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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written book and a fascinating argument
I am amazed that only one previous review of this book has been posted, because it explores a fascinating subject in depth and makes a convincing argument with a wealth of supporting references.

Alfie states his argument clearly. He defines 'competition' as the pursuit of mutually exclusive goals, including 'structural' competition in situations where people...
Published on 22 May 2009 by Mark

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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars True but irrelevant.
I liked the book. It was an interesting argument. There's no doubt that competition over co-operation causes a lot of the world's problems. Where I disagree, is with the statement that competition is culturally conditioned. When you think about it, how could it be? Why would something universally evolve without any natural impulse or instinct behind it? Competition is...
Published on 7 Nov 2007 by Karen


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written book and a fascinating argument, 22 May 2009
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Mark (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: No Contest: Case Against Competition (Paperback)
I am amazed that only one previous review of this book has been posted, because it explores a fascinating subject in depth and makes a convincing argument with a wealth of supporting references.

Alfie states his argument clearly. He defines 'competition' as the pursuit of mutually exclusive goals, including 'structural' competition in situations where people can only win in opposition to others, and 'internal' competition which gives people a sense that they must outdo one another. In the first chapter he shows that this competition is not inevitable, including a forceful argument that competitive behaviour is not an unavoidable aspect of 'human nature'.

One of his key arguments is that competition is a learned behaviour. He argues that we can learn to cooperate rather than compete. He criticises competitive sport and dedicates one chapter to argue that cooperative activities can be more fun. He gives particular attention to competition in school education and uses one chapter to challenge the argument that competition is character building. He also challenges competition in the economy, politics, and even in the judicial system.

In some places the book specifically addresses the American (US) culture of competition in the early 1980s, but now the book is 25 years old and that culture has sadly been exported to much of the world. I found it totally relevant to current culture in the UK.

Finally, the first edition of this book was published in the early eighties, and the second edition merely adds an additional chapter, so it would be interesting to know how the research has developed since then. I would like to find some further reading, but very few people seem to have written about this fundamental issue.
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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars True but irrelevant., 7 Nov 2007
This review is from: No Contest: Case Against Competition (Paperback)
I liked the book. It was an interesting argument. There's no doubt that competition over co-operation causes a lot of the world's problems. Where I disagree, is with the statement that competition is culturally conditioned. When you think about it, how could it be? Why would something universally evolve without any natural impulse or instinct behind it? Competition is nothing but our survival hunting/foraging behaviours refined and advanced. Trying to stifle, rather than channel, our competitive natures would result in the strongly competitive dominating the more co-operative, with the more co-operative never having the chance to learn the skills to improve their position.
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No Contest: Case Against Competition
No Contest: Case Against Competition by Alfie Kohn (Paperback - 1 Jan 1993)
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