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How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World

The Definitive Guide to Adapting and Succeeding in High-Performance Careers

Neil Irwin


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From New York Times bestselling author and senior economic correspondent at The New York Times, how to survive—and thrive—in this increasingly challenging economy.

Every ambitious professional is trying to navigate a perilous global economy to do work that is lucrative and satisfying, but some find success while others struggle to get by. In an era of remarkable economic change, how should you navigate your career to increase your chances of landing not only on your feet, but ahead of those around you?

In How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World, Neil Irwin, senior economic correspondent at the New York Times, delivers the essential guide to being successful in today’s economy when the very notion of the “job” is shifting and the corporate landscape has become dominated by global firms. He shows that the route to success lies in cultivating the ability to bring multiple specialties together—to become a “glue person” who can ensure people with radically different technical skills work together effectively—and how a winding career path makes you better prepared for today's fast-changing world. Through original data, close analysis, and case studies, Irwin deftly explains the 21st century economic landscape and its implications for ambitious people seeking a lifetime of professional success.

Using insights from global giants like Microsoft, Walmart, and Goldman Sachs, and from smaller lesser known organizations like those that make cutting-edge digital effects in Planet of the Apes movies or Jim Beam bourbon, How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World illuminates what it really takes to be on top in this world of technological complexity and global competition.

Praise For How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World: The Definitive Guide to Adapting and Succeeding in High-Performance Careers

“Neil Irwin has written a wonderful, fascinating narrative of our fast-changing world, filled with erudite analysis and practical advice. His conclusion: The people who adapt are the ones who win—in business and life—and adaptation isn’t an inborn trait, but something we can all cultivate and learn. This is a map to the modern economy—and a lodestar for navigating your career.” —Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better

“How do you prepare for a stable career when the world of work is changing under your feet? Read this excellent book. Neil Irwin offers insights that are interesting, thought-provoking, and surprisingly useful for identifying the skills and experiences that will prepare you to succeed today and adapt tomorrow.” —Adam Grant, bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World demonstrates why Neil Irwin is one of America’s most highly regarded economic journalists. He offers shrewd practical advice — why you should combine skills rather than focus on a single aptitude, how big data can improve your job performance, and why working hard but not too hard is the key to results. If you want to navigate the rocky terrain of modern work, this book is your map and Irwin is your guide.” —Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of When, To Sell Is Human, and Drive

St. Martin's Press, 9781250176271, 304pp.

Publication Date: June 18, 2019

About the Author

NEIL IRWIN is senior economic correspondent at The New York Times, where he was a founding member of The Upshot. He is the author of The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire, a New York Times bestselling account of the global financial crisis and its aftermath, short-listed for the McKinsey-Financial Times Business Book of the Year award. He has an MBA from Columbia University, where he was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism. He lives in Washington.