How Do You Play Monopoly?

It’s Christmas, and as we all know, one good way to destroy the happy family atmosphere is with a friendly game of Monopoly!

It’s a game with a long history, but what I hadn’t realised until recently was that the original game was designed to warn players about the dangers of a monopoly. Unfortunately, over time the game changed into the ‘winner takes all’ format that we now know.

Incredibly, the game’s manufacturers are aware that half of all players admit to cheating, so there’s even a ‘cheaters version‘ you can get now that actually rewards rule breaking!

It’s easy to dismiss all this – “oh, it’s just a game, it doesn’t really matter…” – and maybe that’s true. But what if – as Seth Godin talks about on this episode of his podcast – we are always playing games? Does that mean that our behaviour when playing Monopoly actually reveals more about us than we would like?

Gary Vaynerchuk often makes a similar point about social media: we are quick to blame Facebook, Instagram and so on for damaging our social interactions … but maybe social media is just exposing us? It’s a symptom of fundamental underlying issues, rather that the cause of our woes?

I have nothing against healthy competition – I believe that an important part of life is learning about winning and losing … and when we are able to learn from our losses – to improve as a result of them – they can be incredibly valuable. [An often overlooked point here – and one that is brilliantly made in the book ‘Rework’ by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier-Hansson – is that we also need to learn from our wins and successes, too]. But is the ‘winner takes all’ result really the best thing we can aspire to?

Is there a better game we could be playing?


Weekly [digital] email to help navigate the [analogue] world …

Weekly [digital] email to help navigate the [analogue] world …