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How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World: The Definitive Guide to Adapting and Succeeding in High-Performance Careers

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From New York Times bestselling author and senior economic correspondent at The New York Times, how to survive--and thrive--in this increasingly challenging economy. Every ambitious professional is trying to navigate a perilous global economy to do work that is lucrative and satisfying, but some find success while others struggle to get by. In an era of remarkable economic From New York Times bestselling author and senior economic correspondent at The New York Times, how to survive--and thrive--in this increasingly challenging economy. Every ambitious professional is trying to navigate a perilous global economy to do work that is lucrative and satisfying, but some find success while others struggle to get by. In an era of remarkable economic change, how should you navigate your career to increase your chances of landing not only on your feet, but ahead of those around you? In How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World, Neil Irwin, senior economic correspondent at the New York Times, delivers the essential guide to being successful in today's economy when the very notion of the "job" is shifting and the corporate landscape has become dominated by global firms. He shows that the route to success lies in cultivating the ability to bring multiple specialties together--to become a "glue person" who can ensure people with radically different technical skills work together effectively--and how a winding career path makes you better prepared for today's fast-changing world. Through original data, close analysis, and case studies, Irwin deftly explains the 21st century economic landscape and its implications for ambitious people seeking a lifetime of professional success. Using insights from global giants like Microsoft, Walmart, and Goldman Sachs, and from smaller lesser known organizations like those that make cutting-edge digital effects in Planet of the Apes movies or Jim Beam bourbon, How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World illuminates what it really takes to be on top in this world of technological complexity and global competition.


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From New York Times bestselling author and senior economic correspondent at The New York Times, how to survive--and thrive--in this increasingly challenging economy. Every ambitious professional is trying to navigate a perilous global economy to do work that is lucrative and satisfying, but some find success while others struggle to get by. In an era of remarkable economic From New York Times bestselling author and senior economic correspondent at The New York Times, how to survive--and thrive--in this increasingly challenging economy. Every ambitious professional is trying to navigate a perilous global economy to do work that is lucrative and satisfying, but some find success while others struggle to get by. In an era of remarkable economic change, how should you navigate your career to increase your chances of landing not only on your feet, but ahead of those around you? In How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World, Neil Irwin, senior economic correspondent at the New York Times, delivers the essential guide to being successful in today's economy when the very notion of the "job" is shifting and the corporate landscape has become dominated by global firms. He shows that the route to success lies in cultivating the ability to bring multiple specialties together--to become a "glue person" who can ensure people with radically different technical skills work together effectively--and how a winding career path makes you better prepared for today's fast-changing world. Through original data, close analysis, and case studies, Irwin deftly explains the 21st century economic landscape and its implications for ambitious people seeking a lifetime of professional success. Using insights from global giants like Microsoft, Walmart, and Goldman Sachs, and from smaller lesser known organizations like those that make cutting-edge digital effects in Planet of the Apes movies or Jim Beam bourbon, How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World illuminates what it really takes to be on top in this world of technological complexity and global competition.

30 review for How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World: The Definitive Guide to Adapting and Succeeding in High-Performance Careers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Justus

