The Long Win
The search for a better way to succeed
‘Powerful and profound.’ – Matthew Syed
‘Anyone interested in motivation should read this book and think deeply.’ – Margaret Heffernan
***Selected as one of the Financial Times’s Best Business Books of 2020!***
In this fascinating examination of our widespread obsession with winning, Cath Bishop draws on her personal experience of high-performance environments to trace the idea of winning through history, language and thought to explore how it has come to be a defining concept in fields from sport to business, from politics to education. Faced with the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, Cath offers a new, broader approach – The Long Win.
Cath competed as a rower at three Olympic Games, becoming the first British woman to win the World Championships and an Olympic medal in the coxless pairs event. As a senior diplomat, Cath worked on policy and negotiations, specializing in stabilization policy for conflict-affected parts of the world. In business, Cath has acted as a coach and consultant, advising on team and leadership development and organizational culture, and teaches on the Executive Education Faculty at the Judge Business School, Cambridge University.
In this book she brings that extraordinary mix of experience to examine what winning has come to mean to society and to us as individuals and offers a fresh perspective on how we might redefine success – personal and professional – for the longer-term.
‘Looking at life from a different point of view is a rare skill. Built on in-depth research and broad experience as well as original thought, this book will change your outlook on everything.’ – Clare Balding OBE
‘This book is so relevant, timely and exciting for any person or organization wanting to investigate what success means to them. It couldn’t be a more relevant book right now and Cath’s exceptional ability in so many areas of life make it a gripping read with a lot of key takeaways whatever your area of interest. I wish every leader could immediately read this book as the world would be a better place if they did!’ – Goldie Sayers, Olympic Medallist in the Javelin, Coach
‘I love this book. It is a must-read for educators, business executives, policy makers, politicians and indeed anyone who wants to understand why we need a new narrative around winning and success. We need a lot more Long-Win Thinking in our homes, businesses and institutions and Cath’s book is the place to go to find out why – and how we get there.’ – Dame Helena Morrissey
This is a book that will appeal to a great many people from all spheres of life. It gets to the heart of the problem with our cultural obsession with short-term success blinding out longer term value. Across business, sport and education we learn that there are far better ways of going about things than we are currently managing. As a former athlete, the sporting stories resonate hugely with me, and I am convinced the kind of philosophy this book espouses is where we can find even greater gains in performance combined with a far healthier, more meaningful relationship to sport.
This is a wonderful, captivating read from someone with an incredible depth and breadth of experience. I cannot recommend it highly enough. When you get done reading it you just think – “everyone needs to read this book”, and most essentially our politicians and leaders who we desperately need to heed it’s advice!
Over the last year or two the newspapers have been full of stories where sport has “gone wrong”, whether it is abuse in gymnastics, drug issues in cycling or ball tampering in Australian cricket. It’s therefore fascinating to read the views of someone who has been right at the top of her sport – three Olympics, a silver medal and a world championship – on how to define success more broadly to create a win-win culture rather than zero sum game and thereby improve the mindset that enabled these problems. The broader experience the author has in diplomacy and business mean that these messages resonate across many other areas too. A great read.
The Long Win fills a gaping and growing chasm in our understanding of what defines success. It is indispensable for anyone interested in not only achievement but in finding a way to shape our pursuits for the better. While reading The Long Win I was informed, emboldened and energised by the way Cath has meticulously and comprehensively laid out the case for strategic thinking that stretches beyond the now, the immediate, the results – but to a stronger way of being!
I thoroughly recommend this book. It shows our unhelpful obsession with a narrow definition of winning and the devastating consequences that obsession can have. It’s very thought-provoking: lots of questions which got me mulling for days. Lastly it gives a helpful alternative- I especially liked the focus on collaboration.
This is both heartfelt and thoughtful- vulnerable self disclosure is twinned with deep thinking and significant research.
We need this book in 2020!!!
An excellent book, well written, which doesn’t so much just offer an opinion or a hypotheses, but an avenue for everyone from sports people to administrators to review their own attitudes and pathways when it comes to success, or winning. A narrative about sport which is definitely the way forward.
In this book Cath interrogates the approach to ‘winning’ that many of us take, conditioned as we are by society and recent history. Cath takes the reader through ‘winning’ in various domains, including sport, education, and international relations, and provides some thought-provoking suggestions about how to re-think success. A really good read.
