Video from a Live Talks Los Angeles event with Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman in conversation with David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times columnist discussing Bronson and Merryman's book TOP DOG: The Science of Winning and Losing. Event was held February 27, 2013 at the Moss Theatre at New Roads School in Santa Monica. For more information on Live Talks Los Angeles, visit:

It’s a constant drumbeat: we must all be more competitive. But no one’s really given us an understanding of how to compete in our increasingly cutthroat world. Based on cutting edge science and told through stories of pilot flight training, NASCAR brawls, political tryouts, ballroom dancing, CIA spies, Wall Street, and much more, TOP DOG: The Science of Winning and Losing offers counterintuitive, game-changing insights into the nature of competition while exploring the hidden factors at the core of every great triumph—and every tragic failure.

What are the differences between a winning and losing performance? Why are we able to rise to the challenge one day, but wilt from it the next? Can we in fact become better competitors? In their new book, bestselling authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman tackle a subject we all face every day—in the office, in school, on the playing field, at home—revealing how to tip the odds of success in your favor.

By looking at competition through a multidisciplinary lens that integrates wisdom from politics, finance, genetics, neuroscience, military psychology, sports, gender studies, economics, education, and more, Bronson and Merryman reveal the hidden factors that fuel our determination, passion, and drive to compete and explore how we can harness the forces of competition to succeed. We all compete every day and although we may be wired differently, we can all win. What you think you know about rivalry and success is wrong; the authors promise that after hearing them speak, you’ll never watch a football game, vote in an election, take a test or make a presentation to your boss the same way again.

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman are the authors of the New York Times bestseller NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children. Additionally, they’ve written for Newsweek, New York, the Guardian, and numerous other publications. For their reporting, Bronson and Merryman have won nine national awards, including PEN Center USA Literary Award for Journalism; the American Association for the Advancement for Science (AAAS) Award for Science Journalism; an “Audie” from the Audio Publishers Association; and two Clarion Awards.

Prior to collaborating with Merryman, Bronson authored five books, including the #1 New York Timesbestseller What Should I Do with My Life? Merryman has also written for Time, the Washington Post, and the Daily Beast. Bronson lives in San Francisco with his wife and their two children; he is a founder of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto and serves as volunteer president of the San Francisco Vikings Youth Soccer League. Merryman lives in Los Angeles; an attorney, she previously served in the Clinton administration and currently volunteers as the head of a small inner-city tutoring program.

David Lazarus is an award-winning business columnist for the Los Angeles Times, focusing on consumer affairs. He also appears daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5, provides regular commentary for American Public Media’s Marketplace programs and is a frequent guest host on KPCC

He previously worked as a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for a variety of news services and magazines, including Fortune, Newsweek and National Geographic. He is the author of two books about Japan.


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