    I was so disappointed by this book. I think there is a huge story to tell about how to build a career in the modern winner-take-all-world. Irwin's first misstep is he doesn't even consider the geographic implications of winner-take-all. It affects the country you live in (try being a rocket engineer outside of the US), the region you live in (try being in petroleum in Maine), and the city you live in (try being a venture capitalist in DC). But even leaving that aside Irwin delivers an underwhelm I was so disappointed by this book. I think there is a huge story to tell about how to build a career in the modern winner-take-all-world. Irwin's first misstep is he doesn't even consider the geographic implications of winner-take-all. It affects the country you live in (try being a rocket engineer outside of the US), the region you live in (try being in petroleum in Maine), and the city you live in (try being a venture capitalist in DC). But even leaving that aside Irwin delivers an underwhelming and forgettable business book. One reason the book was so underwhelming -- for me in particular -- was that much of what he talks about is half-a-decade or more "old news" among my friends and coworkers. He has long chapters on Moneyball (is there anyone who doesn't know this story already?), the Netflix culture deck (published a decade ago in 2009), Drucker quotes from 2001(!), the "T-shaped" worker (deep in one area but broad in several) and so on. When you read the story of Danny Meyer's restaurant it just comes across as people who were chefs who knew nothing about management learning Management 101 stuff that business books have been teaching for 30 years. Or there's a chapter about how software is eating the world so, you know, figure out how to work with software in some way (which doesn't mean you have to become a software developer per se). But even if you don't have that same context I do, I argue that you'll find the book tedious and low-value because it suffers from the cardinal sin of business books -- tons of padding with "stories". A chapter might have a single (occasionally genuinely useful) insight but will wrap it up in long-winded stories of someone's entire career. For instance, there's a chapter making the point the taking a job is a big deal because you spend so much of you life there (duh) so you should think about whether a particular company fits you -- both in terms of personality but also where you are in your career. Kind of a duh-no-kidding insight but I guess some people haven't realised that. He provides a framework of there being 3 kinds of companies. Then he provides the entire life story of 3 people -- one for each kind of company. The upshot from reading this dozen pages on these 3 people? They worked at a series of companies that was a good fit for them. But it might not have been a good fit for someone else. Likewise there's a chapter on using "big data", which (in addition the aforementioned long segue about Moneyball) tells the story of a guy who founds a company, and then the company is bought by Microsoft, and then another division is having poor morale, so they ask the acquired-company to analyse the Outlook Calendars of all their staff looking for insights about the low morale, and it segues into another story about how Major League Baseball has instituted a system that track 4 terabytes of data per game, and Sabremetrics, and there's this baseball player who gets on-base a lot and won an MVP but some fans don't like his style because he'll take a walk instead of swinging his bat, and then....it circles back around and the results at Microsoft were....people were in too many meetings. Oh, with a sidenote that you can't really do any of this analytics on your own because it requires a large dataset and fancy math. Leaving me wondering what take-away a reader is supposed to get from that chapter. (On a side note: the majority of the interviews are with people who are CEOs, telling the story of how they climbed up to become a CEO. That's a common business book foible -- let's learn from the people who succeeded...and pretend survivorship bias isn't a thing! -- but in a book that is ostensibly targeted as a career-guide at "everyone" I would have liked to see a lot more non-CEO stories and a lot more data and fewer stories for that matter.) Funnily enough, at the end of the book is an appendix of "The takeaways: What to remember from this book" which strips away all these discursive stories of questionable usefulness. 99% of readers should just skip to that part and read it first. If there's something unclear or that you're not convinced about, only then go back and read the full chapter. The book does have some morsels of good advice, which is why I'm rating it 2-stars and not 1-star, they are just few & far between and buried behind a lot of cruft.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Why do I keep getting sucked in to these shallow self-help books? I do not know. I like Neil Irwin's column in the New York Times a lot, but I can't say I learned anything or anything much in this book. Why do I keep getting sucked in to these shallow self-help books? I do not know. I like Neil Irwin's column in the New York Times a lot, but I can't say I learned anything or anything much in this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Flynn

    In his work as an economics reporter for The New York Times, Neil Irwin has an unrivaled ability to render technical topics in a lively yet lucid way. That talent is on display here in this book, which is a sort of career guide, but one with a broader focus than most. The work world (along with the world in general) has changed around us drastically in the past 30 years or so, as technology and globalization have transformed the economy. Even as these upheavals have destroyed many jobs, they've In his work as an economics reporter for The New York Times, Neil Irwin has an unrivaled ability to render technical topics in a lively yet lucid way. That talent is on display here in this book, which is a sort of career guide, but one with a broader focus than most. The work world (along with the world in general) has changed around us drastically in the past 30 years or so, as technology and globalization have transformed the economy. Even as these upheavals have destroyed many jobs, they've also created new opportunities for people who can take advantage of them. But how do you manage to be one of those people who ride the waves of change instead of getting sucked under and drowned? That is the question Irwin sets out to explore here, with satisfying and practical results.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Park

