Michael Porter is generally recognized as the father of the modern strategy field and has been identified in a variety of rankings and surveys as the world’s most influential thinker on management and competitiveness. He is also a leading authority on the application of competitive principles to social problems such as health care, the environment, and corporate responsibility. Porter is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at the Harvard Business and the author of 18 books and over 125 articles. He received a B.S.E. with high honors in aerospace and mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1969; an M.B.A. with high distinction in 1971 from the Harvard Business School, where he was a George F. Baker Scholar; and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University in 1973. In 2001, Harvard Business School and Harvard University jointly created the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, dedicated to furthering Porter’s work.
Topic: Life Lessons from the Baseball Field
Michael Porter: I think sports was a really defining part of my upbringing. Certainly until I went away to Princeton and even after that, sports was always my ticket to engaging and making friends, and getting established in all these new communities. I always had that. A couple of days out on the baseball field and I would make friends and I would be accepted.
You also develop this discipline and this sense that you're competing, and that you have to prepare, and that you have to practice, and train, and rehearse and so forth. And I think that mindset kind of carried over into my work. Of course my work isn't about sports, although it's fundamentally about competition.
In fact, one of the books that I've got on my long term list of writings is a book about why we see certain nations and regions excelling in particular sports. And so the international competitiveness of sports is, I think, a fascinating parallel to many of the same issues that I study in my work on economic development.Recorded on: June 11, 2007