This is a great book for anyone who wants to find a different way to think about success at work. Cath Bishop laid out some really clear ideas to help leaders find a different way to lead their business. And it’s packed with nuggets from sport and history, and flavoured with her own experience and gripping Olympic story.
In the well-researched book, Cath Bishop plants a central idea whose time, I think, has come: our fixation with a particular notion of winning – macho, short term, involving others losing – is leading to toxic results personally and as a society. Her formula of the “long win” is not a new one – in fact, she traces its origins back through time – but it’s one we need to revive. The fact that she actually “succeeded” under the narrow-minded model of winning only adds to the power of her argument.
From a young age, society places disproportionate value on outcomes and extrinsic rewards – grades, medals, salaries, trophies… but maybe the old chiché “winning isn’t everything” is more than just an old cliche?
In this book Cath Bishop insightfully questions some of these assumptions in society – in sport, business, education and other domains. It’s a refreshing perspective that may facilitate a happier and healthier pursuit of one’s goals, and may even help make the journey (or the long win) a fulfilling goal in itself.
Would highly recommend this book.
“…I highly recommend The Long Win and suggest leaders buy copies for their top cadres of managers and collaboratively explore how they can turn the ideas into action inside their organisations.”
The Long Win shines a light on why performance and collaboration can provide a broader approach to achieving success. It is easy to read and thought provoking and it challenges us to take another look at some long held, beliefs around ‘winning’ and what winning means. I wish I’d had this when I was in business, I’m glad I have it as a coach.
It is about time we all reconsidered our relationship to success and winning whether as professionals, parents, athletes, or simply every day human beings and with 2020 having brought challenges to us in many shapes & forms there has never has been a better moment to sit down and read this book. It resonated with me on so many levels and is made even more accessible thanks to the fact that Cath Bishop writes so well. I recommend it highly and hope that it makes as much of a difference to all that read it as it did to me.
Cath has written a wonderful book – packed with insight from her first hand knowledge and beautifully written too.
This is an important contribution to the growing movement towards organisations fit for humans. Cath gives me more hope that, although it’ll be a long win, we’ll get there.
A great read and essential for anyone involved in coaching competitive sport.
Easily one of the best books I have read in 2020! Redefines the path to success and performance, incredibly refreshing and really resonated with me! I would recommend in a heartbeat…
A brilliantly thought provoking book that will challenge your mindset around winning, for the better. This is not just someone’s opinion it is backed by social proof, scientific research as well as personal anecdotes from the world of Olympic sport. It is the best cultural change book I have read in a long time and will be implementing a number of the practical applications immediately.
‘I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to lead at the next level and want to make a positive difference in the world.’
This book really does force you to re-think what you have been told throughout life, it offers a different way of thinking about competing, whether that’s in sports or at work or anywhere else for that matter. It’s a must read because this way of thinking (in my opinion) will 100% produce more well-rounded people who will better themselves and others they come into contact with in a variety of fields.
As someone who has experienced playing sport at a fairly high level, coached, and now am pursuing a career in sport psychology this resonates with me and the core messages I have taken away are invaluable 🙂
A breath of fresh air. A refreshing perspective on winning that helps build a longer term perspective on ‘winning’ and sustainable satisfaction with ones performance.
This a powerful and well written book that addresses a widespread and deep rooted problem with how we prepare for and judge success. The author’s use of her experiences are compelling. Throughout I was fascinated by her story whilst thinking of how relevant her points were to me even in local club level sport and as a small business owner. Much of the issues she raises blighted many of the large corporations I worked for. Since purchase I have recommended it to so many people in so many different walks of life
Beginning with the discomfort between the language of winning and the complexity of the world right now, Cath Bishop details how the mentality of winning at all costs results in rivalry, selfishness and arrogance, attributes which are unwelcome in both personal and professional spheres. She describes the toxic cultures rooted in winning in the short term, from sport to financial services. She also talks about the problems it can create in education where the focus is often on marks rather than learning, killing the joy of sport for children and more seriously, undermining their self-confidence. Winning is not easily compatible with cooperation and collaboration which are traits employers seek and which make life more rewarding for all.
An outstanding and thought-provoking book