    This book is a fascinating look at the changing nature of career progression. When I was growing up, people stayed in one company, often in one job, for their entire career. That is no longer an effective strategy for those who wish to grow their career. Irwin first takes a look at how the job market is changing and why we need to re-think our strategies when job hunting. In the next section, he profiles several people who have successfully moved upward in their career and details the steps they This book is a fascinating look at the changing nature of career progression. When I was growing up, people stayed in one company, often in one job, for their entire career. That is no longer an effective strategy for those who wish to grow their career. Irwin first takes a look at how the job market is changing and why we need to re-think our strategies when job hunting. In the next section, he profiles several people who have successfully moved upward in their career and details the steps they took to get there. What did they do differently than other people? The book ends with a section on takeaways that can help the reader apply the principles to their own situation. It is a little slow in places, but overall, it is worth the read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sean Qureshi

    This book is a bit of a snooze. Nothing revelatory. It’s a pretty generic take on how to be a good worker. Gain exposure to multiple roles, bridge gaps between departments, value big data for decision making, etc. Move on. It also took me forever to finish because it was difficult to gather the energy to open this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    Can a business book ever be written without referencing a story of an investment banker at Goldman Sachs? If you read this book, you'll know the answer is: no. This book includes way too many chronological career path stories, with very little scientific evidence or really any advice at all. Can a business book ever be written without referencing a story of an investment banker at Goldman Sachs? If you read this book, you'll know the answer is: no. This book includes way too many chronological career path stories, with very little scientific evidence or really any advice at all.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Raphael Leiteritz

    For me, typical "business book" -- lots of anecdotes and generalities. In essence it's about being an adaptive knowledge worker and to never stop learning. For me, typical "business book" -- lots of anecdotes and generalities. In essence it's about being an adaptive knowledge worker and to never stop learning.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Godfrey

