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For the Win

How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business

Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter

Take your business to the next level—for the win

Millions flock to their computers, consoles, mobile phones, tablets, and social networks each day to play World of Warcraft, Farmville, Scrabble, and countless other games, generating billions in sales each year.

The careful and skillful construction of these games is built on decades of research into human motivation and psychology: A well-designed game goes right to the motivational heart of the human psyche.

In For the Win, authors Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter argue persuasively that gamemakers need not be the only ones benefiting from game design. Werbach and Hunter are lawyers and World of Warcraft players who created the world’s first course on gamification at the Wharton School. In their book, they reveal how game thinking—addressing problems like a game designer—can motivate employees and customers and create engaging experiences that can transform your business.

For the Win reveals how a wide range of companies are successfully using game thinking. It also offers an explanation of when gamifying makes the most sense and a 6-step framework for using games for marketing, productivity enhancement, innovation, employee motivation, customer engagement, and more.

In this illuminating guide, Werbach and Hunter reveal how game thinking can yield winning solutions to real-world business problems. Let the games begin!

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About the Authors

Praise for For the Win

“Video games now have the dubious honour of having inspired their own management craze. Called ‘gamification,’ it aims to take principles from video games and apply them to serious tasks. The latest book on the subject, For the Win, comes from Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter, from the Wharton Business School and the New York Law School respectively….[T]heir central idea—that the world might be a better place if work was less of a necessary drudge and more of a rewarding experience in itself—is hard to argue with.”

—The Economist

“Here’s a conversion worthy of a Transformers movie: Take buttoned-down, MBA-toting business professionals and turn them into video game designers. That’s the goal of a new book about gamification, changing behavior of employees and customers by appealing to their sense of fun and their competitive instinct, video-game style. The coauthor of For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business is Dan Hunter, who runs New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Society. He says gamification done right is about meaningful competition.”

—David Brancaccio, Marketplace, American Public Radio

“Werbach and Hunter aren’t playing around with this book on how to add the joy of gaming to your enterprise. This is a quick but thoughtful look into the pros and cons of gamification, what works and what doesn’t, with plenty of insight into what really motivates and engages customers and employees.”

—Daniel H. Pink, Author, To Sell Is Human and Drive

For the Win is the best overview of gamification out there. Direct and to the point, the book is chock-full of solid, studied examples illustrating both best practices and pitfalls to avoid.”

—Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games and author of The Art of Game Design

For the Win is a total win! In the 21st century, business must shift from push to pull to get the best out of their employees and to entice their customers. This book brilliantly explains how to design and use gamification techniques to that end. I highly recommend this useful and fun to read book.”

—John Seely Brown, coauthor of The Power of Pull and A New Culture of Learning

“If you prefer realism to hype and rationality to bandwagons, this is the gamification book for you. As a work about gamification today, this book is excellent; as a work about gamification tomorrow, it’s staggeringly excellent.”

—Richard Bartle, Professor, University of Essex; creator of MUD1, the first multiplayer online game; author of Designing Virtual Worlds

“Like gamification, this book is a fusion of human nature and good design. Far and away the best book on the subject, with the most examples and the best intellectual grasp of the topics.”

—Bing Gordon, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; former Chief Creative Officer, Electronic Arts

“As business becomes more complex and information-intensive, so managers must learn to rely on their employees’ intrinsic motivations and self-direction rather than traditional command and control. ‘Gamification’ is a vital tool in that shift. In For the Win, Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter have written an entertaining and immensely practical guide to this rich managerial opportunity.”

—Philip Evans, Senior Partner, Managing Director, and BCG Fellow, Boston Consulting Group; coauthor of Blown to Bits

“Every business executive, small business owner and public servant should read this book; the public and private benefits would be enormous. I’m not kidding. If you’re even half as blown away as I was by For the Win, it’ll be your best book purchase of the year. Applying ‘game thinking’ to everyday life might just change … well, everything. Read the book and you’ll see what I mean.”

—Jessica Mulligan, online game pioneer and Cofounder, Themis Group

“If you want to understand one of the most important trends in business today, go out and buy For the Win. Werbach and Hunter reveal the secrets to powering up your organization through game thinking. Read this book. It’s a game changer.”

—Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group; coauthor of Do More Faster

“At a time when so many of us have grown up with video games, game thinking belongs at the center of discussions about business and management. In For The Win, Werbach and Hunter eloquently and practically explain how to apply one of the most important shifts in our cognitive models.”

—Joichi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab

“This fantastic book shows how to motivate your customers, employees, and partners using the techniques that game designers have employed for years. For the Win is the perfect title, because businesses that understand these techniques will be the standout winners in their markets. Do yourself a favor and read this deep yet practical guide before your competitors do.”

—Rajat Paharia, Founder and Chief Product Officer, Bunchball

“A wonderfully written, funny, and timely work. Should be required reading for anyone pursing a modern undertaking utilizing these concepts. As the concept of ‘gamifying’ continues to grow, the importance of this text will continue to emerge.”

—Professor Andrew Phelps, Director, School of Interactive Games & Media, Rochester Institute of Technology

For the Win hits a home run in illustrating the business value of gamification for both small and large companies across the globe.”

—Kris Duggan, CEO, Badgeville

For the Win is the smartest book written on the practical potential of gamification. With eyes wide open to both the promise and the risks inherent in yoking business practices to the power of play, Hunter and Werbach may have singlehandedly saved gamification from collapsing under the weight of its own hype.”

—Julian Dibbell, author of Play Money and My Tiny Life

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In the Media

February 18, 2016
Explore the Pros, Cons of Gamification in Online Education
from U.S. News & World Report
February 16, 2016
When Work Becomes a Game
from Smithsonian Magazine
March 19, 2015
Gamification harnesses the power of games to motivate
from The Conversation
January 28, 2015
Poor design blights progress in making a game of working life
from FT.com
October 21, 2014
Hawaii wins with gamification of state online services
from GCN.com
October 1, 2014
Gamers Find the Lost Spark: Business is Gamifying The Workplace To...
from In the Black Magazine
September 4, 2013
How Gamification Can Revolutionize Your Business with Kevin Werbach
from EngagingLeader.com
May 13, 2013
Coursera at Penn Surpasses One Million Enrollees
from Penn News Today
April 5, 2013
Is Gamification All Played Out?
from Allvoices.com
March 7, 2013
Podcast with Kevin Werbach: For the Win
from Boxofcrayons.biz
February 19, 2013
Let the Games Begin
from Wharton Magazine.com
February 7, 2013
’For the Win’: How Gamification Can Transform Your Business
from NBR.org
January 18, 2013
How Companies Are Using Gamification To Transform Health Care
from Business Insider
January 17, 2013
From Fitbit to Fitocracy: The Rise of Health Care Gamification
from Knowledge@Wharton
January 3, 2013
Top Business Trends for 2013
from Wharton Executive Education newsletter Wharton@Work
December 23, 2012
All the World's a Game, and Business is a Player
from NY Times
December 13, 2012
For the Win: How Gamification Can Transform Your Business
from Forbes
December 11, 2012
Could gaming revitalize engineering education
from MachineDesign.com
November 29, 2012
The Game of Business
from Bloomberg Business Week
November 14, 2012
Let the Gamification Begin
from TimeBusiness.com
November 12, 2012
Skillful players can get ahead of the game
from Financial Times
November 12, 2012
The interplanetary Internet, and a new book on gamification
from Marketplace
November 9, 2012
Can Work Be Turned Into A Video Game?
from Business Insider (online)
November 8, 2012
The Hows and Whys of Gamification: 4 Questions for Kevin Werbach
from DanPink.com
November 8, 2012
More Than Just a Game: Video Games Are Behind The Latest...
from The Economist
November 8, 2012
“The Hows and Whys of Gamification: 4 Questions for Kevin Werbach”
from DanPink.com
November 2, 2012
Prizes? Prizes? Prizes!
from 4Hoteliers.com
October 30, 2012
Gamification -- Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter's New Book
from ConcurringOpinions.com
October 26, 2012
Wharton: Knowledge in Action: Turn Your Customers Into Players
from ThinkwithGoogle.com