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The Winner Effect: The Science of Success and How to Use It [Paperback]

Ian Robertson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Mar 2013

What makes a winner?

Why do some succeed both in life and in business, and others fail?

The 'winner effect' is a term used in biology to describe how an animal that has won a few fights against weak opponents is much more likely to win later bouts against stronger contenders. As Ian Robertson reveals, it applies to humans, too. Success changes the chemistry of the brain, making you more focused, smarter, more confident and more aggressive. And the more you win, the more you will go on to win. But the downside is that winning can become physically addictive.

By understanding what the mental and physical changes are that take place in the brain of a 'winner', how they happen, and why they affect some people more than others, Robertson explains what makes a winner or a loser - and how we can use the answers to these questions to understand better the behaviour of our business colleagues, employees, family and friends.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (14 Mar 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1408831651
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408831656
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Compelling stories combine with cutting-edge science to show why coming first is not the same as being a real winner - engrossing (Oliver James, author of Affluenza)

A compelling, vivid and instructive story of how we are empowered and how we are disempowered and how we succeed and how we fail - I really enjoyed it - a must read (Raymond Tallis)

Fascinating ... he also has an attractive anti-determinism in his approach, because of his belief that our basic behaviour patterns are eminently changeable, not just by events but also, if we try to understand, by ourselves: the approach one would expect from a clinical psychologist (Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times)

His book engagingly relates the nuances of why and how we win, and the pitfalls of getting juiced up on dopamine in extreme success and hungering for adulation and worship (Irish Times)

What does it take to be a winner; to be successful and achieve at an optimal level? Professor Robertson has masterfully synthesized cutting edge social, cognitive, and developmental psychology, as well ?as neuroscience with fascinating stories of notable people in the public eye to answer this question. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written by an international scholar, once you begin reading ?this book it will be difficult to put down. Whatever your profession, this remarkable book will most assuredly resonate with you (John B. Arden PhD, author of Rewire Your Brain)

Book Description

One of the world's most respected neuroscientists, shows how success affects the inner workings of the brain and explores the implications for all of us, in business, on the public stage and in our emotional lives.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robertson's Winning Book 11 Jun 2012
Full disclosure: I am a colleague of Ian Robertson's, and read this book pre-publication.

I thoroughly and completely enjoyed this book, and I learned a lot from it. I think this book will repay anyone who is curious about the 'will to power' we see in human and animal hierarchies. It reveals lots about the differences between the psychological differences between good and bad leaders, and importantly, the mechanisms by which power can be corrupting - especially erosion of empathy. Why does your boss not listen? Find out here!

It is the kind of book any employee with a difficult boss should buy to understand the difficult boss! But the employee should buy it also to gift it to them anonymously;-) However, the insight required by said difficult boss to understand the lessons here might be eroded by too much time in power. Hence, term limits and time limits are a great way to ensure renewal, and to ensure nobody gets too carried away with themselves.

It should be read by anyone interested in the psychology of organisations, and anyone interested in deep-seated psychological mechanisms that play out in situations where one human being has power over others.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
In the vein of the best New Yorker articles where science and popular culture converge seamlessly, The Winner Effect is full of cutting edge research and entertaining anecdotes. It covers a fascinating subject, revealing truths large and small. It comes as no surprise that power may beget power (and often corrupt) due to chemical changes in the brain and that the golden few may literally radiate success but on a personal level, I found it just as intriguing to learn that wearing red to an interview or a sports match can influence outcome and that leaders (thankfully) grow into their jobs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Winner Effect 14 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent topical work, very interesting and relevant to anyone interested in how the brain works. The numerous references to research carried out in the USA, are mainly due to the fact that funds seem to be readily available there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent enough 8 July 2012
By rory
Some very interesting points of view on winning but not as flowing as some of M Gladwell books. It just didn't hold my attention as much but still a well researched and well structured read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting book. Well thought out and nicely bringing the strands of the hypotheses together within each chapter and across the book. I have also ready Ian Robertson's earlier works, and it is clear that The Winner Effect is written by a more experienced Dr Robertson. Its a very interesting read, and it will help to explain a lot of what you experience in life when it comes to power plays. You'll also have moments when you recognise things you've done yourself. You may never have thought they were power plays, but once you reflect, you'll be surprised by yourself, sometimes.

I would thoroughly recommend this book for anyone interested in understanding how power (or indeed lack of it) can affect the mind and behaviour. Very much a thinking person's book. Read it !
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable and entertaining 2 July 2012
I heartily recommend this book. You will never view politicians/bankers/sportsmen in the same light again. Now that we know how power affects others (and ourselves) we can do something about it! This book does for psychology what 'Freakonomics' did for economics.
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