans - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To start, it's not about how it's OK to hole-up and game all day. But it does make a solid case for gaming---and that means your current point-of-view is to going to quickly shape your reaction to this book. But hang in there...because you really can't ignore the truth of the impact on risk-taking, perseverance, innovation...and it's role in shaping managers. No matter how you feel about gaming...and whether you game or not...this book provides and insightful look into what's shaping the next crop of managers. Resource scarcity shaped my grandfather; the boundless optimism of the 50s shaped my Dad. TV and "instant solutions" (read "this quarter...") shaped me. Games are shaping my son. I think he's the one to watch.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Hiring Business Executives Who Play Video Games 30 Jun. 2005
By Garth Frizzell - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The video game generation is growing up. If video gamers have not applied for a management position posted at your company, they soon will. When they do, will you know how many of the stereotypes of video gamers are based on fact? After all, we have received decades of hyperbole on the bad effects of video gaming. In Got Game, Harvard researchers Beck and Wade give a refreshing, social-scientific treatment of the topic. They definitively argue that gaming is not an embarrassment in your employee. In fact, if you agree with Got Game's message, you will find yourself adding "video gaming" to the list of desired skills on your next management job posting.

The book is relevant to business in my locale, central British Columbia. The conclusions are based on interviews with hundreds of business professionals in the United States, and the demographics are close enough a fit to give useful insights here. Got Game gives a roadmap to the behaviours a video gamer will bring into management.

The key insights this book asserts about gamers are:

* The gamer is comfortable in a world where they are the centre of the process. Video game entertainment is designed to make customers the center of an experience, so the concept of "the customer is always right" is ingrained early on in the gamer. Gamers are used to making decisions that have life-and-death impact; and the gamer is confident - after all, in games, they are the expert.

* For those growing up in the gamer generation, the world is not so big anymore. Gamers assume there is always a solution, "it just may be hard to find on this level"; gamers are more comfortable than others in adjusting to new contexts - they can be surfing one minute, and strategizing against Napoleon the next; and gamers suffer less from ego-bruising - after all, trial-and-error is always the best methodology.

* Gamers relate very well to others. Playing video games is no longer an isolating pastime - it is a new and extremely prevalent way to socialize. Gamers see relationships as structured, but are able to switch between structures easily and confidently. One minute the gamer is the sworn enemy, the next she is telling her brother the secrets to get to the next level. One moment the mentor, the next an ally, the next an enemy.

Got Game is at its most interesting when the authors review recent business trends through the "gamer generation" lens. The authors' explanation of the "dot-com" technology company crash in the late 90s was intriguing. The behaviours identified in their research seem startling relevant, and make the crash understandable. They depict young dot-com presidents able to play their way through the requirements of setting up a public company. If the company went bankrupt and the game was lost, the true gamer simply counted it as a learning experience, and would still be able to say they were presidents before the age of 30. Press reset, and the business game could start again.

The book is a worthwhile read for HR professionals, and those hiring management. Beck and Wade estimate that there are 90 million gamers in the US workforce now. Drawing a simple comparison to Canada's population would put 9-10 million into the category for us. In short, you can expect to see gamers applying for your jobs soon, and Got Game gives a good roadmap to understanding how to harness the skills of the video game generation.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Whether we like it or not....Gamers are taking over! 8 Oct. 2004
By Joan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If you are in business, especially if you are over 40, this is a must read book to gain an understanding of one of the factors shaping the next generation of workers. I am one of the ones who "dismiss" the game players, even the one in my own house, without ever really thinking about the impact of gaming on the development and attitudes of the younger generation. Why didn't I notice this, even though my son plays for hours a day? Of course it is having an influence! Got Game lays all the facts out there for you, with data backing up their research, on just how much of an influence growing up playing games has on an individual. It also tells you how gamers think and what their natural expectations are of the world around them. If we as managers do not understand the people working for us, not only will we not tap into their amazing potential but we will also lose out when they take their business else where due to dissatisfaction. This is a serious business book about an important topic, but Beck and Wade present it in an easy to understand and enjoyable manner. I would recommend this book even if you are not in business, because gamers are all around us and they are not going away!
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Got Game zaps smug boomers 20 Oct. 2004
By Jonathan Huggett - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Ever been bored by management's endless sports cliches? 'We're in the right ball park.' 'He's playing Monday morning quarterback'. 'We're on a sticky wicket', etc. Ever note that senior management talks a lot about male ball sports, but yet can now barely walk around a golf course, and look more like a football than a player? And have you noticed that without a hint of irony, these smug boomers neither respect nor understand the games that millions enjoy daily?

Got game zaps the smug boomers. It explains that video games teach tons of skill, build self confidence and, yes, you knew it, encourage good team behaviour. And it points out that these benefits are mostly lost on the boomer generation.

The authors lay out their research that shows how these skills really give an edge in business. Gamers develop the leadership and entrepreneurial edge that managers say they want. If only they knew how to spot it.

For those of us who never quite understood why whacking balls had much to do with making money, Got Game is refreshing look at how the gamer generation can contribute so much more.

The dot com boom owes a lot to the Gamer generation. All that energy, innovation, risk-taking was intense, just like a game. Yes, there was the dot com crash, too. But you are reading this on Amazon, aren't you?
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