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5 Business Lessons We Can Learn From “The Hunger Games”

The Hunger GamesSuzanne’s Collin’s “The Hunger Games” is a worldwide phenomenon. First published in 2008, copies of the original young adult-themed novel have sold more than 800,000 copies in the U.S. There are 26 foreign editions. As of this writing, the motion picture adaptation has earned more than $350 million at the box office in North America, Europe and Asia. The first movie in a literary trilogy that also includes the sequels “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay,” “The Hunger Games” seems poised to join “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” as a pop culture touchstone that helps define a generation.

One reason for “The Hunger Games’” success is its universal themes of individual bravery, resourcefulness and honor even in the face of seemingly overwhelming power. It contains timeless truths that appeal to people of all ages and cultures. In fact, someone just out of school can look to heroine Katniss Everdeen for inspiration and guidance for how to succeed in the rough-and-tumble world of business.

Here are five business lessons we can learn from “The Hunger Games“:

1) Volunteer. When her young sister, Prim, is chosen by lottery to participate in the book/movie’s title blood sport, 16-year-old Katniss steps forward to fight in her place. In business, you don’t need to have a younger sibling’s life on the line to make such a bold move. If you want to be a company “hero,” you have to raise your hand and put yourself — and your reputation — on the line … repeatedly. Managers tend to like employees who show initiative, propose solutions, and are pro-active when it comes to addressing common challenges.

2) Be Prepared. Katniss spent a lifetime honing her hunting and survival skills. The Hunger Games were merely an expanded and exaggerated version of challenges she’d overcome countless times before. Likewise, you need to start educating and training yourself as early as possible in the skills demanded in the business world: math, critical thinking, computer applications and communication. And never stop learning. When opportunities arrive, you’ll be ready to take advantage of them.

3) Go with Your Strengths. Over her 16 years, Katniss had become an expert with the bow-and-arrow. So much so that she could purportedly shoot a flying bird through the eye. When it came time to compete in the Hunger Games, the bow-and-arrow was naturally her weapon of choice. And it proved to be her salvation. Like Katniss, you need to discover what it is you do best and then make that the focus of your business career. It may be management. It may be accounting. It may be sales. It may be communication. Don’t try to pursue the specialties you think can make you the most money if they aren’t where your talent and passions lie. You’ll only end up competing against experts who really are good at what they do and could turn out like the kids in the Round One Cornucopia bloodbath.

4) Find a Mentor. Katniss can credit much of her success to the help of Haymitch Abernathy, the only other tribute from District 12 to have ever won the Hunger Games tournament. Although now an alcoholic burn-out, Haymitch still manages to give Katniss tactical and strategic advice that allows her find critical sponsors and then survive on the field of battle. Your chances to succeed in business will likewise improve significantly if you can find someone “older and wiser” to show you how the game is played, find allies and help you avoid rookie mistakes. You may be surprised how many veterans are eager to mentor those just starting out in the business world.

5) Be Willing to Break the Rules. In the end, both Katniss and her ally Peeta Mellark win the Hunger Games because they’re willing to defy authority and play by their own rules. In business, being willing to “think outside the box” can also yield big rewards. While regularly defying your boss or manager is certainly not recommended, you should be willing to challenge authority when you believe you have a better answer, and always be searching for ways to innovate and improve upon old, often inefficient ways of doing things. Being a rebel worked for Steve Jobs. It worked for Mark Zuckerberg. And it can work for you.

Earn an Associate Degree in Business from Everest University Online

If you’re ready to pursue a business degree, Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, offers an online Business program that allows you to earn an associate degree in as little as two years. The program covers a wide range of subjects and skill sets that are applicable to virtually any business. These include:

  • Principles of Accounting
  • Introduction to Business
  • Computer Applications
  • Introduction to Finance
  • Principles of Management
  • Introduction to Corporate Accounting
  • Applied Spreadsheets
  • Business Communications
  • Financial Statement Analysis

Most instructors are business professionals who can provide you with practical insights on how small businesses work along with your academic education.

For More Information

Prepare yourself to compete in “The Hunger Games” of real-world business. Contact Everest University Online today for complete information on class schedules and admission requirements.

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

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