The Winner Effect The Neuroscience of Success and Failure

Ian H. Robertson

Thomas Dunne Books




320 Pages



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Ian Robertson shows how success causes dramatic changes to your brain that make you smarter, more focused and more ruthless.

In the vein of Predictably Irrational, The Mind of the Market, and Drive, The Winner Effect reveals how power can be as physically addictive as any drug and able to make you worse, not better, at succeeding in the future. Ian Robertson unravels the biological and neurological roots of our success, including fascinating details such as:
—Thinking about having more power makes you more likely to cheat and less likely to think about others
—Higher testosterone levels in traders leads to higher profits
—In Olympic sports in which opposing teams wear either blue or red uniforms, the red team wins 62% of the time
—Oscar winners live on average four years longer than equally successful Oscar nominees.

Based on surprising discoveries from scientific studies in labs around the world, The Winner Effect demonstrates the effects winning and losing have on our personal, economic and business lives.


Praise for The Winner Effect

"A book that will help you understand what makes winners, and what paths to avoid when you get power."—

"Fascinating."—The Sunday Times (UK)

"Compelling stories combine with cutting-edge science to show why coming first is not the same as being a real winner—engrossing."—Oliver James, author of They F*** You Up

"Like a masterful detective, Dr. Robertson provides a captivating and insightful journey into understanding the mystery of the effects of power on human behavior and thinking."—Mike Hawkins, award-winning author of Activating Your Ambition: A Guide to Coaching the Best Out of Yourself and Others

"He tells a compelling, vivid and instructive story of how we are empowered and how we are disempowered and how we succeed and how we fail. I really enjoyed it—it is a must read." —Raymond Tallis, author of Aping Mankind

"A fascinating topic dealt with in a fascinating way . . . I love the book."—Matt Cooper, author of How Ireland Really Went Bust

"What does it take to be a winner; to be successful and achieve at an optimal level? Professor Robertson has masterfully synthesized cutting edge social, cognitive, and developmental psychology, as well as neuroscience with fascinating stories of notable people in the public eye to answer this question. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written by an international scholar, once you begin reading this book it will be difficult to put down. Whatever your profession, this remarkable book will most assuredly resonate with you."—John B. Arden, PhD, author of Rewire Your Brain

"Utterly fascinating." —Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

The Winner Effect

The Mystery of Picasso's Son
Are we born to win?
Holding hands with their father, a six-year-old girl and her eight-year-old brother arrive at the mansion's gates. They ring the bell and wait,...

Read the full excerpt


  • Ian H. Robertson

  • "Ian Robertson is a rare combination: a cutting edge neuroscientist whose important research is done in great depth and with careful detail, who also has the ability to step back, take risks, and explore the big picture, with a vivid, clear, engaging style, and enviable energy." —Norman Doidge, author of the New York Times bestseller The Brain that Changes Itself

    A neuroscientist and trained clinical psychologist, Ian Robertson is an international expert on neuropsychology. Currently Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, and formerly Fellow of Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge, he holds visiting professorships at University College London and Bangor University in the United Kingdom, and is a visiting scientist at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto, Canada. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and has published over 250 scientific articles in leading journals. He is also author and editor of ten scientific books, including the leading international textbook on cognitive rehabilitation, and three books for the general reader including Mind Sculpture: Your Brain's Untapped Potential. He is a regular keynote speaker at conferences on brain function throughout the world. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

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  • Ian H. Robertson Maxwell Photography