The Zero-Sum Game: A Mathematical Metaphor with Legs: Background information when reading Give and Take

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Give and Take

A Revolutionary Approach to Success

by Adam M. Grant

Give and Take
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2013, 320 pages
    Mar 2014, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Zero-Sum Game: A Mathematical Metaphor with Legs

In Give and Take, Adam Grant takes pains to demonstrate that many cold-hearted business transactions actually have a human side – that there is more at stake in contract negotiations, say, than the bottom line. He emphasizes the complexity of the give-and-take in business relationships by pointing out that such negotiations are "not a zero-sum game." Contract negotiations are not a zero-sum game; networking is not a zero-sum game. And so on.

What exactly is a zero-sum game?

Two men are facing each other across a table upon which are placed two goblets full of wine. One goblet contains a deadly poison. Both men must drink, and one will die. One of the men will live, and the price of his life is the death of the other man.

Unless of course one man has secretly built up an immunity to the poison (like Westley in The Princess Bride), or secreted a pouch in his mouth to contain the wine so he doesn't have to swallow it, or entered into some other such far-fetched scheme to ...

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