    “If you take a sailboat out for a cruise, there are some things you can control, like how you position the sails and guide the rudder. There are others you cannot, like the winds and the currents. Still, to get where you’re looking to go, it’s essential to understand the winds and currents. Successful sailors adapt the things under their control to react intelligently to the winds and currents that are not. In our careers, we can control the jobs we apply for, the training and education we seek “If you take a sailboat out for a cruise, there are some things you can control, like how you position the sails and guide the rudder. There are others you cannot, like the winds and the currents. Still, to get where you’re looking to go, it’s essential to understand the winds and currents. Successful sailors adapt the things under their control to react intelligently to the winds and currents that are not. In our careers, we can control the jobs we apply for, the training and education we seek out, the assignments for which we raise our hands. But our fortunes are shaped significantly by huge economic and technological shifts that are remaking nearly every industry. This book is a guide to understanding those winds and currents.” - Neil Irwin “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” - William Gibson Quite often I have found myself in business meetings with veteran bores fluent in condescension and willful ignorance. I steel myself by imagining future memories of the moment 30 years hence. With all likelihood, in the final calculation, the moment, not to mention the entire existence of my slumberous interlocutor, won’t even be decimal dust in the tally of my joys and pains. In this way, farsightedness and financial compensation can be quite consoling. Every professional who has worked a day in her life can probably relate. Such is the history of work. The stimulating book How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World: The Definitive Guide to Adapting and Succeeding in High-Performance Careers (2019) is concerned with the future of work. Its author is Neil Irwin, a senior economic correspondent at The New York Times. But you won’t find in the book any mention of businesses like The We Company, the organization behind the shared-office brand WeWork featured in headlines daily; in its government filings for its pending IPO it claims to “reinvent the future of work.” I think The We Company’s absence is for a good reason. To understand why let’s briefly go back in time before we go forward. It’s 2010. I’m fresh off successes investing during the financial crisis. Being a man with a hammer seeing nails all around, I decided to investigate the commercial real estate industry for ideas. I learned of a little company named Regus. It is today known as IWG and is the only global competition at scale for The We Company. I was serious enough about Regus that I read its financial regulatory filings and toured some of its Manhattan locations. I looked at it not only as someone who might invest in it, but also someone who might use their services someday as an entrepreneur. As a potential business investment, I noticed that during the dot com recession, Regus had been decimated. But it seemed chastened by this experience and smarter about managing the maturities and magnitudes of its liabilities. It had also backed off the idea of top-line growth at all costs. While business slumped in 2007-2009, the company remained solvent. Looking at Regus from the perspective of a customer, its value proposition was appealing. The flexibility and breadth of services on-site were enticing, including shared meeting rooms, virtual office services, and dedicated video conferencing studios. Nevertheless, I passed on the opportunity. (I invested instead in WH Smith, a British newsstand business that had unique customer capture with its real estate footprint in high street and airport locations. That was a great investment.) What does this have to do with The We Company and more generally the future of work? Well, what’s fascinating to me about WeWork is they aren’t doing anything different than Regus did then. Yes, you get colorful common spaces, upbeat music piped into bathrooms, fruit-flavored water, and free bourgeois coffee. But nothing else that Regus wasn’t offering in 2010 and can’t today. I think partly for this reason The We Company is a distraction on the road to ‘the future of work’. It seems a bad investment today given its incredibly high valuation versus Regus and how seemingly corrupt ownership is. But that’s not the same as saying it won’t survive for decades. There will always probably be some companies who aspire for access to real estate to house growing headcount to encourage face time between staff. But I think this will be less and less, especially after reading Irwin’s book. What has changed since 2010 is the nature of work and the jobs-to-be-done in the employee and employer relationship. From this vantage, The We Company actually seems not to be that imaginative or inventive. What’s changing about work is that over time employers won’t be asking (1) “How do I scale this company and keep real estate costs low?” but rather (2) “How do I scale this company and have literally zero real estate costs?” Instead of (1) “Where do I house my growing workforce and employee base?” the question becomes (2) “How do I grow without taking on employees at all?” In each question pair, The We Company answers the first but not the second. Many disruptions are emerging from the combination of the mass availability of Wi-Fi, powerful laptops, smartphones, abundant productivity apps, and the movement of group administration to the cloud. One of those disruptions is that remote “knowledge economy” workers and freelancers are capturing more share of mind and wallet in employment. Imagine “flexible real estate” as just a stepping stone toward the true corporate aspiration, “flexible workforce”. This will mean more business for companies that make this latter aspiration