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Co-Opetition [Hardcover]

Adam M. Brandenburger , Barry J. Nalebuff
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 1996
The game of business changes constantly. So should your business strategy.

When a business strategy is so new in design, a new word must be coined to capture its value. Such is the case with co-opetition, a method that goes beyond the old rules of competition and cooperation to combine the advantages of both. Co-opetition is a pioneering, high-profit means of leveraging business relationships.

The Harvard Business School's Adam M. Brandenburger and the Yale School of Management's Barry J. Nalebuff, scholars and consultants, have developed a five-part business strategy that shows how to do more than play the game of business. It shows how you can change the game of business for maximum benefit.

Though often compared to games like chess and poker, business is different. To win at chess or poker, someone has to lose. In business, long-term profitability doesn't require others to fail. And in business, people are free to change the rules, the players, the boundaries, the game itself. Intel, Nintendo, American Express, NutraSweet, American Airlines and dozens of other companies have been using the strategies of co-opetition to change the game of business to their benefit. By telling stories of these companies, and formulating strategies based on the science of game theory, Brandenburger and Nalebuff have created a book that's insightful and instructive for managers eager to move their companies into a new mindset.

Co-opetition will revolutionize the way you play the game of business.

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From Library Journal

Losing and winning are two extremes by which businesses are often measured. Brandenburger (Harvard Business Sch.) and Nalebuff (Yale Sch. of Management) argue that most businesses and their transactions lie somewhere between the two poles. Their liberating message is that your competitor does not have to fail for you to win. Conversely, you don't have to fail either. Your failure, in fact, can hurt your competitor. It is better, the authors assert, to have both cooperation and competition. Game theory requires drawing a representation of one's customers, suppliers, competitors, and complementers. In this strategy of business as a game, the rules, players, tactics, and scope can be changed to the individual's advantage. The authors present complicated cases to illustrate their points. The writing is usually solid, but the authors went to the well too many times with some of their examples. A little variety in illustrating their ideas would have been welcome. Such minor shortcomings aside, this title is recommended for all academic libraries.?Randy L. Abbott, Univ. of Evansville Libs., Ind.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Management and organizational theorists are continually investigating new models to explain organizational behavior. Traditionally, competition has often been a component of those models, but now researchers are looking at other behaviors and using theories from other fields of study. James Moore recently proclaimed The Death of Competition (1996) and put forth a complex model based on natural ecosystems that emphasizes symbiotic, cooperative relationships. Now Brandenburger and Nalebuff, academics from the Harvard Business School and the Yale School of Management, respectively, also suggest that business strategy in today's global environment must combine competition and cooperation, but they employ mathematical game theory to make their argument. David Rouse

