Friend and Foe

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

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Do we achieve our best outcomes by competing or by cooperating? This question has fueled a long-running debate. Some have argued that humans are fundamentally competitive and that pursuing our self-interest is the best way to get ahead. Others argue that humans are hardwired 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, humans have evolved to do both. 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.

Galinsky and Schweitzer draw on original, cutting edge research across the social sciences to show how to to maximize success in work and in life by deftly navigating between cooperation and competition. They offer insights into topics ranging from how to get and keep power, how to recognize deception and build trust, how to turn our weaknesses into strengths, and when to begin a negotiation to get the best outcome – while ensuring that our counterparts walk away wanting to negotiate with us down the road.

And along the way, they pose and offer surprising answers to a number of perplexing puzzles: when does too much talent undermine a team’s or company's success; when can acting less competently help you gain status, why many gender differences in the workplace may simply be power differences in disguise; why ending an auction at 2am can get you the best outcome; how our best intentions can ironically make us appear racist; and why husbands gain weight during pregnancy.

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

From the Hardcover edition.


“Galinsky and Schweitzer are star researchers and teachers.  Here they use their talents to bring order to  the often contradictory research on when to cooperate and compete, and they distill their insights into practical tips that anybody can use.”
--Chip Heath, co-author of Made to Stick and Switch.  

Friend and Foe is a fascinating voyage through the science of cooperation and competition. Discover why we compare ourselves to our Facebook friends, many gender differences are really due to power differences, and it’s usually best to make the first offer in a negotiation.”
~Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take

“A treasure trove of golden nuggets of information and gem-like insights into the processes that govern social exchange.  We all have to cooperate and compete to succeed.  Friend and Foe provides the best roadmap I’ve ever seen for doing so—by a mile.” - Robert B. Cialdini, bestselling Author of INFLUENCE
Two of the most respected scholars on success explain how you can get along and get ahead. Their guided tour of how to cooperate and how to compete is authoritative, entertaining, and eminently practical! -Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania 

"Should you be cooperative or competitive?  Powerful or submissive?
Hierarchical or flat? Honest or dishonest?  As Galinsky and Schweitzer show in this impressive book, the answer to each of these questions is yes!  They use a wide range of research studies coupled with dozens and dozens of colorful real-life examples to show us that simple answers to complicated questions are not to be trusted and that the secret to success is balance. This book will make you a better colleague, a better negotiator and a better person. - Barry Schwartz, author of /The Paradox of Choice/ and /Practical Wisdom"

"A fascinating read, and an eye-opening look at how we navigate an increasingly complex social world. Meticulously researched, filled with compelling real world anecdotes, Friend And Foe is a unique and vastly entertaining roadmap to improving relationships and resolving conflicts- at work, at home, and in life."-  Ben Mezrich, NY times bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Once Upon A Time in Russia

From the Hardcover edition.