and its prerequisites possible; such as the easy facilitation of payments between corporations and independent contractors, the vetting of both sides to freelance relationships, the keeping of reputation records, etc. Why does this matter to the investment analyst or manager? It matters because the companies that can successfully answer the second questions above will have a cost advantage on those that cannot or do not. And that cost advantage will likely translate into offering lower prices or being able to invest in other moat-expanding activities. This, in turn, increases their odds of surviving and thriving. Here’s a quote from Irwin about how this disruption is playing out: “Meanwhile, in the commercial arena, GE has long been a huge customer of very expensive consulting firms like McKinsey and Bain—but sometimes the types of questions they have been hired to take on could be better answered with other approaches. If you’re trying to sell equipment to electrical utilities and need to analyze pricing strategies, maybe a short-term contract with a utility CFO who is between jobs could generate more useful recommendations than a dozen young MBAs slaving away for six weeks. “Many companies aspire to be the dominant platform to match freelance workers with companies that might wish to engage them. Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever to find someone with just the right technical expertise or history to provide temporary help.” Why does this matter to employees? It matters because in the future there will probably be many more opportunities (and pressures) to be the sort of person with hybrid skills in areas such as management, branding, sales, strategy, and finance. The days are diminishing of being able to increase one’s compensation and stature by being a corporate bureaucrat or focused on one silo of activity and just managing more people. Acquiring various skills will probably mean taking lateral movements in your career to face new challenges and learn new skill languages. It will probably also mean learning the various skills necessary to freelance occasionally and perform independent consulting work. There are benefits and drawbacks to this, but it is a clear trend. It probably will require a stronger government social safety net for workers to withstand fluctuations in their income. Such are some of the ideas presented in Irwin’s book. With examples of individuals from companies like Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, Google, Netflix, and others, he makes a strong case for aspiring to be “Pareto-optimal”. This means, among many things, being someone who views their relationship with their employer as a contract rather than a marriage, who approaches each day hungry to acquire new skills, and who maintains a growth mindset through thick and thin. Highly recommended. **** Original review here: https://www.mutorogroup.com/notes/201...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    So this was not a great book, he told so many stories in too much detail. I was completely uninterested in the stories for the most part. But some of the content was decent, nothing you probably didn't already know, but needed someone to expound upon it. It seems much of it is targeted at a certain part of the workforce that doesn't include me. But there was still some good material, my notes follow. He started talking about glue people, or people in an organization that help bridge gaps between So this was not a great book, he told so many stories in too much detail. I was completely uninterested in the stories for the most part. But some of the content was decent, nothing you probably didn't already know, but needed someone to expound upon it. It seems much of it is targeted at a certain part of the workforce that doesn't include me. But there was still some good material, my notes follow. He started talking about glue people, or people in an organization that help bridge gaps between different types of expertise. To become a glue person, understand how your function fits into the broader landscape of the organization, how your company makes money, and how your role and the role of adjacent departments helps further that cause. He says you want to be at the frontier of the Pareto curve, as a Pareto-optimal employee. This means you are either incredibly knowledgeable about one thing, or very knowledgeable about multiple things, which is what helps people to become general managers. If you are not on the frontier, become better at your main area of focus or broaden your experience in a second or third area. Figure out what combination of abilities are likely to be rewarded in the marketplace, and cultivate those you lack. Combining skills that aren't often found together is particularly valuable. Monitor job listings of compaies that are considered cutting edge in your field and see what types of skills and combinations are likely to be in high demand. To become a senior manager or executive, almost by definition you must understand multiple areas of fuctional specialty and how they interact. To be a CEO or near it, you must seize every opportunity to stretch your experience across different functional areas and geographies. It pays to build the weak muscles instead of those that are already strong. Instead of a career ladder it's more like career lattice, which may move sideways and down. Seek out discomfort and push for new experiences - growth mindset. It's okay to jump without being sure where it is leading, experience is what you're going for. If you're a manager, frequent one-on-one meetings with direct reports leads to success. Seek employment at those best-run, most-successful companies if possible. The idea of a lifelong job is outdated, be ready to move on when the company doesn't need you. But some employers display more long-term loyalty and investment than others, match them in kind by being more reluctant to leave because of a better offer.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Guy A Burdick