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A �must-read� for sure May 14 2004
Format:Hardcover
First of all I should state that this book is the kind that will make you ask yourself "Why have I not read it before?"! I strongly recommend it and shortly I will try to explain whom I recommend it and why.
In fact, we are not talking about some recent business book, and therefore the potential reader should not expect to see very recent cases as support to arguments discussed. But still, the issues are very systematically, clearly and simply explained, although the examples that are used to support the arguments are "old".
I met this "potential classic business book" (or maybe already a "classic business book") as I began to be interested in game theory. Therefore I can easily declare that "Co-opetition" is very appropriate for a person who would like to see solid, practical and especially business-oriented application areas of game theory. With this book, a "101 game theorist" can try and improve herself easily. But on the other hand, this doesn't mean that the only target readers of the book are the ones that are interested in game theory. The authors have achieved to develop and illustrate practical recommendations for business world by utilizing game theory concepts. So anyone who is business life will benefit from the concepts for sure.
The language and the methods of explanation are very clear, far from being complicated and straightforward. The authors have supported all the major concepts and conclusions by using real-life examples. This way, the reader has more "reasons" to learn and remember the arguments discussed throughout the book. The logical order and the simple modular approach used to lead the discussions also help the reader understand everything explained easily.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Change the game a bit more than this, please Nov. 22 2003
Format:Paperback
The name of the game in this book is 'get the biggest possible slice of the biggest possible pie'. '90% of $2,300 is a lot better than 50% of $2,600'. Says who? Says Barry Nalebuff.
They acknowledge that people instinctively start out by trying to get an equitable slice of a reasonably sized pie, and protect everyone else's pie at the same time - but you know what? With a little judicious ridicule, you can cure people of that attitude.
Suppose we don't want to be cured?
Nalebuff & Brandenburger regard business as both war and peace. But they see war only in its 'territory & asset-grabbing' sense, and peace, well, only in its 'territory & asset-grabbing' sense.
War on want? What's that? Real peace? What's that?
One person, in one of their audiences, proposed that business was neither war, nor peace, but marriage. Note that 'marriage' is not mentioned in the index. Note that 'divorce, threat of' is.
Co-opetition is what happens if you use co-operation to serve competition. If you'd like to see - in the interests of fair-mindedness - what happens if you put competition in the service of co-operation (comperation?), go read 'Banker to the Poor' by Mohammad Yunus. If you'd like to see the friendly face of big business, go to Amazon.co.uk (this edition not listed on Amazon.com) and put 1854105779 in the search field.
Better yet, put 'grameen' into Google, and find out why 2,300,000 people of a whole variety of faiths remember this man in their daily prayers. I'm a Quaker, and I do.
In short, while these guys were trying to teach people to make a killing, Muhammad Yunus was busy trying to help people make a living.
Comperation forever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Creating better strategies using game theory March 11 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Just out of college I was very enthusiastic to use game theory to solve business problems. But never found a way to use it. That was forty years ago. This is the first book that transforms a wonderful theory into something you can apply. The three key concepts are the "value net", PARTS and role-playing. The value net is a simple model of the players to consider. Not just your business and your client, but also the competitors, suppliers and complementors (a complimentor adds value to your product like mustard to hot dogs). PARTS are five ways to look at the game. P from players-who are they; may be add new ones, A from Added Value- how much value do you add to the game, if any, R from Rules-can the rules be changed, T from tactics, and S from Scope- making the game bigger. With role-playing I refer to putting yourself in the shoes of all the other players. How do they see the game? The book contains many practical examples. Some of these do not require game theory to think of them but without game theory you would never see all the interesting options. The book also has "spiritual" content. It shows how to find "win-win" theories and avoid price wars that are "lose-lose".Very worthwhile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Game theory applied on business March 27 2001
Format:Paperback
This book applies game theory on business and does so extremely well. I think game theory is clearly the way to approach the subject of strategy, because regular "corporate" and "business" strategy literature seems only loosely connected to actual strategic thinking. Game theory, on the other hand, is an actual theory for thinking strategically. No-one should probably even refer to himself or herself as a strategist without being literate in game theory.
The authors do a wonderful job laying out the principles. They introduce and give a thorough treatment of the concept of complementarity ("making the pie grow"), which is bound to make you a better strategist. What I also liked in this book is the notion that the best way of increasing profits is often not to play the game well but to actually change how the game is played. Reading about this really gives your mind a jump-start.
PARTS refers to the strategic levers of a game, that is the dimensions across which the game of business can be analyzed and changed (to your advantage of course). The book is filled with case studies where the principles can be seen at work. Co-opetition is simply great value for money.
If, after reading this book, you feel like digging further into game theory (there's a good chance you will) I recommend Games of Strategy by Dixit, which is a superb introductory book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding for developing an effective competitive mindset
This is an important book to read for anyone involved in competitive strategy development and/or negotiations. Read more
Published on July 8 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to Game Theory from a business perspective
The book provides a well-structured approach to Game Theory from the business perspective. The focus is placed on using Game Theory for developing successful strategies for... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2003 by Yannis Larios
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing & practical showcase of game theory
Co-opetition presents a refreshing & practical showcase of game theory. The book is concisely written with good case studies. Read more
Published on July 16 2003 by Ingo Leung
5.0 out of 5 stars revolutionary book
this book has been really inspiring and one the best i have read. its a revolutionary book changing the way people do business. Read more
Published on June 4 2003 by sudarshan
5.0 out of 5 stars revolutionary book
this book has been really inspiring and one the best i have read. its a revolutionary book changing the way people do business. Read more
Published on June 4 2003 by sudarshan
4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing is as practical as good theory
This book truly combines theory and practice. The theoretical part has already been published in scientific context, which means that there is not much new theory if you are... Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2003 by Kimmo Pekkola
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent on how the Game Theory can be applied in business
It is an excellent book to apply Game Theory to analyse Business problem, and to develop corresponding strategy. Easy to read, to follow and to adopt!
Published on April 8 2002 by Wai Kai Wong
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
Authors Adam M. Brandenburger and Barry J. Nalebuff understand that some business relationships are complementary, not competitive. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2002 by Rolf Dobelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay to Play! Learning the Game of Business
One of the best gifts I have ever received...Co-opetition by Adam M. Brandenburger was given to me by the most astute businessman I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2001 by Cory Shields
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