Simon Sinek headshot holding microphone and white book cover

Simon Sinek’s Infinite Game

Most games have fixed rules and clear ends — the sports and activities we associate with play. Other games have the single goal of keeping in the game — war, politics and life being the most prominent.

That’s a framework first established in a 1986 book by academic James P. Carse (1932-2020), and reinterpreted by The Infinite Game, a 2019 book by consultant, speaker and business-book author Simon Sinek. Sinek turned it into a business book bestseller.

His version references Apple, Microsoft, Walmart, Starbucks and other popular big consumer brands because that’s what all these books do. There’s some nice framing but on the whole it reads like an audition for Sinek’s next speaking or consulting gig.

Below I share my notes for future reference

My Notes

  • Vietnam War: the Americans won most battles, including the start of the Tet Offensive, yet still lost the war
  • James P Carse : infinite and finite games
  • Your Just Cause (similar to his Golden circle) but you can have more than one just cause
  • A just cause must have 5 qualities
    • For something_ -affirmative and optimistic
    • Inclusive- -open to all those who would like to contribute
    • Service oriented for the primary benefit of others
    • Resilient able to endure political, technological and cultural change
    • Idealistic-_big, bold and ultimately unachievable
  • A just cause is not a moon shot or a BHAG
  • He’s kinda smarmy
  • His book references Apple, Microsoft, Walmart, Starbucks because that’s what all these books do
  • Argues that the order of words shows priorities: in the press release is it customers, employees or shareholders?
  • Argues Mike Duke at Walmart, Robert Nardelli at Home Depot, Kevin Rollins at Dell were all skilled executives but brought finite mindset to infinite games (Steve Ballmer too; all thrived alongside visionary founders but not as top leader visionary them selves)
  • Fittingly none of the men he swiped at are leaders now so he’s able to consult for the companies!
  • General Lori Robinson Air Force spoke about how leaders and chief executives must operate: “I will go up and out. I need you to go down and in”
  • Thinks CEO should be replaced by Chief Vision Officer (speaks about the CVO and COO, which sounds like the EOS model of visionary and integrator)
  • References the Friedman doctrine essay
  • King Louis XV “Apres moi le deluge”
  • Larry Fink 2018 sense of purpose essay
  • 1973 Good Samaritan study
  • Existential Flex

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