    My main takeaway from How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World is that it's no longer enough just to be good at one specialized skill. To succeed in the new world of work, you need to overcome your natural inclination to focus all your efforts on the one thing you’re really good at. Jobs now require hybrids of previously unrelated skills. For example, Directors of Religious Activities at church camps now must be adept at database marketing. It’s no longer enough for copy editors to be style mavens. My main takeaway from How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World is that it's no longer enough just to be good at one specialized skill. To succeed in the new world of work, you need to overcome your natural inclination to focus all your efforts on the one thing you’re really good at. Jobs now require hybrids of previously unrelated skills. For example, Directors of Religious Activities at church camps now must be adept at database marketing. It’s no longer enough for copy editors to be style mavens. The successful ones have had to learn to work with graphics and video, SEO, and social media. It’s critical to be adaptable and learn new skills and technology. What should you focus on? The author, Neil Irwin, suggests monitoring job postings from cutting-edge companies to see what preferred job-skill mixes are emerging in your industry. My other takeaways from the book are: * The “career ladder” no longer exists - jobs change too quickly or disappear. You need to move sideways or even downward to pick up the skills and knowledge that will advance your career. * A successful career path only looks planned out when viewed in retrospect. You need to regularly ask yourself, “what’s next?” * Current economic and regulatory conditions favor a few, technologically advanced companies. But we can’t all work for Google. * “Every company is a software company.” But not every job is a coding job. * Successful career management is more like investing where you invest time instead of money. But you can only invest in one company at a time. You need to do your due diligence the way a smart investor would. * The age of loyalty is over. One-job, one-company lifetime employment no longer exists. Irwin stresses the importance of understanding how your role fits into your company’s overall business. How does your company make money and how much does your contribution impact that? Your compensation is going to be tied to the value you offer. Irwin uses pastry chef as an example. If desserts only account for 3 percent of a restaurant’s revenue, it doesn’t matter how good a pastry chef you are, you’re never going to make more than the executive chef.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Maddeningly devoid of substance, this book largely goes from resume to resume between which are found only thin connecting threads. The first chapter teases and tantalizes analysis of broader economic trends driving shifts in modern societies, but never addresses them in a meaningful way. Instead, the Pareto optimum is introduced and thereafter used to bludgeon the reader to death throughout the rest of the read. Though I mostly agree with the ideas espoused, there is very little economic theo Maddeningly devoid of substance, this book largely goes from resume to resume between which are found only thin connecting threads. The first chapter teases and tantalizes analysis of broader economic trends driving shifts in modern societies, but never addresses them in a meaningful way. Instead, the Pareto optimum is introduced and thereafter used to bludgeon the reader to death throughout the rest of the read. Though I mostly agree with the ideas espoused, there is very little economic theory outside of the aforementioned cudgel and no cameo from the scientific method. Instead the reader is treated to a series of narratives constructed from the paths of exemplar workers which are almost used to give advice, but the author hedges too much to even get any of that. I managed to finish the book only because each new chapter seemed poised to address a career issue with which I was contending, only to leave me invariably disappointed. Though typical of most business/management books in its flaws, the book's writing is ok and the message is conveyed just well enough to have some value: 2 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Whitaker

