- Many efforts in life can be seen as some sort of game.
- A game can be defined as something that distracts us from existential depression (not an idea from this book).
- Some games in life, like chess and football, are finite, meaning they are short-term, have set rules, a limited number of participants, and the goal is always to achieve some tangible victory.
- Some games in life, are, or should be, infinite, where the rules are wide open, people can enter the field of play at any time, and the goal is to show worthiness that allows you to continue the game. The game of life should arguably be one such game.
- A common human problem is treating what should be an infinite game like a finite one. For example, living your life to make as much money as possible, have the biggest house, the nicest car, etc., all the while ignoring a personal cause, a desire to help others, and ignoring deeper things like friendships.
- The five principles for the infinite game are: advance a just cause, build trusting teams, study your worthy rivals, prepare for existential flexibility, and show the courage to lead.
- One thing that starkly shows the divide between finite and infinite to me is the idea of competing with friendly peers. People thinking in a finite way think that their friendly peers, or even their friends, doing well is a sign that they’re not doing well. People playing the infinite game are happy for their friends because their competition is with themselves and their long-term goals of being a good person, or a helpful person, and not being better than everyone.
- If you find yourself being upset when good people are successful, it’s a symptom of finite game playing. It means you’re focusing too much on other people and relative success, and not enough on your own systems and goals, which should be long-term and identity-based, not achievement-based.
- Much of peoples’ unhappiness comes from playing finite games when they should be playing infinite ones.
- If you find yourself unhappy, ask yourself what your Just Cause is, and whether you’re focusing too much on other things instead of it.
- Competition with peers and friends is finite thinking.
Find my other book summaries.
- This work comes from another author who came up with the idea, but his book was hard for me to follow. So I’m thankful that this book exists to make the original ideas consumable.