Competitor Quotes

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We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)
No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not work those who work with him. Don't knock your friends. Don't knock your enemies. Don't knock yourself.
Alfred Tennyson
Well, science and religion are not competitors, they’re two different languages trying to tell the same story. There’s room in this world for both.
Dan Brown (Origin (Robert Langdon, #5))
If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we'll turn out all right.
Jeff Bezos
So Haymitch, what do you think of the games have one hundred percent more competitors than usual?” asks Caesar. Haymitch shrugs. “I don’t see that it makes that much difference. They’ll still be one hundred percent as stupid as usual, so I figure my odds will be roughly the same.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
The truth is sometimes a poor competitor in the market place of ideas – complicated, unsatisfying, full of dilemmas, always vulnerable to misinterpretation and abuse.
George F. Kennan
REMEMBER YOUR GREATNESS Before you were born, And were still too tiny for The human eye to see, You won the race for life From among 250 million competitors. And yet, How fast you have forgotten Your strength, When your very existence Is proof of your greatness. You were born a winner, A warrior, One who defied the odds By surviving the most gruesome Battle of them all. And now that you are a giant, Why do you even doubt victory Against smaller numbers, And wider margins? The only walls that exist, Are those you have placed in your mind. And whatever obstacles you conceive, Exist only because you have forgotten What you have already Achieved. Poetry by Suzy Kassem
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
We raise girls to see each other as competitors—not for jobs or accomplishments, which in my opinion can be a good thing—but for the attention of men.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)
If you want to succeed and leave your competitors behind, you need great plans and even greater strategies.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
George Washington (George Washington's Farewell Address (Books of American Wisdom))
Always treat your competitors smarter than you are.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Experts who acknowledge the full extent of their ignorance may expect to be replaced by more confident competitors, who are better able to gain the trust of clients. An unbiased appreciation of uncertainty is a cornerstone of rationality—but it is not what people and organizations want.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
The crucial part of running any kind of successful business is to keep an eye on your competitors, watch what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Market research provides information about what new changes your competitors have made which you should too before it’s too late.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
I’ll insist my competitor is the greatest, so that when I beat him, I won’t be calling myself the greatest—I’ll be proving it through my actions.

Jarod Kintz (Seriously delirious, but not at all serious)
Learning about any kind of changes on time gives you a head start over your competitors which helps you not just in surviving the changes but also emerging as a leader in the end.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Proper market research keeps you informed on what your competitors are doing, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
If you want to emerge as a market leader in your industry, you should start preparing early. The sooner you decide to start, the bigger advantage you will gain over your competitors.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Competition is enjoyable only when it is a means to perfect one’s skills; when it becomes an end in itself, it ceases to be fun.
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
We always talk about competition and how easily others enter your industry and become your competitors, but the biggest threat comes from how easily your customers can switch to another brand’s products.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
They say women have intuition, but men can smell a competitor across state lines.
Lily King (Writers & Lovers)
It showed me that you must always have respect for your competitor, but don’t be in awe.
Satya Nadella (Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone)
One of the most critical strengths of a superior competitor in any discipline—whether we are speaking about sports, business negotiations, or even presidential debates—is the ability to dictate the tone of the battle.
Josh Waitzkin (The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence)
He won again. I’m beginning to realize that competing for who can stay the quietest isn’t really a good idea when my competitor is naturally the quietest person I’ve ever met.
Colleen Hoover (Ugly Love)
Most companies are not those things. They are focused on the competitor, rather than the customer.
Brad Stone (The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon)
The contest is a lion fight. So chin up, put your shoulders back, walk proud, strut a little. Don't lick your wounds. Celebrate them. The scars you bear are the sign of a competitor. You're in a lion's fight. Just because you didn't win doesn't mean you don't know how to roar.
Richard Webber
REMEMBER YOUR GREATNESS Before you were born, And were still too tiny for The human eye to see, You won the race for life From among 250 million competitors. And yet, How fast you have forgotten Your strength, When your very existence Is proof of your greatness. You were born a winner, A warrior, One who defied the odds By surviving the most gruesome Battle of them all. And now that you are a giant, Why do you even doubt victory Against smaller numbers, And wider margins? The only walls that exist, Are those you have placed in your mind. And whatever obstacles you conceive, Exist only because you have forgotten What you have already Achieved.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Competition is healthy. Especially when all your competitors are unhealthy, and hopefully sick and absent during the competition.
Jarod Kintz (99 Cents For Some Nonsense)
Listen to your customers, not your competitors.
