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The Winner Effect: The Neuroscience of Success and Failureby Ian H. Robertson
Synopses & Reviews
What makes a winner? Why do some people succeed both in life and in business, and others fail? Why do a few individuals end up supremely powerful, while many remain powerless?
The “winner effect” is a term used in biology to describe how an animal that has won a few fights against weak opponents is much more likely to win later bouts against stronger contenders. As Ian Robertson reveals, it applies to humans, too. Success changes the chemistry of the brain, making you more focused, smarter, more confident, and more aggressive. The effect is as strong as any drug. And the more you win, the more you will go on to win. But the downside is that winning can become physically addictive.
By understanding what the mental and physical changes are that take place in the brain of a “winner,” how they happen, and why they affect some people more than others, Robertson answers the question of why some people attain and then handle success better than others. He explains what makes a winner—or a loser—and how we can use the answers to these questions to understand better the behavior of our business colleagues, family, friends, and ourselves.
"Considering the question of whether winners are born or made, how power affects people, and related matters, Robertson (Mind Sculpture), professor of psychology at Trinity College, Dublin, has produced a book that is both utterly fascinating and deeply unsatisfying. It is fascinating in the same manner as tabloid gossip and unsatisfying because there is no reason to accept any of the explanations offered. Robertson believes it possible to merge experimental psychology with neuroscience to explain the behavior of famous individuals.Â For example he addresses why Pablo Picasso's son, Paulo, led a dysfunctional life, why the friendship between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton disintegrated, and why Tiger Woods missed a three-foot putt in a tournament playoff in 2006.Â Although Robertson acknowledges that he's merely speculating, he writes as if individual behavior is fully deterministic. He jumps among examples and time periods so freely that reading this book is akin to riding a roller-coaster while looking through a kaleidoscope. Beyond the pop psychology, Robertson does encourage readers to focus on the role power plays in interpersonal and political relationships, urging a deeper understanding of how its use can be structured to serve the greater good. Agent: Sally Holloway, Felicity Bryan Associates (U.K.)." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Ian Robertson shows how success causes dramatic changes to your brain that make you smarter, more focused and more ruthless
In the vein of Predictably Irrational, The Mind of the Market, and Drive, The Winner Effect reveals how power can be as physically addictive as any drug and able to make you worse, not better, at succeeding in the future. Ian Robertson unravels the biological and neurological roots of our success, including fascinating details such as:
Based on surprising, even jaw-dropping discoveries from scientific studies in labs around the world, The Winner Effect demonstrates the effects winning and losing have on our personal, economic and business lives.
About the Author
IAN H. ROBERTSON is professor of psychology at Trinity College Dublin where he was founding Director of Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and was previously a Fellow of Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge, where he was also a senior scientist at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. Robertson has more than two hundred published books and articles in this field, including in Nature, Brain, Journal of Neuroscience and Psychological Bulletin. A former science writer for the London Times, his books include Mind Sculpture and Opening the Minds Eye. He lives in Ireland.
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