Zero-sum vs Non-zero-sum -Mental Model 082

The Attitude That Determines Cooperation Or Competition 

A zero-sum situation means for someone to gain something, someone else must lose something. In contrast, a non-zero-sum situation is when the aggregate gains of a group is greater than their aggregate losses.


Example: A cake is an example of a zero-sum situation. If you take a larger piece, there is less available for everyone else.


Knowledge is an example of a non-zero-sum situation. The more we understand about the universe, the better off we all are. Nobody is worse off for having a more accurate understanding of reality. A cake recipe is non-zero-sum.


Wisdom: “It is sort of a bit of a caricature of capitalism, that it’s always this zero-sum game where you have winners and losers. Silicon Valley, the technology industry at its best, creates a situation where everybody can be a winner.” — Peter Thiel


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