    I like Irwin's work at the NYT and I liked this book as well -- unlike most other career-advice books, it draws on rigorous case studies and situates them in context of the big-picture forces that are reshaping business today. One criticism is that there is basically nothing about work-life balance and similar topics in the book -- fine to specialize in other areas, but seemed odd to relegate this to a couple hasty paragraphs in the conclusion when it is exactly the key constraint facing most kn I like Irwin's work at the NYT and I liked this book as well -- unlike most other career-advice books, it draws on rigorous case studies and situates them in context of the big-picture forces that are reshaping business today. One criticism is that there is basically nothing about work-life balance and similar topics in the book -- fine to specialize in other areas, but seemed odd to relegate this to a couple hasty paragraphs in the conclusion when it is exactly the key constraint facing most knowledge workers today. (Another reviewer pointed out that the book is geographically limited, which also rings true.) Three takeaways: 1. The complexity and specialization of work has accelerated in recent decades: e.g. about the same number of people worked on the 1933 and 1975 King Kong movies, but 15x more worked on the 2005 remake 2. Several studies have found that the most successful CEOs / senior leaders have experience in many different functions -- so at least to reach that level, need to think of a "career lattice" rather than a "career ladder" 3. The value of a manager is (often) to make the people working underneath them more productive

  13. 4 out of 5

    Krayfish1

    A bit of a review of how the working world is turning into a dystopian hellscape, with a layer on top of "here's how to make sure _you_ end up okay while everything goes to shit!!" The person who recommended it was probably focusing on the advice to 1. have a 3 year itch, and try to get a position where you're uncomfortable every 3 years so you can develop new skills 2. become "Pareto-optimal" -- be as good as you can be at several skills (the fewer the skills the better you should be at them) 3. be A bit of a review of how the working world is turning into a dystopian hellscape, with a layer on top of "here's how to make sure _you_ end up okay while everything goes to shit!!" The person who recommended it was probably focusing on the advice to 1. have a 3 year itch, and try to get a position where you're uncomfortable every 3 years so you can develop new skills 2. become "Pareto-optimal" -- be as good as you can be at several skills (the fewer the skills the better you should be at them) 3. be aware of what's going on in your industry 4. watch job postings to see what two skills together are more valued 5. if you're a manager have a good network at your company, meet with employees one-on-one often, and don't demand longer hours b/c that just makes work quality go down.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    I really like Neil Irwin's journalism (I think he may have helped start The Upshot) and the way he writes about economics, so I was looking forward to his writing in book-length form. He makes clever observations about modern capitalism and employment, with topics ranging from corporate lattices and glue people (more interesting than it sounds), to using data to understand your own employees and determining whether or not you're an optimize and iterate kind of person (I'm 100% not). Unfortunatel I really like Neil Irwin's journalism (I think he may have helped start The Upshot) and the way he writes about economics, so I was looking forward to his writing in book-length form. He makes clever observations about modern capitalism and employment, with topics ranging from corporate lattices and glue people (more interesting than it sounds), to using data to understand your own employees and determining whether or not you're an optimize and iterate kind of person (I'm 100% not). Unfortunately, the conclusion I have to draw from the case studies Irwin uses is that the "how" in his book's title is accomplished by being a white, educated male.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    The book made some good, but kind of depressing points. Basically most people today should get used to the idea of their jobs greatly changing or becoming non-existent in the future. This is going to be happening more frequently than in previous generations. Those who can adapt and seek to broaden their experiences and skills will be in a stronger position to keep from being left behind. It's not a bad idea to seek out lateral career moves, because in the long run it may set up future promotions The book made some good, but kind of depressing points. Basically most people today should get used to the idea of their jobs greatly changing or becoming non-existent in the future. This is going to be happening more frequently than in previous generations. Those who can adapt and seek to broaden their experiences and skills will be in a stronger position to keep from being left behind. It's not a bad idea to seek out lateral career moves, because in the long run it may set up future promotions that build off multiple career areas.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I just finished reading How to win in a Winner-Take -All World: The Definitive Guide to Adapting and Succeeding in High-Performance Careers by Neil Irwin. Neil describes how to be successful in modern economic management. This takes experience over many fields. This, Irwin, describes a glue person... someone who holds everything together or a Pareto-Optimal leader/ employee. Someone with the ability to communicate across the different sectors of a corporate structure. This would be an excellent I just finished reading How to win in a Winner-Take -All World: The Definitive Guide to Adapting and Succeeding in High-Performance Careers by Neil Irwin. Neil describes how to be successful in modern economic management. This takes experience over many fields. This, Irwin, describes a glue person... someone who holds everything together or a Pareto-Optimal leader/ employee. Someone with the ability to communicate across the different sectors of a corporate structure. This would be an excellent book for students looking for a career in industry. In a word, instructive.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Locke

    Not sure I'd highly recommend the book, but it helped me think about how to practically approach and how to improve at my job. He touches on a couple of my favorite pet topics - creative destruction, career management, and preparing for economic downturns. It's a bit self-helpy, but I needed to hear how to grow into a pareto-optimal glue person. Not sure I'd highly recommend the book, but it helped me think about how to practically approach and how to improve at my job. He touches on a couple of my favorite pet topics - creative destruction, career management, and preparing for economic downturns. It's a bit self-helpy, but I needed to hear how to grow into a pareto-optimal glue person.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Phil Simon

    Much like David Epstein's recent book Range, How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World emphasizes the need for an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems. Rife with great examples and backed by solid research, Irwin's thesis is solid. His writing is excellent. In short, this book contains everything that I want in a non-fiction text. Much like David Epstein's recent book Range, How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World emphasizes the need for an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems. Rife with great examples and backed by solid research, Irwin's thesis is solid. His writing is excellent. In short, this book contains everything that I want in a non-fiction text.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This book is great! Insightful with interview/research data, contrasting analyses, and case studies. It was a nice reminder that I have to be an ever-evolving student of the economics of my industry. It gives advice on accumulating the right mix of skills to be "Pareto optimal" and emphasizes strengthening muscles that are weak vs. those that are already strong. Always have a growth mindset. This book is great! Insightful with interview/research data, contrasting analyses, and case studies. It was a nice reminder that I have to be an ever-evolving student of the economics of my industry. It gives advice on accumulating the right mix of skills to be "Pareto optimal" and emphasizes strengthening muscles that are weak vs. those that are already strong. Always have a growth mindset.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Terrazas

    A lot of stuff you've probably heard elsewhere. I was sorry he didn't engage more with the "Deep Work" hypothesis that also addresses a similar theme but comes to opposing conclusions. Still, a worthwhile read. A lot of stuff you've probably heard elsewhere. I was sorry he didn't engage more with the "Deep Work" hypothesis that also addresses a similar theme but comes to opposing conclusions. Still, a worthwhile read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Paules