Joel Spolsky
Strategy is your war plan. If you go to a war without your strategy, you might not be able to defeat the enemy.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
With proper strategy, if you enter a war, you can defeat even the biggest army otherwise you can be defeated by even the smallest army.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Dating is a big battlefield and proper planning becomes important to survive.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
We have become obsessed with what is good about small classrooms and oblivious about what also can be good about large classes. It’s a strange thing isn't it, to have an educational philosophy that thinks of the other students in the classroom with your child as competitors for the attention of the teacher and not allies in the adventure of learning.
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
A team that is not focused on results ... • Stagnates/fails to grow • Rarely defeats competitors • Loses achievement-oriented employees
Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable)
Always choose the most difficult way, there you will not meet competitors.
Charles de Gaulle
I had a dream about you last night. We started a shoe company, and a competitor (probably someone from Nike) attacked you, so I had to stab them in the throat with a shoelace. I guess it would have been better to use that shoelace to strangle them. 

Jarod Kintz (The Titanic would never have sunk if it were made out of a sink.)
Това е златното правило в търговията!... Когато някой се дави, натисни главата му дълбоко, за да имаш един конкурент по-малко...
Димитър Димов (Тютюн)
Naturally, every boyfriend comes with an ex-girlfriend, every business comes with competitors, but it is entirely up to you to decide how much time you spend thinking about them.
Sophia Amoruso (#GIRLBOSS)
COMPETITOR is one who can steal a few deals, but, the pinch of which, A VISIONARY Never feels...!
Sujit Lalwani (Life Simplified!)
In order to become a success, a business doesn't just have to do well, it has to to better than its competitors. Being number one isn't just about bragging rights. Often it means the difference between prospering and merely hanging on.
Mitt Romney (No Apology: The Case for American Greatness)
The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
Before you were born, and were still too tiny for the human eye to see, you won the race for life from among 250 million competitors. And yet, how fast you have forgotten your strength, when your very existence is proof of your greatness.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
This law … defines the limits of competition in the community of life. You may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. In other words, you may compete but you may not wage war.
Daniel Quinn (Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit (Ishmael, #1))
The roots of the word “compete” are the Latin con petire, which meant “to seek together.
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
The poor man's son, whom heaven has in its anger visited with ambition, goes beyong admiration of palaces to envy. He labours all his life to outdo his competitors, only to find the end that the rich are no happier than the poor in the things that really matter.
Adam Smith
...It is as though in the middle of a chess tournament one competitor should suddenly begin screaming that the other is guilty of arson or bigamy. The point that is really at issue remains untouched. Libel settles nothing...
George Orwell (Homage to Catalonia)
I have a very simple rule when it comes to management: hire the best people from your competitors, pay them more than they were earning, and give them bonuses and incentives based on their performance. That’s how you build a first-class operation.
Donald J. Trump (Trump: The Art of the Deal)
In business, there is nothing more valuable than a technical advantage your competitors don’t understand. In business, as in war, surprise is worth as much as force.
Paul Graham (Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age)
It is a strange thing, isn’t it, to have an educational philosophy that thinks of the other students in the classroom with your child as competitors for the attention of the teacher and not allies in the adventure of learning?
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
protected businesses never, never become competitive ... Halliburton, Bechtel, Parsons, KPMG, RTI, Blackwater and all other U.S. corporations that were in Iraq to take advantage of the reconstruction were part of a vast protectionist racket whereby the U.S. government had created their markets with war, barred their competitors from even entering the race, then paid them to do the work, while guaranteeing them a profit to boot - all at taxpayer expense.
Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism)
It’s better to have one huge filing with lots of detail, data, and use cases than a dozen failed filings of five to ten pages each. Minimum filing requirements are not minimum requirements to secure a patent. Who does your patent keep out, and how? Your goal in creating IP is for it to be valuable, to be connected to the company, to be linked to your products or service, and to keep out competitors.
JiNan George (The IP Miracle: How to Transform Ideas into Assets that Multiply Your Business)
Of the top 10 sources of innovation, employees are the only resource that you can control and access that your competitors cannot. Employees are the one asset you have that can actually be a sustainable competitive advantage.
Kaihan Krippendorff
Show me an organization in which employees take ownership, and I will show you one that beats its competitors.
D. Michael Abrashoff (It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy)
It is much easier to be fired for being illogical than it is for being unimaginative. The fatal issue is that logic always gets you to exactly the same place as your competitors.
