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No Contest: The Case Against Competition Paperback – Sep 11 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; None edition (Sept. 11 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395631254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395631256
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #138,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5 2003
Format: Paperback
A friend recommended this to me because it changed her life. It is changing mine as well. Like the fish who has suddenly become aware of the water around him, I have become aware of the competitive environment in which we live - and how that environment is slowly poisoning us.
Kohn defines competition as "mutually exclusive goal attainment" - a situation where someone wins only if others lose. This type of structure, by its very nature, erodes human relationships. Kohn is not asking us to do away with incentives or tests - he is asking us to stop using them to determine a "winner." Kohn shows that people in a cooperative setting will attain a goal with more efficiency and creativity than people in a competitive setting.
But what about market competitiveness and the benefits for consumers? Yes, but think of the goal, the driving force behind this: making more money than the next company. That means polluting the environment (cleaner is usually more expensive), exploiting workers (the so-called minimum wage is not enough for anyone to live on), and even committing fraud. As Kohn explains, the nature of competition means that the goal becomes the most important thing. Everything else is merely an obstacle; everyone else an enemy.
Sometimes I wish I hadn't read this book - it has thrown my view of the world upside down and made me question my work at a management consulting company. But I realize this is just the initial discomfort one feels after walking out of a dark room into the sunlight. The glare may hurt at first, but after your eyes have adjusted, you appreciate the new world you see around you. This book may hurt at first, but give it a chance and see if it doesn't change your world and your relationships for the better.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The seller wrote that it was shelf damaged only. He said there was no inside markings. In fact, the first page was torn out...perhaps to get rid of an inspcription? and there were markings in pencil throughout the book. Also, the previous owner had stamped his name and address in ink on the side of the book opposite the spine and on the top of the book. I found this disappointing.
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Kohn presents an excellent argument against the "carrot and stick" methods traditionally found in behaviorism. In fact, he appears to challenge the entire philosophy and behaviorist approaches because humans are not just a set of conditioned responses. Mr. Kohn's argument appears to be focused on helping people develop an intrinsic gauge to determine and develop their own standards and to take pride in what they are reasonably able to accomplish.
Mr. Kohn's theory is well-researched and is for me, 100% believable. His use of language and examples are effective in communicating his message. He appears to have a genuine sympathy for humankind in general and seems to feel that people will do their best provided they are encourged to do so for their own growth and development and not at the expense of others.
I have always believed that COMPETITION KILLS COOPERATION and that creating rivalry among people often undermines the outcome in the long run.
Dispensing what I call "lollipop" awards, that is, uniform awards given to all participants is wasteful. Nobody's performance is being distinguished, so therefore an award is asinine and meaningless. Although "lollipops" are awarded with the best of good intentions, they are unrealistic. They fly in the face of what awards really stand for -- noting exceptional performance. Lollipops are not a panacea for one's basic desire to do well and be recognized for an outstanding performance. No playing field can ever be level and merely passing out "lollipops" is patronizing and insulting. I, for one, abhor "lollipops" and I could never accept such an award/prize in good conscience. For me, it has to be earned/won fairly and honestly or it just doesn't count.
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Format: Paperback
Alfie Kohn's competing view to America's sacrosanct blind obsession with competition is well researched and articulated. Although Kohn provides a powerful argument against competition, it is unfortunate that he provides no advice on how this stance can cooperate and thrive peacefully in tandem with the practice of competition...
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Format: Paperback
Alfie Kohn's competing view to America's sacrosanct blind obsession with competition is well researched and articulated. Although Kohn provides a powerful argument against competition, it is unfortunate that he provides no advice on how this stance can cooperate and thrive peacefully in tandem with the practice of competition...
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By A Customer on May 11 2003
Format: Paperback
A must read for everyone raised in a competitve society like America,and most emphatically for each and every American.
Can not recommend this book enough
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By A Customer on Nov. 19 2001
Format: Paperback
In response to the negative review, it is ridiculous to talk about human progress built on the effort to compete when the negative results of this so-called progress are so evident, both in terms of the rampant unhappiness and low self-esteem of people in the "wealthy" world in spite of their success, as well as the horrific destruction of natural resources in the wake of such progress. The majority of people are in jobs that they detest, competing with one another for things they don't even want. Obviously, this outdated competitive model is questionable. It is also ridiculous to say that writing a book or expressing oneself is necessarily a competitive act. To put one's thoughts "out there" doesn't mean that you are concerned with how your book does in comparison to someone else's. I know that for myself, as an author, it is not a consideration. If it's helpful to people, and they buy it, then I make a living, which has nothing to do whatsoever with competition unless I make it so. If they don't, so be it. Mr. Kohn has proposed something very valuable to anyone who works with children - as an educator, parent or volunteer. It is quite obvious to see children shrink when competition is required. They need to know that who they are is even more important than what they do. That creates people who strive to compete with themselves and not others, which is never more than comparing apples and oranges anyway, as we are all unique and tests are inadequate to show that. I recommend this book to anyone who is a supervisor, manager, teacher or parent.
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