Published: Feb 27th, 2014
Guardian Bookstore |
A BIGGER PRIZE: Why Competition Isn't Everything And How We Do Better was first published in 2014.
Writing may appear to be the ultimate solo activity but every author knows it is really a collaboration. And I've been fortunate in the many men, women and children who have helped me to understand how we manage our feelings of competitiveness and develop our ability to work together. Chief among these are my agent, Natasha Fairweather, and my editor, Mike Jones. They both had faith in this book early and throughout, offering excellent questions, challenges and ideas that have made it richer.
I've also been very fortunate to work again with Isobel Eaton, a gifted and imaginative researcher who seems to have a strong stomach for tough assignments and I'm indebted to her for finding many of the remarkable people who have talked to me so honestly about their experiences of the competitive and collaborative life.
Everyone in these pages - many of them recognizable only to themselves - gave their time generously, offering insight, reflection, and openness of a kind that it was a privilege to share. But many others form a deep, unseen foundation to my thinking: Philip Auger, Kate Bernhardt, Charlotte Calkin, John Carlisle, Judith Derbyshire, Jane Drabble, Paul Duggan, Tony Falbo, Clarissa Farr, Eileen Fisher, Mia Gray, Ava Griffith, Ginger Hardage, Erin Hoffman, Saj-Nicole Joni, the late Rush Kidder, Stef Kranendijk, Bernard Litaer, Donald Low, Ed Mayo, Christopher Meyer, Paul Moore, Patrick Moynihan, Bill Nemtin, Hilary Old, Daniel Oran, Frank Partnoy, Jessica Ronane, Rachel Rosenblum, Michael Smith all contributed to much that is in this book.
As I discovered, competitiveness or collaboration can be found everywhere, and I'm grateful to many guides who showed me the impact these two forces make on their lives: Father Aidan Bellinger, Edmund Newell and Dr. Anthony White on the church; Neil Tully on the world of wine; Mary King and Ferdi Alberg on competitive horse-riding; Gisela Stewart on party politics; Leonor Stjepic on competition among charities; Graham White on the law; Jo Hawes and Jessica Ronane on child actors. Matthew Rock stopped me from speaking foolishly about cricket.
Kathy August, Clarissa Farr, Chuck Finkle, Beth Weiner, Elaine Goldberg and Charles Fadel helped me find my way through the thickets of current education while students from many schools, including Manchester Academy, Norton Hill and Millfield were frank in sharing their thoughts and experiences with me. I'm also grateful to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and their audition candidates for letting me sit in on their very careful selection process. Nicolette Hahn Niman and Rick Dove were unstinting in showing me how the meat industry works. Simon Middlemass, Steve Phillips, Stephane Diagana, Ian Williamson and Annie Skinner showed understanding and insight into sport that opened my eyes.
Alexandra and Caroline Paul, together with Prophecy Coles, Rosalind Edwards, Kate Gilbert, Albert Roux, Jan Seriff and Tim and Jeff Lott shed a great deal of light on sibling rivalry for me. My sister, Pamela Stewart, continues to show me how precious and wise a sibling can be.
As always, Albert Bandura was a great source of wisdom, support and encouragement and Robert Burton helped me distinguish the signal from the noise of neuroscience. Nick Bicat, Iona Bird, Dorothy Nancekievill, Lizzie Tocknell, Adam Tudhope and John Williams were all terrific guides through the world of music. I am also indebted to Ben and Peter Stocks, who, together with David Erdal taught me a great deal about the history and future of employee ownership. In Finland, Raila Pirinen together with Glenn and Carita Orlando were wonderful hosts as well as sources.
Many business organizations allowed me to explore and test some of my ideas at an early stage, in particular Footdown, the Caux Initiatives of Change and Merryck & Co. The insights of those on the coalface of business provided essential reality tests. At the University of Bath, I am fortunate in outstanding colleagues, especially Glynis Breakwell, Veronica Hope-Haley, Michael Mayer, Stephen Rangecroft and Bruce Rayton. Their support of my work has proved a wonderful collaboration.
Like any researcher, I'm indebted to libraries and librarians, especially those at the University of Bath, Bristol University and the wonderful London Library.
Criss-crossing the world was made very much more enjoyable, thanks to the warm welcome, curiosity and hospitality from Beth Edwards, Cindy Solomon, Cinta Burgos, Pam Esty, Witney Beals and Rob and Fiona Wilson. Thank you for offering a warm and welcome respite from hotel rooms. I'm also indebted to Rebecca Lynn-Nicholson, David and Denise Nicholson for their endless patience and support.
For the study of competition and collaboration, there is no laboratory as intense (or uncontrolled) as my family. I would like to say that my children, Felix and Leonora Nicholson, were patient with my enquiries but they were better than that: fierce, argumentative, at turns furious, hilarious and chastening. I continue to learn a lot from them and I hope that they feel they've learned something from me too.
If at times, during the darker moments of this book, I began to lose faith in human generosity, I needed to look no further than my husband Lindsay for inspiration. His willingness to engage in exploration, debate, doubt and challenge was inexhaustible, punctilious and illuminating, proof, if it were needed, that altruism is not always self-interested.
Boston and Farrington Gurney|
"A remarkable book... it is a tour de force of brilliant insights, broad-span applications and written in the most engaging style"