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Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL Hardcover – May 3, 2011
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All business leaders, not just the one who wants to be chief executive of the American company” should take notice.” Professor Martin makes the point particularly vividly, observing that the way we currently reward corporate C.E.O.’s is roughly equivalent to rewarding football teams for exceeding expectations rather than winning games.” The New York Times Economix blog
"As Roger Martin details in his brilliant, Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism can Learn From the NFL, CEO pay exploded when companies adopted reward systems based upon maximizing shareholder value.” Huffington Post
what the reader gets in Fixing the Game is deeply thoughtful business commentary with an excellent marketing case study to boot, namely the NFL” Graziadio Business Review
One of the few business school leaders to confront the disgrace of business leadership through the economic crisis, Martin is also a big football fan, and draws provocative lessons from his enthusiasm for the sport.” - CBS News
Named the Best Management Book of 2011 by strategy+business magazine
Fixing the Game is a passionate, timely, and incisive look at how today’s capitalist system, with its commitment to shareholder value, is leading to bubbles and crashes. He presents some tough-minded solutions.” The Globe and Mail
American capitalism hangs in the balance, writes Martin. His book gives a clear explanation as to why this is so and what should be done to save it.” Brilliant new book ” - Forbes.com
His conclusions have a global relevance” Financial Times
recommend Roger Martin's new book, Fixing the Game, which explores the demands of Wall Street vs. the common sense decisions of Main Street Martin is clear where successful CEOs and their Boards need to focus -- and that's on the actual game on the real field, not the one played by the bookies.” Huffington Post
very accessible text with suggestions for reform that will improve both authenticity and the bottom line.” - Publisher’s Weekly
a lively, intricate but accessible argument, neatly stitched together with references to the NFL and other sports when analogies are helpful.” - Globe & Mail
it often offers the additional feel-good fillip of a practical path toward improvement. It is a universe of engaging stories and ultimately uncontentious outcomes -- think the wildly popular oeuvre of Malcolm Gladwell.” - Reuters
Roger Martin has written a book that is at once original, insightful, and inspirational. With his tell-it-as-it-is’ bluntness, he chronicles the failures of modern-day capitalism and offers clear and realistic policy recommendations for fixing the game’ and building a better world for investors. If you enjoy wit and seek wisdom, this is the book for you.”
John C. Bogle, founder and former chief, The Vanguard Group
We’ve gone from an economy based on making things to one based on making things up. Wall Street has been remodeled as a casino in which the expectations market, reflected in stock prices, has become more important than the real market in which real factories are built, real products are developed and sold, and real dollars show up on the bottom line. Roger Martin offers a riveting account of how the expectations game is beginning to destroy the real game, threatening the future of American capitalism. Through his brilliant analysis of the NFL (which will entrance even those who don’t follow the market), he shows us how we can get back to the real game of building for the present and the future. Fixing the Game is a must-read for all who care about business being a positive agent for change in the world. And that should be all of us.”
Arianna Huffington, cofounder and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post
Fixing the Game is an essential book, one that should be read by leaders in the business community and financial regulators worldwide. Martin identifies the insidious trap that can so easily seduce entrepreneurs and CEOsthe temptation to simply trade value rather than create itand provides clear, compelling advice on how to keep focused on the real gameof creating and satisfying customers, running a business legally and ethically, and staying true to a well-thought-out real-world’ strategy.”
Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India, and former CEO, Infosys Technologies Limited
Fixing the Game artfully links theory and practice, and reminds us that getting both right is important if we are going to fix capitalism. Roger Martin asks provocative questions about what constitutes good management, and forces the reader to consider the ways in which elegant logic or a compelling theory actually undermines commonsense business practice. And along the way he identifies changesin regulation, business, and governancethat will realign private incentives with the public good.”
Judith Samuelson, Executive Director, Business and Society Program, the Aspen Institute
About the Author
Top customer reviews
People who can pull this trick off are few and far between.
Look, I'm no expert on the stock market or the economy but like 99% (reportedly) of the people I can see something is wrong and the wheels are dangerously close to coming off again.
Neither do I consume (American) Football to the degree most people seem to here in the USA, and I have only a hazy understanding of what the game is about.
