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Friend & Foe

When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both

Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer

What does it take to succeed?

This question has fueled a long-running debate. Some have argued that humans are fundamentally competitive, and that pursuing self-interest is the best way to get ahead. Others claim that humans are born to cooperate and that we are most successful when we collaborate with others.

In Friend and Foe, researchers Galinsky and Schweitzer explain why this debate misses the mark. Rather than being hardwired to compete or cooperate, we have evolved to do both. In every relationship, from co-workers to friends to spouses to siblings we are both friends and foes. It is only by learning how to strike the right balance between these two forces that we can improve our long-term relationships and get more of what we want.

Here, Galinsky and Schweitzer draw on original, cutting edge research from their own labs and from across the social sciences as well as vivid real-world examples to show how to maximize success in work and in life by deftly navigating the tension between cooperation and competition. They offer insights and advice ranging from: how to gain power and keep it, how to build trust and repair trust once it’s broken, how to diffuse workplace conflict and bias, how to find the right comparisons to motivate us and make us happier, and how to succeed in negotiations – ensuring that we achieve our own goals and satisfy those of our counterparts.

Along the way, they pose and offer surprising answers to a number of perplexing puzzles: when does too much talent undermine success; why can acting less competently gain you status and authority, where do many gender differences in the workplace really come from, how can you use deception to build trust, and why do you want to go last on American Idol and in many interview situations, but make the first offer when negotiating the sale of a new car.

We perform at our very best when we hold cooperation and competition in the right balance. This book is a guide for navigating our social and professional worlds by learning when to cooperate as a friend and when to compete as a foe—and how to be better at both.

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About the Authors

Adam Galinsky

Adam Galinsky is the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business and Chair of the Management Division at the Columbia Business School at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. ... More

Maurice Schweitzer

Maurice Schweitzer is the Cecilia Yen Koo Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. from the Wharton School. ... More

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