Rory Sutherland (Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense)
Men write more books. Men give more lectures. Men ask more questions after lectures. Men post more e-mail to Internet discussion groups. To say this is due to patriarchy is to beg the question of the behavior's origin. If men control society, why don't they just shut up and enjoy their supposed prerogatives? The answer is obvious when you consider sexual competition: men can't be quiet because that would give other men a chance to show off verbally. Men often bully women into silence, but this is usually to make room for their own verbal display. If men were dominating public language just to maintain patriarchy, that would qualify as a puzzling example of evolutionary altruism—a costly, risky individual act that helps all of one's sexual competitors (other males) as much as oneself. The ocean of male language that confronts modern women in bookstores, television, newspapers, classrooms, parliaments, and businesses does not necessarily come from a male conspiracy to deny women their voice. It may come from an evolutionary history of sexual selection in which the male motivation to talk was vital to their reproduction.
Geoffrey Miller (The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature)
In the interests of separation, Black women have been taught to view each other as always suspect, heartless competitors for the scarce male, the all-important prize that could legitimize our existence. This dehumanizing denial of self is no less lethal than the dehumanization of racism to which it is so closely allied.
Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches)
In an environment of turbulent change, as de Geus famously wrote: “The ability to learn faster than your competitors is the only sustainable competitive advantage.
Steven Kotler (The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance)
I’m a competitor. I once placed fifth in a bottle of whiskey.
Jarod Kintz (This is the best book I've ever written, and it still sucks (This isn't really my best book))
But don’t be worried about our competitors because they`re never going to send us any money anyway. Let’s be worried about our customers and stay heads-down focused.”15
Brad Stone (The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon)
If you're a company, my advice is to remember that you can't have it both ways. You can’t treat your customers like family one moment and then treat them impersonally—or, even worse, as a nuisance or a competitor—a moment later when this becomes more convenient or profitable.
Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions)
Naturally, the first time Garreth encountered his mate—the one he’d awaited so long—she’d seen him calling his competitors pussies and playing by dirty rules. He was shirtless, well on his way to being drunk, and filthy with blood and mud. He wasn’t even wearing shoes. And it probably appeared as if he’d been about to take part in an orgy.
Kresley Cole (Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark, #9))
A woman isn't just one thing. The past is in us, constantly changing us. Heartache and failure shift our perspectives as do joy and triumphs. At any moment, on any given day, we can be friends, competitors, or enemies. We can be generous or stingy, loving or petty, helpful or untrustworthy.
Lisa See (China Dolls)
When human beings give their heartfelt allegiance to and worship that which is not God, they progressively cease to reflect the image of God. One of the primary laws of human life is that you become like what you worship; what’s more, you reflect what you worship not only to the object itself but also outward to the world around. Those who worship money increasingly define themselves in terms of it and increasingly treat other people as creditors, debtors, partners, or customers rather than as human beings. Those who worship sex define themselves in terms of it (their preferences, their practices, their past histories) and increasingly treat other people as actual or potential sex objects. Those who worship power define themselves in terms of it and treat other people as either collaborators, competitors, or pawns. These and many other forms of idolatry combine in a thousand ways, all of them damaging to the image-bearing quality of the people concerned and of those whose lives they touch.
N.T. Wright (Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church)
But yet let me lament With tears as sovereign as the blood of hearts That thou my brother, my competitor In top of all design, my mate in empire, Friend and companion in the front of war, The arm of mine own body, and the heart Where mine his thoughts did kindle—that our stars Unreconcilable should divide Our equalness to this.
William Shakespeare (Antony and Cleopatra)
This is considered almost holy work by farmers and ranchers. Kill off everything you can't eat. Kill off anything that eats what you eat. Kill off anything that doesn't feed what you eat." "It IS holy work, in Taker culture. The more competitors you destroy, the more humans you can bring into the world, and that makes it just about the holiest work there is. Once you exempt yourself from the law of limited competition, everything in the world except your food and the food of your food becomes an enemy to be exterminated.
Daniel Quinn (Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit (Ishmael, #1))
Markets do not automatically generate trust, cooperation or collective action for the common good. Quite the contrary: it is in the nature of economic competition that a participant who breaks the rules will triumph—at least in the short run—over more ethically sensitive competitors.
Tony Judt (Ill Fares The Land: A Treatise On Our Present Discontents)
Be a life-long learner. Whether you are seeking to achieve peace and harmony, learn a new technology to do your work faster, or design a strategy to blow your competitors out of the water, retraining is a pivotal way to strengthen your knowledge and realize your goals
Susan C. Young
If you’re not filing patents, but your competitors are, all you have is risk. You’re taking a huge chance that no one else will enter your space and kick you out. That’s the benefit of patents; you don’t have to let everybody in. You can let just a few major players in because you want what they have, or you don’t want to worry about them. Remember, you’re not at the big boys’ lunch table. But if you partner with their competitor, they’ll be worried. Then they’ll want to see if your patent protection is strong or if they can exploit a weakness.
