Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing review

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and LosingTop Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book is all about competition and how it’s generally a good thing – it makes most people perform better. Some tidbits:

– Apparently the “home field advantage” is a real thing, and covers a lot of weird situations – preschoolers playing a game are more likely to win if they’re playing in their own classroom, for example.

– In general, it hurts to have people watching/cheering you on while you’re learning a skill, but it helps after you’ve mastered it.

– In sports tournaments (i.e. golf and racing), the bigger the reward and the higher the spread between the 1st place and 2nd place rewards, the more aggressive they are.

– There’s a specific genetic codon (COMT) that controls how well your brain handles stress, and thus what your optimal stress level is to get your best performance.

– There’s a big difference between men and women when deciding to run for Congress – men will run if there’s any chance of winning, while women won’t unless they have at least a 20% chance or so.

– Girls tend to handle highly-competitive schools better than boys, because boys are more discouraged by repeatedly competing and losing.

Anyway, the book was decent, but I think it overgeneralized a bit. (there was a short bit about software development that I just rolled my eyes at) I think I might move on from neurotrash for a while.

View all my reviews

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