However, the clarity of the explanations using the NFL metaphor in this book are such that I am in no doubt as to what the author is saying and of the sense his arguments seem to make.
If you accept that the game is broken (and not everyone does) then this book will certainly help you order your thoughts.
If you don't accept that the game is broken, you should publish a book this clear and concise explaining why not so we can all get on the same page with you, or at the very least stop throwing brickbats reflexively.
Buy this book. Read it. Buy it for friends. Go to coffee houses and discuss the ideas in it. Then invite others to join the discussion, and maybe the game can be changed - or maybe the game will be shown to be sound.
It's the American Way, or was, once upon a republic.
The theme of the book is removing the obsession with the expectations market (stock analysts, quarterly forecasts, meeting the numbers) and returning to the real market (did we sell more this year than last?), and the damage that our current obsession does. I really appreciated this fresh look on capitalism. It's not a broadside assault on the foundation of capitalism, or a book decrying it, instead, it fundamentally supports capitalism by pointing it back in the direction that makes it so successful - a way to harness labor, capital, and intelligence to raise the standard of living for everyone.
Instead of attacking CEOs, directors, and hedge fund managers, Martin goes after the system and incentives that cause them to behave the way they do. Honestly, it's in their best interest to keep on the same path - and we aren't going to change that until we change the incentives. Everything is based on incentives, and without tweaking the game to move the incentives, we lose it.
The NFL tie-ins are infrequent but useful. They typically outline why the NFL has been able to use small tweaks, incentives, and most importantly, a focus on making the fans happy, to drive long-term business results.
A good book, inexpensive on kindle, and a fast read. I highly recommend it.
My major complaints include:
1. I don't think the author has any clue what causes market bubbles, and if he does he certainly didn't cover it in 200 pages. A few books on Austrian economic theory would do the author well in understanding the role central banks play in spurring malinvenstemnt thus creating bubbles, leading to the inevitable crashes. Sure there was fraud on the part of Enron and Worldcom, among others, but CEO fraud or over-enthusiastic dot.com companies did not cause the crash of 2000. In the authors words "the villains were unscrupulous dot-com CEOs, peddlers of counterfeit value." No, they didn't portend to show profits where none existed, instead it was naive investors hoping to make a big score by investing in these new economy companies that had never earned a nickel. Anyone who has studied sound investing theory, to include Warren Buffet and me, did not invest one dime in these unproven startups.
Regarding the housing crash, I would agree some of the large banks engaged in criminal behavior by offering AAA rated investments that they knew were garbage, but if you want to know more about what REALLY happened pick up Michael Lewis' "The Big Short"; many parties were guilty in this fiasco.
2. The author also believes that investing is a zero sum game. If someone makes a dollar, then someone must have lost a dollar. In his words, "the pie is fixed." No, the pie is not fixed, which is why economies expand and contract, and why companies can create wealth. If I sell a stock for a $100 gain, the person that bought it from me has not lost $100, they merely placed a higher value on the investment than when I bought it. They have only lost if they eventually sell for less than their purchase. If it were true that for every dollar made there was a dollar lost then the market cap of a company would not change, but they do. Good companies expand in worth over time.
3. Martin also believes that Hedge Funds serve no purpose in society and should be eliminated, or drastically changed. Changed how he doesn't quite say other than to alter their compensation model. Hedge Funds serve the same purpose in an economy as any service industry. They provide a service for a fee. They are not inherently evil, and they aren't stealing grandma's life savings from under the mattress. Most (if not all) people who invest with a hedge fund are wealthy. Hedge Funds have a minimum required to invest that normally runs in the 6 figures, and for some the minimum is in the millions. If those investing with these funds don't realize the 2/20 compensation model is a bad deal then it is on them; should I push for legislation to fix their stupidity? Most hedge funds underperform the market as well. So what? They are not violating the law and we can't legislate stupidity out of existence.
Overall I found an author who is ill informed and offers few tangible solutions for what he perceives to be major problems. Additionally, the sports analogies just didn't work for me.
Most recent customer reviews
There are many times when business books come across as gaudy, pretensious, and overwhelmingly boring. Fixing the Game is not one of these.Read more