JiNan George (The IP Miracle: How to Transform Ideas into Assets that Multiply Your Business)
You feel ownership over your creation, your invention, and your ideas. But if you don’t legally claim them, you’re donating them to the public—or to competitors. Say you’ve come up with a solution to a problem. Protecting that potentially valuable IP creates a limited monopoly to keep people out. It’s like zone defense in basketball. IP rights help you own your zone—your competitive space where no one else can score. If the best offense is a great defense, then no offense is the worst.
JiNan George (The IP Miracle: How to Transform Ideas into Assets that Multiply Your Business)
Economically, men and women almost form two castes; all things being equal, the former have better jobs, higher wages, and greater chances to succeed than their new female competitors; they occupy many more places in industry, in politics, and so forth, and they hold the most important positions.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex)
The reason is that good management itself was the root cause. Managers played the game the way it was supposed to be played. The very decision-making and resource-allocation processes that are key to the success of established companies are the very processes that reject disruptive technologies: listening carefully to customers; tracking competitors’ actions carefully; and investing resources to design and build higher-performance, higher-quality products that will yield greater profit. These are the reasons why great firms stumbled or failed when confronted with disruptive technological change.
Clayton M. Christensen (The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Management of Innovation and Change))
The government enforces a monopoly over the production and distribution of its alleged 'services' and brings violence to bear against would-be competitors. In so doing, it reveals the fraud at the heart of its impudent claims and gives sufficient proof that it is not a genuine protector, but a mere protection racket.
Robert Higgs
So you got rid of your astonishment that someone could write so much more dynamically than you. You stopped cherishing your aloneness and poetic differentness to your delicately flat little bosom. You said: she's to good to forget. How about making her a friend and competitor — you could learn alot from her. So you'll try. So maybe she'll laugh in your face. So maybe she'll beat you hollow in the end. So anyhow, you'll try, and maybe, possibly, she can stand you. Here's hoping!
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
consumers tend to be more price sensitive if they are purchasing products that are undifferentiated, expensive relative to their incomes, or of a sort where quality is not particularly important to them.
Michael E. Porter (Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors)
The political enemy need not be morally evil or aesthetically ugly; he need not appear as an economic competitor, and it may even be advantageous to engage with him in business transactions. But he is, nevertheless, the other, the stranger; and it is sufficient for his nature that he is, in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible. These can neither be decided by a previously determined general norm nor by the judgment of a disinterested and therefore neutral third party.
Carl Schmitt (The Concept of the Political: Expanded Edition)
If your success is not amazing to your critics, it disturbs, infuriates, and frustrates them, and if they're not careful; may go hang themselves and go to hell.
Michael Bassey Johnson
Existing political philosophies all developed before evolutionary game theory, so they do not take equilibrium selection into account. Socialism pretends that individuals are not selfish sexual competitors, so it ignores equilibria altogether. Conservatism pretends that there is only one possible equilibrium—a nostalgic version of the status quo—that society could play. Libertarianism ignores the possibility of equilibrium selection at the level of rational social discourse, and assumes that decentralized market dynamics will magically lead to equilibria that yield the highest aggregate social benefits. Far from being a scientific front for a particular set of political views, modern evolutionary psychology makes most standard views look simplistic and unimaginitive.
Geoffrey Miller (The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature)
Intelligence is the ability to solve a problem, to decipher a riddle, to master a set of facts. Judgment is the ability to orbit a problem or a set of facts and see it as it might be seen through other eyes, by observers with different biases, motives, and backgrounds. It is also the ability to take a set of facts and move it in place and time—perhaps to a hearing room or a courtroom, months or years in the future—or to the newsroom of a major publication or the boardroom of a competitor. Intelligence is the ability to collect and report what the documents and witnesses say; judgment is the ability to say what those same facts mean and what effect they will have on other audiences.
James B. Comey (A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership)
We raise girls to see each other as competitors—not for jobs or accomplishments, which in my opinion can be a good thing—but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way boys are. If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about their girlfriends. But our daughters’ boyfriends? God forbid. (But we of course expect them to bring home the perfect man for marriage when the time is right.)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)
It has happened that a species has tried to live in violation of the Law of Limited Competition. Or rather it has happened one time, in one human culture—ours. That’s what our agricultural revolution is all about. That’s the whole point of totalitarian agriculture: We hunt our competitors down, we destroy their food, and we deny them access to food. That’s what makes it totalitarian.
