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For the Win

How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business

Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter

Take your business to the next level—for the win

Millions flock to their computers, consoles, mobile phones, tablets, and social networks each day to play World of Warcraft, Farmville, Scrabble, and countless other games, generating billions in sales each year.

The careful and skillful construction of these games is built on decades of research into human motivation and psychology: A well-designed game goes right to the motivational heart of the human psyche.

In For the Win, authors Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter argue persuasively that gamemakers need not be the only ones benefiting from game design. Werbach and Hunter are lawyers and World of Warcraft players who created the world’s first course on gamification at the Wharton School. In their book, they reveal how game thinking—addressing problems like a game designer—can motivate employees and customers and create engaging experiences that can transform your business.

For the Win reveals how a wide range of companies are successfully using game thinking. It also offers an explanation of when gamifying makes the most sense and a 6-step framework for using games for marketing, productivity enhancement, innovation, employee motivation, customer engagement, and more.

In this illuminating guide, Werbach and Hunter reveal how game thinking can yield winning solutions to real-world business problems. Let the games begin!

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About the Authors

Kevin Werbach

Kevin Werbach is a Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and an expert on business, policy, and emerging technologies such as blockchain, broadband, and big data. An influential figure in Internet and communications law, Werbach served on the Obama Administration's Presidential Transition Team in 2008. He founded the Supernova Group, a technology consulting firm, and organized the annual CEO-level Supernova technology conference. He created one of the most successful massive op ... More

Dan Hunter

Dan Hunter is an expert in internet law, intellectual property, and the application of games to public policy arenas. He is the Foundation Dean of Swinburne Law School in Australia. He previously taught law at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Melbourne, and Cambridge University. He regularly publishes on issues dealing with the intersection of computers and law, including articles dealing with the regulation of virtual worlds and video games, as well as high-technology aspects of intellectual property. ... More


“Video games now have the dubious honour of having inspired their own management craze. Called ‘gamification,’ it aims to take principles from video games and apply them to serious tasks. The latest book on the subject, For the Win, comes from Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter, from the Wharton Business School and the New York Law School respectively….[T]heir central idea—that the world might be a better place if work was less of a necessary drudge and more of a rewarding experience in itself—is hard to argue with.”

—The Economist

“Here’s a conversion worthy of a Transformers movie: Take buttoned-down, MBA-toting business professionals and turn them into video game designers. That’s the goal of a new book about gamification, changing behavior of employees and customers by appealing to their sense of fun and their competitive instinct, video-game style. The coauthor of For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business is Dan Hunter, who runs New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Society. He says gamification done right is about meaningful competition.”

—David Brancaccio, Marketplace, American Public Radio

“Werbach and Hunter aren’t playing around with this book on how to add the joy of gaming to your enterprise. This is a quick but thoughtful look into the pros and cons of gamification, what works and what doesn’t, with plenty of insight into what really motivates and engages customers and employees.”

—Daniel H. Pink, Author, To Sell Is Human and Drive

For the Win is the best overview of gamification out there. Direct and to the point, the book is chock-full of solid, studied examples illustrating both best practices and pitfalls to avoid.”

—Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games and author of The Art of Game Design

For the Win is a total win! In the 21st century, business must shift from push to pull to get the best out of their employees and to entice their customers. This book brilliantly explains how to design and use gamification techniques to that end. I highly recommend this useful and fun to read book.”

—John Seely Brown, coauthor of The Power of Pull and A New Culture of Learning

“If you prefer realism to hype and rationality to bandwagons, this is the gamification book for you. As a work about gamification today, this book is excellent; as a work about gamification tomorrow, it’s staggeringly excellent.”

—Richard Bartle, Professor, University of Essex; creator of MUD1, the first multiplayer online game; author of Designing Virtual Worlds

“Like gamification, this book is a fusion of human nature and good design. Far and away the best book on the subject, with the most examples and the best intellectual grasp of the topics.”

—Bing Gordon, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; former Chief Creative Officer, Electronic Arts

“As business becomes more complex and information-intensive, so managers must learn to rely on their employees’ intrinsic motivations and self-direction rather than traditional command and control. ‘Gamification’ is a vital tool in that shift. In For the Win, Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter have written an entertaining and immensely practical guide to this rich managerial opportunity.”

—Philip Evans, Senior Partner, Managing Director, and BCG Fellow, Boston Consulting Group; coauthor of Blown to Bits

“Every business executive, small business owner and public servant should read this book; the public and private benefits would be enormous. I’m not kidding. If you’re even half as blown away as I was by For the Win, it’ll be your best book purchase of the year. Applying ‘game thinking’ to everyday life might just change … well, everything. Read the book and you’ll see what I mean.”

—Jessica Mulligan, online game pioneer and Cofounder, Themis Group

“If you want to understand one of the most important trends in business today, go out and buy For the Win. Werbach and Hunter reveal the secrets to powering up your organization through game thinking. Read this book. It’s a game changer.”

—Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group; coauthor of Do More Faster

“At a time when so many of us have grown up with video games, game thinking belongs at the center of discussions about business and management. In For The Win, Werbach and Hunter eloquently and practically explain how to apply one of the most important shifts in our cognitive models.”

—Joichi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab

“This fantastic book shows how to motivate your customers, employees, and partners using the techniques that game designers have employed for years. For the Win is the perfect title, because businesses that understand these techniques will be the standout winners in their markets. Do yourself a favor and read this deep yet practical guide before your competitors do.”

—Rajat Paharia, Founder and Chief Product Officer, Bunchball

“A wonderfully written, funny, and timely work. Should be required reading for anyone pursing a modern undertaking utilizing these concepts. As the concept of ‘gamifying’ continues to grow, the importance of this text will continue to emerge.”

—Professor Andrew Phelps, Director, School of Interactive Games & Media, Rochester Institute of Technology

For the Win hits a home run in illustrating the business value of gamification for both small and large companies across the globe.”

—Kris Duggan, CEO, Badgeville

For the Win is the smartest book written on the practical potential of gamification. With eyes wide open to both the promise and the risks inherent in yoking business practices to the power of play, Hunter and Werbach may have singlehandedly saved gamification from collapsing under the weight of its own hype.”

—Julian Dibbell, author of Play Money and My Tiny Life


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