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Play to Win!: Choosing Growth Over Fear in Work and Life Hardcover – July 14, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bard Press; 1st edition (July 14, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885167318
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885167316
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Larry Wilson is a case study in how the self-help business has "gone corporate." He founded Wilson Learning Corporation in 1965, sold that company, and in 1983 started Pecos River, a training and consulting firm specializing in "accelerating and facilitating individual and organizational change and growth." Pecos River is now Pecos River Change Management Division of Aon Consulting Worldwide, a firm that can trace its own lineage back to insurance tycoon and self-help maven W. Clement Stone's Combined Insurance Company of America. With a nod to Abraham Maslow and his theory of self-actualization, the Wilsons challenge readers to "thrive instead of survive," grow up emotionally and spiritually, and think in new ways. For them winning is not beating out others but avoiding the mindset of simply "playing not to lose." Presented effectively in low-key, straightforward fashion, this book is based on techniques Wilson's firm has developed and utilized in work with more than 500,000 persons. David Rouse

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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One of the best business books ever written.
Bradford Hall
This revealing book will change your life and how you do business.
Linda Chandler (bizseminar@aol.com)
The message of the book is very easy to understand.
Manny Hernandez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Reading 'Play to Win: Choosing Growth over Fear in Work and Life' was, like its authors profess life to the fullest should be -- an adventure! Instead of focusing on success, it focused on fulfillment (of which success is a byproduct). 'Play to Win' acknowledged and identifed elements that keep one from a fulfilled life. It educated and provided processes, complete with catch phrases, to achieve an adventuresome life. The only reason it took me two nights to read was that I was stopped in my tracks when I came to, what was for me, a powerful quotation at the beginning of Part V, " One has to abandon altogether the search for security and reach out to the risk of living with both arms."--Morris L. West. How on earth would I begin to abandon my need for security? I was afraid to read on because 'Play To Win' might tell me how and then, my life would be . . . different. Could I choose Growth Over Fear?(the subtitle). The book presents many familiar methods, and for me, new defintions and processes to live a more fulfilled, balanced life. I use the "Stop Challenge Choose" mantra daily in trying to overcome my usual reactionary attitude. I had always thought of my life as a journey, but I want the adventure set forth by the Wilsons! By completing the simple written exercise using easy-to-understand definitions, 'Play To Win' helped me re-affirm my life purpose and establish a new vision (what do I want) for a balanced, fulfilled life and a flexible plan of -- what can I give up to get what I want?/What do I need to DO to get what I want? I recommend this book for anyone seeking self-understanding or anyone who may feel discontent with their life but do not know why or what is missing. It really helped me sort things out and gave me a vision for today of where I want to be and tools to get me there. I shared my copy with a friend, who immediately wanted her own copy to pass along to others as well.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The insights shared in "Play To Win!" have had deep and profound impact on me, both personally and professionally. In business, I have new tools to greatly improve my results -- and enjoy my work in the process. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to leaders and shop floor employees alike. The learnings are too important to "discriminate" based on corporate caste systems. Personally, what I've learned from "Play To Win!" has helped me survive the stress and devastation of watching my six- year-old son undergo a bone marrow transplant to beat cancer. This book IS about choosing growth over fear, no matter what our situations in life. From Larry and Hersch Wilson, I now understand that while we cannot control all the events that happen in our lives, we have a great deal of choice in how we respond to them. Do yourself a favor -- don't just read this book -- USE IT.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on April 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The message of the book is very easy to understand. It boils down to not having fear or letting fear and emotions control our reactions. Always STOP, CHALLENGE and CHOOSE in the face of crisis. Stop to think. Challenge your moment's thoughts and reactions. Choose the optimal course of action. The definition of the author for winning is lovely indeed: to do the best that one can with all that one has.
Now, in terms of implementation, there is a lot of space devoted to the what, but barely one chapter devoted to the how to put the book's ideas in practice, although it's fair to say that there's a good number of examples and cases brought forward. The second to last chapter is dedicated to putting together a Statement of Purpose, followed by a Vision and a plan to set it all in motion, but I can't help remembering the level of detail that Stephen Covey goes into in his book "The 7 Habits..." when discussing this same topic, and this is one that he covers early on in his book, devoting the rest of it to ways to make it happen.
All in all, it feels like a useful Step 1 book, whose key message (STOP, CHALLENGE and CHOOSE) is helpful to have present at all times, but not a book that will help make a huge step in changing your life for the long term: it falls short in some aspects, which is why I recommend Stephen Covey's work more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dennis P. Coyne on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received this book about 5 years ago and it sat on a shelf in my office. I retired, moved, and was cleaning up stuff to get rid of. Had the book in my hand and looking at the waste basket. Felt guilty enough to look inside and noticed a forward by Ken Blanchard whom I have much admiration for. I read the forward and discoved that Ken stated this was the best thing since sliced bread. Decided to read it.

Blancard was right. The title is a misnomer. It should really be: Learn to Live. But who would read that?

This book offers thoughts on how to think about thinking; the importance of appropriate risk taking in our lives; what is involved in the good decision process and strategies to do so - the 2 minute drill; how to turn your live around and move forward. The book concludes with the importance of building your spiritual life and why that is important.

I recommended this book for the inclusion to a course we teach for the chronically unemployed - addicts, felons, etc with a St Vincent de Paul program in Cincinnati called Operation Bootstraps. It has helped us tremedously with these people - they continually tell us how important the book is to them.

My biggest problem is finding more books which is becoming an issue.

Dennis Coyne
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