Daniel Quinn (The Story of B: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit)
When you're Singapore's leader and your existence depends on performance - extraordinary performance, better than your competitors - when that performance disappears because the system on which it's been based becomes eroded, then you've lost everything... I try to tell the younger generation that and they say the old man is playing the same record, we've heard it all before. I happen to know how we got here and I know how we can unscramble it." - On one freak election result ruining Singapore
Lee Kuan Yew
Remember that when a women gets the job you wanted or dates that bloke you fancied or wears a dress you loved but couldn't afford, she hasn't taken anything from you. There is time and space for you to do it too. One of the cleverest things the patriarchy did was make us believe that there is only one tiny sliver of success cake available; that we all have to fight over it; that a woman who tramples on her competitors to chow it down first is somehow 'ruthless' or to borrow a phrase from Apprentice-ese, 'a natural business mind.' This is a scare-mongering lie. There are so many cakes to eat. And if you can't find the slice you want, try baking one. Cake for everyone! Let them eat cake! I've got lost in the metaphor.
Scarlett Curtis (Feminists Don't Wear Pink (And Other Lies): Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to Them)
The businessman who wishes to gain a market by throttling a superior competitor, the worker who wants a share of his employer's wealth, the artist who envies a rival's higher talent - they're all wishing facts out of existence and destruction is the only means of their wish. If they pursue it, they will not achieve a market, a fortune, or an immortal fame - they will merely destroy production
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
I profoundly believer, as Grammen's experience over twenty years has shown, that personal gains is not the only possible fuel for free enterprise. Social goals can replace greed as a powerful motivational force. Social-consciousness-driven enterprises can be formidable competitors for the greed-based enterprises. I believe that if we play our cards right, social-consciousness-driven enterprises can do very well in the marketplace.
Muhammad Yunus (Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty)
Inevitably, the manufacturers of processed food argue that they have allowed us to become the people we want to be, fast and busy, no longer slaves to the stove. But in their hands, the salt, sugar, and fat they have used to propel this social transformation are not nutrients as much as weapons—weapons they deploy, certainly, to defeat their competitors but also to keep us coming back for more.
Michael Moss (Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us)
Science’s skeptical core makes it a poor competitor for human hearts and minds, which recoil from its ongoing controversies and prefer the security of seemingly eternal truths. If the scientific approach were just one more interpretation of the cosmos, it would never have amounted to much; but science’s big-time success rests on the fact that it works. If you board an aircraft built according to science – with principles that have survived numerous attempts to prove them wrong – you have a far better chance of reaching your destination than you do in an aircraft constructed by the rules of Vedic astrology.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution)
But for most trees, height is all about getting more sun. A forest is an intensely competitive place, and sunlight is a scarce but critical resource. And even when you’re a redwood, the tallest of all tree species, you still have to worry about getting enough sun because you’re in a forest of other redwoods. Often a species’ most important competitor is itself. Thus the redwood is locked in an evolutionary arms race—or in this case, a “height race”—with itself. It grows tall because other redwoods are tall, and if it doesn’t throw most of its effort into growing upward as fast as possible, it will literally wither and die in the shadows of its rivals.
Kevin Simler (The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life)
Markets mean patrons, buyers, consumers. There is under capitalism one way to wealth: to serve the consumers better and cheaper than other people do. But in the shop and factory, the owner—or in the corporations, the representative of the shareholders, the president—is the boss. The mastership is merely apparent and conditional. He is subject to the supremacy of the consumer. The consumer is king—the real boss—and the manufacturer is done for if he does not outstrip his competitors in best serving the consumers. It was this great economic transformation that changed the face of the world.
Ludwig von Mises (The Free Market Reader (LvMI))
And then there was that key point in On the Origin of Species. That crucial point that somehow both David and before him Francis Galton had missed. What does Darwin say is the best way of building a strong species, of allowing it to endure into the future, to withstand the blows of Chaos in all her mighty forms—flood, drought, rising sea levels, fluctuating temperatures, invasions of competitors, predators, pests? Variation. Variation in genes, and hence in behavior and physical traits. Homogeneity is a death sentence. To rid a species of its mutants and outliers is to make that species dangerously vulnerable to the elements.
