A review of this — 6 years ago
This is a very entertaining book, casting doubt on conventional wisdom and suggesting other ways of looking at common assumptions. Prepare to be challenged.
One of the more interesting examples was an analysis of the Chicago crack gangs that uncovered an organizational structure indistinguishable from McDonalds’. The teenage crack dealer earning $3.30/hr believes this is his best ticket to the lucrative “board of directors.” However, because the field is competitive, the pay is not. Many dealers have to live at home.
They abstract this organizational structure to that of a tournament. In concept, the dealer could be a shortstop or editorial assistant (or pilot or intern or ..) In a tournament, you must start at the bottom, enduring long hours and hard work at substandard wages (because competition is fierce), to have a shot at the top. Advancement is done by proving yourself to be exceptional at what you do. If/when you realize you’ll not make it to the upper levels, you’ll likely abandon the game. (For example, when turf wars started, the street dealers’ risk versus reward shifted… severely.)