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The Infinite Game

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The Infinite Game

How to Lead in the 21st Century

How To: Academy,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Leaders with finite mind-sets try to win a game that has no end. Instead, pursue infinite improvement. 

Editorial Rating



  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Business is an infinite game, per motivational speaker Simon Sinek. The players may change, but the game continues. Sinek, the golden boy of organizational consultancy, offers a slick, polished presentation as he shares the five characteristics of infinite-game leadership, but his analysis, though ripe with real-life examples, lacks any scientific backing or data. Nevertheless, Sinek’s passionate, expert-sounding delivery will maintain his status as an audience favorite. 


The United States won almost every battle in the Vietnam War but was unable to claim ultimate victory. In his book Finite and Infinite Games, theologian James Carse describes two kinds of games. Finite games such as football have clear rules, boundaries, winners and losers. When the game is over, the players stop playing. Infinite games, on the other hand, have no winners; rather, when players can’t continue due to a lack of will or resources, they leave the game, which continues without them. The objective of infinite games such as the Cold War is merely to keep playing. When finite players play other finite players, or when infinite players face off against other infinite players, the game remains stable. However, when a finite player competes against an infinite player, problems arise because their objectives are quite different. Consider that America fought in the Vietnam War to win, but the North Vietnamese fought for survival. 

About the Speaker

Motivational speaker Simon Sinek wrote the books Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last.

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    L. S. 2 years ago
    Must Watch for Everyone! “Finite players are playing to win. Infinite players are playing to keep playing. Each makes very different strategic choices as a result.” Finite players will always find themselves in peril.

    We need to readjust to play for the INFINITE game we’re actually in. In finite businesses there is a decline of trust, cooperation and innovation.