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Finite and Infinite Games

book cover image and link to amazon

This was a bit of a strange philosophical book that was recommended in another book I was reading. I didn't particularly enjoy the way it was written and didn't glean deep moral understanding from its "All As are Bs, but not all Bs are As" style of writing. The general thrust of the book, however, was very useful and one that I'll take with me for the long haul.

In short, life is divided into games of two types: finite & infinite:

  • Finite games have rules, players, and winning conditions.
  • Infinite games are meant to be played non-stop in a way that winning is meaningless.

Large companies are often playing an infinite game. They act as though they want to "win" something, but the goal is actually to continue playing... continue earning money, continue getting investment, continue surviving, etc. This simple idea is powerful and if used properly can shape a whole new level of thought pattern when making decisions in a corporate setting.

I don't agree that all decisions in business should be made through the infinite lens, but far more should be made in that direction than are currently. For the book: I'd recommend reading a quality review on Amazon or a blog post review and moving on.


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