Lulu Miller (Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life)
Six Strategy Traps 1) The do-it-all strategy: failing to make choices, and making everything a priority. Remember, strategy is choice. 2) The Don Quixote strategy: attacking competitive "walled cities" or taking on the strongest competitor first, head-to-head. Remember, where to play is your choice. Pick somewhere you can have a choice to win. 3) The Waterloo Strategy: starting wars on multiple fronts with multiple competitors at the same time. No company can do everything well. If you try to do so, you will do everything weakly. 4) The something-for-everyone strategy: attempting to capture all consumer or channel or geographic or category segments at once. Remember, to create value, you have to choose to serve some constituents really well and not worry about the others. 5) The dreams-that-never-come-true strategy: developing high-level aspirations and mission statements that never get translated into concrete where-to-play and how-to-win choices, core capabilities, and management systems. Remember that aspirations are not strategy. Strategy is the answer to all five questions in the choice cascade. 6) The program-of-the-month strategy: settling for generic industry strategies, in which all competitors are chasing the same customers, geographies, and segments in the same way. The choice cascade and activity system that supports these choices should be distinctive. The more your choices look like those of your competitors, the less likely you will ever win.
A.G. Lafley (Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works)
But when the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people. If any of them should happen to propose a scheme of liberty, soberly limited, and defined with proper qualifications, he will be immediately outbid by his competitors, who will produce something more splendidly popular. Suspicions will be raised of his fidelity to his cause. Moderation will be stigmatized as the virtue of cowards; and compromise as the prudence of traitors; until, in hopes of preserving the credit which may enable him to temper, and moderate, on some occasions, the popular leader is obliged to become active in propagating doctrines, and establishing powers, that will afterwards defeat any sober purpose at which he ultimately might have aimed.
Edmund Burke (Reflections on the Revolution in France)
For Gracias, the Tesla and SpaceX investor and Musk’s friend, the 2008 period told him everything he would ever need to know about Musk’s character. He saw a man who arrived in the United States with nothing, who had lost a child, who was being pilloried in the press by reporters and his ex-wife and who verged on having his life’s work destroyed. “He has the ability to work harder and endure more stress than anyone I’ve ever met,” Gracias said. “What he went through in 2008 would have broken anyone else. He didn’t just survive. He kept working and stayed focused.” That ability to stay focused in the midst of a crisis stands as one of Musk’s main advantages over other executives and competitors. “Most people who are under that sort of pressure fray,” Gracias said. “Their decisions go bad. Elon gets hyperrational. He’s still able to make very clear, long-term decisions. The harder it gets, the better he gets. Anyone who saw what he went through firsthand came away with more respect for the guy. I’ve just never seen anything like his ability to take pain.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
STAGE 1—shared by most street gangs and characterized by despair, hostility, and the collective belief that “life sucks.” STAGE 2—filled primarily with apathetic people who perceive themselves as victims and who are passively antagonistic, with the mind-set that “my life sucks.” Think The Office on TV or the Dilbert comic strip. STAGE 3—focused primarily on individual achievement and driven by the motto “I’m great (and you’re not).” According to the authors, people in organizations at this stage “have to win, and for them winning is personal. They’ll outwork and outthink their competitors on an individual basis. The mood that results is a collection of ‘lone warriors.’” STAGE 4—dedicated to tribal pride and the overriding conviction that “we’re great (and they’re not).” This kind of team requires a strong adversary, and the bigger the foe, the more powerful the tribe. STAGE 5—a rare stage characterized by a sense of innocent wonder and the strong belief that “life is great.” (See Bulls, Chicago, 1995–98.)
Phil Jackson (Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success)
In my lifelong study of the scores of species of ants to be found in the tropical forests of Dal Hon, I am led to the conviction that all forms of life are engaged in a struggle to survive, and that within each species there exists a range of natural but variable proclivities, of physical condition and of behaviour, which in turn weighs for or against in the battle to survive and procreate. Further, it is my suspicion that in the act of procreation, such traits are passed on. By extension, one can see that ill traits reduce the likelihood of both survival and procreation. On the basis of these notions, I wish to propose to my fellow scholars at this noble gathering a law of survival that pertains to all forms of life. But before I do so, I must add one more caveat, drawn from the undeniable behavioural characteristics of, in my instance of speciality, ants. To whit, success of one form of life more often than not initiates devastating population collapse among competitors, and indeed, sometimes outright extinction. And that such annihilation of rivals may in fact be a defining feature of success. Thus, my colleagues, I wish to propose a mode of operation among all forms of life, which I humbly call-in my four-volume treatise-‘The Betrayal of the Fittest’. Obsessional Scrolls Sixth Day Proceedings Address Of Skavat Gill Unta, Malazan Empire, 1097 Burn's Sleep
Steven Erikson (Dust of Dreams (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #9))
In neo-classical economic theory, it is claimed without evidence that people are basically self-seeking, that they want above all the satisfaction of their material desires: what economists call "maximising utility". The ultimate objective of mankind is economic growth, and that is maximized only through raw, and lightly regulated, competition. If the rewards of this system are spread unevenly, that is a necessary price. Others on the planet are to be regarded as either customers, competitors or factors of production. Effects upon the planet itself are mere "externalities" to the model, with no reckoning of the cost - at least for now. Nowhere in this analysis appears factors such as human cooperation, love, trust, compassion or hatred, curiosity or beauty. Nowhere appears the concept of meaning. What cannot be measured is ignored. But the trouble is that once our basic needs for shelter and food have been met, these factors may be the most important of all.