    I’ll save you the trouble of reading the book. Go to Harvard. Get a job at McKinsey. Have multiple specialities. Get lucky. Success.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    Honest and in-depth advice for reaching your full potential. This advice is presented in easy to follow language that can be broken up and applied in pieces at a time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lotoya

    found out about this book on Big Think's Youtube channel. I enjoyed the current success stories and found my next book to read by Patty McCord. found out about this book on Big Think's Youtube channel. I enjoyed the current success stories and found my next book to read by Patty McCord.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Reasonably entertaining, but there's nothing new here that wasn't covered (much more rigorously!) by David Epstein's Range. Reasonably entertaining, but there's nothing new here that wasn't covered (much more rigorously!) by David Epstein's Range.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    For those out there hopping from one position to the next, chasing job experiences, networking their asses off, honing their digital skillset, and all the while worrying if they're doing something wrong because they haven't found a "home" in a company yet, this book is for you. Through a series of case studies and interviews, Irwin clearly demonstrates that the 21st-century economy now favors large, complex, technologically advanced firms. With this shift, the typical career path has also change For those out there hopping from one position to the next, chasing job experiences, networking their asses off, honing their digital skillset, and all the while worrying if they're doing something wrong because they haven't found a "home" in a company yet, this book is for you. Through a series of case studies and interviews, Irwin clearly demonstrates that the 21st-century economy now favors large, complex, technologically advanced firms. With this shift, the typical career path has also changed dramatically. Gone are the days of the linear career path and staying with one company over the course of your entire career. Irwin makes an excellent argument regarding how a linear career path is obsolete and being open-minded to technological advances is essential. Keeping an open mind will serve young professionals well as they enter and navigate the workforce. However, in targeting low-level and midlevel employees with his latest work, Irwin is often preaching to the choir. Young professionals are accustomed to making sidesteps rather than linear advancements. And they certainly are no strangers to taking on responsibilities and tasks that are well above their experience level (and pay grade). But, at least it's reassuring that they're taking the right steps to advance their career and ultimately find success and happiness. Three key takeaways from HOW TO WIN are: 1.) Develop a mindset and skillset that allows you to be adaptable and embrace change. 2.) The Career Lattice 3.) What it means to be successful or "to win" varies from person to person.

  26. 4 out of 5

    C. Patrick G. Erker

    Solid and fascinating book. I listened to it through Libby and SFPD. Lots of good fodder for people curious how to succeed in today’s changing job market. Heavy on stories from elite institutions (Harvard, McKinsey, GE, Goldman Sachs), which was disappointing to me given that the vast majority of people are trying to win outside of those domains. (The author does give some examples of people who succeed outside that norm, but they seem in most cases to be graduates of elite schools or corporate Solid and fascinating book. I listened to it through Libby and SFPD. Lots of good fodder for people curious how to succeed in today’s changing job market. Heavy on stories from elite institutions (Harvard, McKinsey, GE, Goldman Sachs), which was disappointing to me given that the vast majority of people are trying to win outside of those domains. (The author does give some examples of people who succeed outside that norm, but they seem in most cases to be graduates of elite schools or corporate leaders.) The author notes that success will require a lot more adaptability, cross-functional experience, and an entrepreneurial mindset towards your career. He’s right on point with this. I recommend to anyone trying to understand some of the dynamics of the modern day workforce (outsourcing and freelancing, the end of loyalty, the digitization of everything, the rising importance of soft skills or “glue” type roles, the rising importance of task based vs role based economics and workflow, etc) and how to succeed in it. I liked that the author ended with what’s most important to me: finding success actually isn’t about having the most successful career, but doing so given important personal and familial constraints.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bookoholiccafe

    This book emphasizes on the necessity for an interdisciplinary method when facing problems and ways to solve them. The content shows Irwin has done a great amount of research and examples that are backed by these researches. This book gives good advice to reach your full potential. From my point of view this book can be valuable to college/university graduates.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Mazzara

  29. 4 out of 5

    Addison Lewis

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matt

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