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The Infinite Game

How Great Businesses Achieve Long-Lasting Success

By Simon Sinek
13-minute read
Audio available
The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

The Infinite Game (2019) is a guidebook to help today’s business leaders get back on the right track to building companies that will last for generations to come. It points out the many pitfalls that leaders fall into in the pursuit of short-term gains and shows how they can put the focus back on practices that lead to strength and stability, as well as more revenue.  

  • Entrepreneurs and CEOs
  • Managers, supervisors and anyone looking for leadership tips
  • People curious about what makes a long-running business last

Simon Sinek is an author who has helped many organizations, including Fortune 100 companies and non-profit organizations, as well as politicians and the US military, reach new heights. His TED Talk, Start With Why, is the third most popular of all time. His previous books include Leaders Eat Last (2014) and Together is Better (2016).

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The Infinite Game

By Simon Sinek
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
Synopsis

The Infinite Game (2019) is a guidebook to help today’s business leaders get back on the right track to building companies that will last for generations to come. It points out the many pitfalls that leaders fall into in the pursuit of short-term gains and shows how they can put the focus back on practices that lead to strength and stability, as well as more revenue.  

Key idea 1 of 8

The business world is not a finite game, so business leaders need to adopt an infinite mindset. 

When you play sports, there are a lot of rules to abide by. Some of the most important rules are that everyone playing the game agrees on when it starts and stops, how to score a point, and that the deciding factor on who wins is who has the most points at the end. This is what’s known as a finite game.

Contrary to what many people think, business is not a finite game. There are no start and stop times that all players agree upon. And while there are certain legal rules that all businesses are told to follow, what the players do within those rules is up to them.

The business world is, in fact, an Infinite Game. There’s no fixed time frame and no agreed-upon way of keeping score. Since there is no possibility of winning, the goal of an Infinite Game is to stay in the game for as long as possible.

It may sound blasphemous, but profit and revenue are not the only signs of business strength. In fact, it can be truly detrimental to look at revenue and profits as being the sole decider of success. After all, today’s high profits will mean nothing if you’re not strong enough to weather tomorrow’s challenges. This is why business leaders need to think in terms of an Infinite Game. They should build something that’s not designed to “win” but rather to last for generations to come.

When your business plan is focused on short-term goals, like getting the best possible earnings for the next quarterly report, you’re bound to get a kind of tunnel vision that ignores what’s really important, like being innovative and creating the best product or service that people want. These things are far more important than getting the most market share or getting the most money to your shareholders.

Consider Microsoft’s original guiding principle: As Bill Gates put it, he wanted his company to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” This definitely falls under the infinite mindset. However, in the early 2000s, under the finite-minded leadership of former CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft became focused on beating Apple and winning more market share – to the detriment of its reputation.

Microsoft chased after Apple with devices such as the Zune, for example, which was designed to compete in the marketplace created by the iPod. As a result, the company became less known for its innovative and empowering products, while Apple became known for creating entirely new markets.

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