Carne Ross (The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century)
The television commercial has mounted the most serious assault on capitalist ideology since the publication of Das Kapital. To understand why, we must remind ourselves that capitalism, like science and liberal democracy, was an outgrowth of the Enlightenment. Its principal theorists, even its most prosperous practitioners, believed capitalism to be based on the idea that both buyer and seller are sufficiently mature, well informed and reasonable to engage in transactions of mutual self-interest. If greed was taken to be the fuel of the capitalist engine, the surely rationality was the driver. The theory states, in part, that competition in the marketplace requires that the buyer not only knows what is good for him but also what is good. If the seller produces nothing of value, as determined by a rational marketplace, then he loses out. It is the assumption of rationality among buyers that spurs competitors to become winners, and winners to keep on winning. Where it is assumed that a buyer is unable to make rational decisions, laws are passed to invalidate transactions, as, for example, those which prohibit children from making contracts...Of course, the practice of capitalism has its contradictions...But television commercials make hash of it...By substituting images for claims, the pictorial commercial made emotional appeal, not tests of truth, the basis of consumer decisions. The distance between rationality and advertising is now so wide that it is difficult to remember that there once existed a connection between them. Today, on television commercials, propositions are as scarce as unattractive people. The truth or falsity of an advertiser's claim is simply not an issue. A McDonald's commercial, for example, is not a series of testable, logically ordered assertions. It is a drama--a mythology, if you will--of handsome people selling, buying and eating hamburgers, and being driven to near ecstasy by their good fortune. No claim are made, except those the viewer projects onto or infers from the drama. One can like or dislike a television commercial, of course. But one cannot refute it.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
Six Telltale Signs of a Winning Strategy 1) An activity system that looks different from any competitor's system. It means you are tempting to deliver value in a distinctive way. 2) Customers who absolutely adore you, and noncustomers who can't see why anybody would buy from you. This means you have been choiceful. 3) Competitors who make a good profit doing what they are doing. It means your strategy has left where-to-play and how-to-win choices for competitors, who don't need to attack the heart of your market to survive. 4) More resources to spend on an ongoing basis than competitors have. This means you are winning the value equation and have the biggest margin between price and costs and best capacity to add spending to take advantage of an opportunity to defend your turf. 5) Competitors who attack one another, not you. It means that you look like the hardest target in the (broadly defined) industry to attack. 6) Customers who look first to you for innovations, new products, and service enhancement to make their lives better. This means that your customers believe that you are uniquely positioned to create value for them.
A.G. Lafley (Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works)
The heroic and often tragic stories of American whalemen were renowned. They sailed the world’s oceans and brought back tales filled with bravery, perseverance, endurance, and survival. They mutinied, murdered, rioted, deserted, drank, sang, spun yarns, scrimshawed, and recorded their musings and observations in journals and letters. They survived boredom, backbreaking work, tempestuous seas, floggings, pirates, putrid food, and unimaginable cold. Enemies preyed on them in times of war, and competitors envied them in times of peace. Many whalemen died from violent encounters with whales and from terrible miscalculations about the unforgiving nature of nature itself. And through it all, whalemen, those “iron men in wooden boats” created a legacy of dramatic, poignant, and at times horrific stories that can still stir our emotions and animate the most primal part of our imaginations. “To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme,” proclaimed Herman Melville, and the epic story of whaling is one of the mightiest themes in American history.
