Summary of Friend & Foe

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening


According to social sciences researchers Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer, neither competition nor cooperation alone brings the greatest success in business or daily life. Balancing both modes allows you to accomplish the most for yourself without alienating others. Galinsky and Schweitzer bring an entertaining mix of real-world examples, scientific research and practical tips to their discussion of how to negotiate a higher salary and combat racial and gender biases. The authors’ explanations of why certain actions spark people’s competitive or cooperative impulses offer compelling insights. getAbstract recommends their study and advice to business leaders and those looking to become a better friend or a more crafty foe.

About the Authors

Adam Galinsky, PhD, is the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business and chair of the management division at Columbia University’s Business School. Maurice Schweitzer, PhD, is the Cecilia Yen Koo Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.



Competition and Cooperation

Successful interpersonal exchanges mix cooperation and competition. Both modes call upon three forces that influence the shift in a relationship from friend to foe, or foe to friend:

  1. “Scarcity” – Lack of resources can fuel competition. Cooperation often increases your capacity to gain and keep scarce resources.
  2. “Sociability” – People will cooperate to stay in relationships with others. The desire for closeness can encourage people to exclude outsiders by forming cliques and clubs.
  3. “Dynamic instability” – Changes in environment and relationships can cause sudden shifts from a cooperative mode to a competitive mode, or vice versa.

Healthy Comparison

Humans, by nature, compare themselves with others in order to understand their place in the world and to measure their success. Comparing yourself with someone who’s doing better can make you feel bad, but it could also drive you to work harder. Comparing yourself with someone less able or less accomplished can make you feel terrific, but it also can undercut your motivation...

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The Likeability Trap
Feminist Fight Club
The Memo
Why Men Win at Work

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