Summary of Fixing the Game

Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL

Harvard Business Review Press, more...

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Fixing the Game book summary
By changing the rules of the economic game, the US can change the momentum.


7 Overall

7 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


Roger L. Martin, dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and a life-long sports enthusiast, believes the 2008 mortgage meltdown was only the most recent crisis in the chronically ill US economy and that another setback is inevitable unless American business leaders change their approach. He traces the US economy’s problems to the mid-1970s, when corporate philosophy shifted from serving consumers to placating shareholders. He calls for a return to the old business model of paying executives based on real achievement not on meeting or missing projections. He cites the US National Football League (pre-referee strike) as the perfect illustration of how well a real-rewards model can work if executives put their customers first. “It isn’t about how profitable a company wants to be,” Martin says, “It is about in what way the company becomes profitable.” getAbstract believes that his playbook can help corporations get back in the game.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why American corporations should emulate the National Football League’s business model,
  • How the “real” and “expectations” markets differ and why that matters, and
  • Why “stock-based compensation” incentives for CEOs are counterproductive.


Ineffective Temporary Fixes
The dot-com meltdown crippled the American stock market in 2001-2002. In response, Congress enacted new regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to prevent a similar financial crisis in the future. Yet less than a decade later, the mortgage bubble exploded...
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About the Author

Roger L. Martin is dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He is the author of four books and the co-author of two others.

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