PLEDGE NOW
The Science Of Winning And Losing

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.

We examine the science of winning and losing. Why a lucky few are top dogs and the rest of us aren’t.

(flickr/fmpgoh)

(flickr/fmpgoh)

When the stakes are high, when it’s all on the line, some people rise to the occasion.  They savor the challenge.  The thrill of competition.  They want, badly, to win.  While others feel dread.  Their hands go cold.  They begin to sweat.

Bestselling authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman have looked at the research of what happens to us when we compete.  They’ve found that some people are wired to be warriors.  Others, to be worriers.   That women are wired differently than men.  That positive thinking – like imagining yourself taking the victory lap – makes you less likely to succeed.

This hour, On Point: we look at the science of winning and losing.

Guests

Po Bronson, co-author of “Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing.” Co-founder of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. (@pobronson)

Ashley Merryman, co-author of “Top Dog,” attorney and former speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore. (@ashleymerryman)

From the Reading List

The Onion A.V. Club “A competitor’s testosterone level before a chess game can predict whether he’ll win. A ballroom dancer who has competed for years can still have the same anxiety levels found in someone skydiving for the first time. Job hunters who spend a lot of time visualizing their dream job are more likely to still be unemployed six months later. These are some of the surprising findings uncovered by researchers around the world and gathered by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman in Top Dog: The Science Of Winning And Losing.”

The Wall Street Journal “When Americans visit Japanese schools, or invite Japanese children to play with their own children, they often set up the quintessential competitive American game of musical chairs. And invariably they are shocked to observe that Japanese children hate this game. They cry. They won’t play. They offer their last chance at a chair to ¬another. Exclude a child in each round? What sort of horrible game is that?”

Forbes “The last few years, it’s become the conventional wisdom that the secret to success is accumulating ten years’ worth of deliberate, effortful practice. Practice what makes you an expert. We felt there was something missing from that formula. We are not judged on how we practice. We’re judged on how we perform, under pressure, when it counts. We need competitive fire. Ashley and I wanted to know – what makes someone have that?”

Excerpt: “Top Dog”

From the book TOP DOG: The Science of Winning and Losing. Copyright (c) 2013 by Pro Bronson and Ashley Merryman. Reprinted by permission of Twelve/Hachette Book Group, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 30, 2015
Shereef Bishay, co-founder of Dev Bootcamp, center, talks with student Ryan Guerrettaz during a class at Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Dev Bootcamp is one of a new breed of computer-programming schools that’s proliferating in San Francisco and other U.S. tech hubs. These “hacker boot camps” promise to teach students how to write code in two or three months and help them get hired as web developers, with starting salaries between $80,000 and $100,000, often within days or weeks of graduation. (AP)

From barista to tech wiz. Computer coding boot camps are hot. Vaulting their graduates in just months into high-paying jobs. We’ll look at the surge.

Jul 30, 2015
Conan O'Brien speaks at the 43rd AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Tribute Gala at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Los Angeles.  (AP)

Who owns jokes? Seriously. In the age of social media, the lines are murky.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 29, 2015
The transit area at Terminal 3 in Singapore's Changi Airport, ranked as the world's best airport by SkyTrax, a UK-based travel consultancy. (WikiCommons / Jay8g)

New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to be torn down and rebuilt. We’ll consider what makes a great airport now, and how the US stacks up to the global competition.

 
Jul 29, 2015
Federal investigators respond to the scene of a shooting at the Grand Theatre on Thursday, July 23, 2015, in Lafayette, La. (AP)

Guns, background checks, and mass shootings. A new outcry over the system that decide who gets a gun and who doesn’t.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Q & A: Scott Walker On The Iran Deal, Huckabee Comments
Monday, Jul 27, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker explains his opposition to the Iran Deal, his record of statewide electoral victory and why he feels he’s set to win the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

More »
Comment
 
Q & A: Carly Fiorina On Trump, Sexism, And Being Cut From The GOP Debate
Monday, Jul 27, 2015

Republican Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of computer giant Hewlett-Packard, joined guest host John Harwood to talk Donald Trump, the upcoming Republican candidate debate and sexism in modern life.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The News: July 24, 2015
Friday, Jul 24, 2015

You all really, really love to listen to our week in the news segments (that’s great) and we wonder why. Plus: Alex Trebek can’t really sing, in case you were wondering.

More »
2 Comments