Eric Jay Dolin (Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America)
The Peacemaker Colt has now been in production, without change in design, for a century. Buy one to-day and it would be indistinguishable from the one Wyatt Earp wore when he was the Marshal of Dodge City. It is the oldest hand-gun in the world, without question the most famous and, if efficiency in its designated task of maiming and killing be taken as criterion of its worth, then it is also probably the best hand-gun ever made. It is no light thing, it is true, to be wounded by some of the Peacemaker’s more highly esteemed competitors, such as the Luger or Mauser: but the high-velocity, narrow-calibre, steel-cased shell from either of those just goes straight through you, leaving a small neat hole in its wake and spending the bulk of its energy on the distant landscape whereas the large and unjacketed soft-nosed lead bullet from the Colt mushrooms on impact, tearing and smashing bone and muscle and tissue as it goes and expending all its energy on you. In short when a Peacemaker’s bullet hits you in, say, the leg, you don’t curse, step into shelter, roll and light a cigarette one-handed then smartly shoot your assailant between the eyes. When a Peacemaker bullet hits your leg you fall to the ground unconscious, and if it hits the thigh-bone and you are lucky enough to survive the torn arteries and shock, then you will never walk again without crutches because a totally disintegrated femur leaves the surgeon with no option but to cut your leg off. And so I stood absolutely motionless, not breathing, for the Peacemaker Colt that had prompted this unpleasant train of thought was pointed directly at my right thigh. Another thing about the Peacemaker: because of the very heavy and varying trigger pressure required to operate the semi-automatic mechanism, it can be wildly inaccurate unless held in a strong and steady hand. There was no such hope here. The hand that held the Colt, the hand that lay so lightly yet purposefully on the radio-operator’s table, was the steadiest hand I’ve ever seen. It was literally motionless. I could see the hand very clearly. The light in the radio cabin was very dim, the rheostat of the angled table lamp had been turned down until only a faint pool of yellow fell on the scratched metal of the table, cutting the arm off at the cuff, but the hand was very clear. Rock-steady, the gun could have lain no quieter in the marbled hand of a statue. Beyond the pool of light I could half sense, half see the dark outline of a figure leaning back against the bulkhead, head slightly tilted to one side, the white gleam of unwinking eyes under the peak of a hat. My eyes went back to the hand. The angle of the Colt hadn’t varied by a fraction of a degree. Unconsciously, almost, I braced my right leg to meet the impending shock. Defensively, this was a very good move, about as useful as holding up a sheet of newspaper in front of me. I wished to God that Colonel Sam Colt had gone in for inventing something else, something useful, like safety-pins.
Alistair MacLean (When Eight Bells Toll)
The “German problem” after 1970 became how to keep up with the Germans in terms of efficiency and productivity. One way, as above, was to serially devalue, but that was beginning to hurt. The other way was to tie your currency to the deutsche mark and thereby make your price and inflation rate the same as the Germans, which it turned out would also hurt, but in a different way. The problem with keeping up with the Germans is that German industrial exports have the lowest price elasticities in the world. In plain English, Germany makes really great stuff that everyone wants and will pay more for in comparison to all the alternatives. So when you tie your currency to the deutsche mark, you are making a one-way bet that your industry can be as competitive as the Germans in terms of quality and price. That would be difficult enough if the deutsche mark hadn’t been undervalued for most of the postwar period and both German labor costs and inflation rates were lower than average, but unfortunately for everyone else, they were. That gave the German economy the advantage in producing less-than-great stuff too, thereby undercutting competitors in products lower down, as well as higher up the value-added chain. Add to this contemporary German wages, which have seen real declines over the 2000s, and you have an economy that is extremely hard to keep up with. On the other side of this one-way bet were the financial markets. They looked at less dynamic economies, such as the United Kingdom and Italy, that were tying themselves to the deutsche mark and saw a way to make money. The only way to maintain a currency peg is to either defend it with foreign exchange reserves or deflate your wages and prices to accommodate it. To defend a peg you need lots of foreign currency so that when your currency loses value (as it will if you are trying to keep up with the Germans), you can sell your foreign currency reserves and buy back your own currency to maintain the desired rate. But if the markets can figure out how much foreign currency you have in reserve, they can bet against you, force a devaluation of your currency, and pocket the difference between the peg and the new market value in a short sale. George Soros (and a lot of other hedge funds) famously did this to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992, blowing the United Kingdom and Italy out of the system. Soros could do this because he knew that there was no way the United Kingdom or Italy could be as competitive as Germany without serious price deflation to increase cost competitiveness, and that there would be only so much deflation and unemployment these countries could take before they either ran out of foreign exchange reserves or lost the next election. Indeed, the European Exchange Rate Mechanism was sometimes referred to as the European “Eternal Recession Mechanism,” such was its deflationary impact. In short, attempts to maintain an anti-inflationary currency peg fail because they are not credible on the following point: you cannot run a gold standard (where the only way to adjust is through internal deflation) in a democracy.
Mark Blyth (Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea)