Book Review: Friend & Foe

book cover imageGalinsky, Adam D. and Maurice Schweitzer. Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both. Crown Business, 2015.

Yesterday, Chapel Hill native Adam Galinsky, business faculty member at Columbia Univ., presented academic research and his acquired wisdom on cooperating, competing, power and social hierarchy, to 150 Fuqua staff members. Afterward, a colleague noted to me, “That was the best speaker that we have ever heard.”

Prof. Galinsky is also an engaging writer. He presents these topics (and more) in a new book that he wrote with Wharton faculty member Maurice Schweitzer. In Friend & Foe, Galinsky and Schweitzer explain that human beings are inherently both cooperative and competitive. By nature, people compete when resources are scarce, but as social animals, they cooperate when resources are plentiful. In modern society, interactions among people are complex and require a balance of both behaviors.

Galinsky and Schweitzer explain that comparisons between people are inevitable. Competing with those with better skills can motivate people to improve their performance, but they can also trigger resentment or unethical behavior. Competing with the less skilled makes people feel satisfied. Finding the right balance is key to remaining motivated and happy.

The most interesting discussion in the book is about power. The authors present academic research that demonstrates that in a social interaction, personal power can be increased by merely thinking of a prior experience with power. Power can also be increased by adopting a power stance, standing tall, arms akimbo, legs spread. In addition they show how powerful people are often unaware of the perspectives of others and can improve their leadership skills by considering the vantage points of others.

In addition to discussing academic research, Professors Galinsky and Schweitzer use dozens of stories to provide practical advice on topics, such as: How to negotiate; How to build trust; How to detect deception; How to apologize; How to choose a good name. The new book, Friend & Foe, is recommended for all readers and as Fuqua staff discovered yesterday, author Adam Galinsky comes highly recommended as a speaker.

Also available as an eBook on OverDrive and as an audiobook on OverDrive.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

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