The Infinite Game [Book Review]
Last Updated on 29 April 2023
Find Your Why (Simon Sinek's previous book) and Mindset (by Carol Dweck).
In fact, the more you read the book, the more you are convinced that infinite mindset describes exactly what growth mindset would be, while finite mindset is the equivalent of fixed mindset.
However, it's probably not Sinek's intent to focus on mindsets. Explaining his rationale, he says: “I wrote this book to rally those who are ready to challenge that status quo and replace it with a reality that is vastly more conducive to our deep-seated human need to feel safe, to contribute to something bigger than ourselves and to provide for ourselves and our families…. It is our collective responsibility to find, guide and support those who are committed to leading in a way that will more likely bring that vision to life.”
Based on the work of Professor James P. Carse, who penned a little treatise called Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility in 1986, The Infinite Game raised good points about ethical fading (including self-deception), which is fleshed out with many stories, examples, and implications.
And the biggest implication is that business people need to play a very long game by pretty much ignoring the “next quarter is all that matters” game plan that way too many leaders follow.
In an ideal world, games would always be infinite, with no finish line and no winners.
Unfortunately, trying to convince people to play the infinite game may be a bit like preaching to the choir: you're not going to gain a lot of traction unless they've already bought into the idea of changing the status quo.
If you go as far as the Afterwords towards the end of the book, you will find an interesting take on parenting by Sinek based on these concepts:
To take a finite approach to parenting means to do everything we can to ensure our kids not just get the best of everything but are the best at everything. A seemingly fair standard, for these things “will help our kid excel in life”. Except when a finite mindset is the primary strategy, it can give way to ethical fading or push us to become more obsessed with our child's standing in the hierarchy over if they are actually learning or growing as a person.
To parent with an infinite mindset, in contrast, means helping our kids discover their talents, pointing them to find their own passions and encouraging [them to] take that path. It means teaching our children the value of service, teaching them how to make friends and play well with others. It means teaching our kids that their education will continue for long after they graduate school.
Proud father of two lovely kids, who at times pushed me to seriously consider editing out the word “lovely” from this sentence. (I am not alone in this.)