A Bigger Prize Book Summary - A Bigger Prize Book explained in key points
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A Bigger Prize summary

Margaret Heffernan

How We Can Do Better Than the Competition

3.6 (10 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

"A Bigger Prize" by Margaret Heffernan explores the dark side of competition and offers an alternative perspective on success, highlighting the importance of collaboration and community. It sheds light on how our obsession with being the best often leads to negative consequences.

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    A Bigger Prize
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    If we turn life into a competition, we’re bound to lose.

    What does it take to become a star athlete?

    Obviously, a lot of hard work and talent. But in the late nineteenth century, the psychologist Norbert Triplett discovered that competition also helps. For instance, cyclists will ride faster in a competition than in practice.

    However, life isn’t a bicycle race. If we think about everything in terms of winning or losing, most of us are bound to end up disappointed. After all, whenever people compete for top positions, only a handful can emerge victorious.

    At the London Olympic Games, a mere 8.8 percent of all competitors left with a medal. Similarly, only a small fraction of society is a member of the economic elite. In other words, most competitors end up losing, regardless of how hard they try.

    So, if we define the purpose of life as competition, most of us will fail and end up miserable.

    But that’s not the only downside to competition. It’s also detrimental to our health and can be a major source of stress. If we always feel the need to be the absolute best and can’t rely on others because we see them as competition, our only option is to do everything by ourselves. It’s easy to see how this can lead to overwork and losing sleep.

    Simply believing that life is a competition and that everyone is against us will cause our stress levels to spike. And all of this sets us up to burn out.

    Furthermore, highly competitive people often take unnecessary risks. For example, to make their weight class, some wrestlers do high-intensity workouts while wearing rubber suits. This induces profuse sweating and can lead to death from heat stroke.

    And finally, competition can discourage people from doing things that are good for them. If we believe that an activity, like sports, is only about winning and we feel that we can’t win, we’ll simply avoid it altogether, even though it might have other benefits.

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    What is A Bigger Prize about?

    A Bigger Prize (2014) explains how competition is holding us back. These blinks demonstrate how our competitive schools, economy and society – believed to produce higher grades, lower prices and better results – are actually stifling collaboration and preventing us from realizing our full potential.

    A Bigger Prize Review

    A Bigger Prize (2014) by Margaret Heffernan is a thought-provoking exploration of competition and how it affects our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It challenges the notion that competition is always beneficial, offering compelling arguments backed by research to support the idea that collaboration can lead to greater success.
    • Through real-life examples from various industries, the book shines a light on the negative effects of excessive competition, encouraging readers to rethink their approach.
    • With its refreshing perspective and witty anecdotes, the book manages to make a complex topic relatable and definitely not boring.

    Best quote from A Bigger Prize

    Competition corrupts the natural pleasure and joy of what we are doing. It takes the joy out of work, out of life, if you succumb to it.

    —Margaret Heffernan
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    Who should read A Bigger Prize?

    • Professionals who work with colleagues
    • Anyone who is into sports
    • People interested in the downside of competition

    About the Author

    Margaret Heffernan is a multimedia entrepreneur. She began blogging at an early age before going on to teach and write books. A Bigger Prize is her fourth bestseller.

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    A Bigger Prize FAQs 

    What is the main message of A Bigger Prize?

    A Bigger Prize emphasizes the importance of collaboration and diversity in achieving success.

    How long does it take to read A Bigger Prize?

    The reading time for A Bigger Prize varies. The Blinkist summary, however, can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is A Bigger Prize a good book? Is it worth reading?

    A Bigger Prize is a thought-provoking book worth reading. It offers insights into the power of collective intelligence.

    Who is the author of A Bigger Prize?

    The author of A Bigger Prize is Margaret Heffernan.

    What to read after A Bigger Prize?

    If you're wondering what to read next after A Bigger Prize, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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