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Barry Nalebuff

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Barry Nalebuff's Social Links


Barry Nalebuff is not only the co-founder of Honest Tea, but he’s also an expert on game theory.

Nalebuff has written extensively on its application to business strategy. He is the coauthor of six books. His forthcoming book, Mission in a Bottle, tells the story of Honest Tea in comic book format. A graduate of MIT, a Rhodes Scholar, and Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, Nalebuff earned his doctorate at Oxford University.

Nalebuff is the Milton Steinbach Professor of Management at Yale School of Management. In addition to his academic work, he has extensive experience consulting with multinational firms, from American Express, GE, and McKinsey to Google and Rio Tinto. He advised the NBA in their negotiations with the National Basketball Players Association and serves on the board of Nationwide Insurance.

In 1998, Nalebuff together with one of his former students, Seth Goldman, co-founded Honest Tea, a company that sells ready-to-drink iced tea that truly tastes like tea. It is one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies and has grown organically from $0 to $70 million in sales. In 2011, Coca-Cola purchased the company.

Companies and Investments

Honest Tea (co-founder, chairman), Nationwide Mutual (board member), Journal of Conflict Resolution (associate editor), Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization (associate editor)

Lessons Learned

Business partnerships usually emerge from mutual self-interest. When both sides win, the relationship thrives. However, there’s a fine line between self-interest and selfishness. You enter the partnership because you’re getting something out of it, yet the partnership usually fails if all you think about is what you’re getting out of it. A selfish entrepreneur asks, “What can my partner do for me?” rather than “How can I make money for my partner?” This mindset results in skewed incentives and destroys mutual benefits.

Inspiring Quotes

The harder you train, the luckier you get.


Barry Nalebuff's Quotes

If you are going to fail, you might as well fail at a difficult task. Failure causes others to downgrade their expectations of you in the future. The seriousness of this problem depends on what you attempt.

Barry Nalebuff

Most ‘original’ ideas arent completely original, but instead are the result of two basic methods for generating ideas: problems in search of solutions and solutions in search of problems.

Barry Nalebuff

Creating value is an inherently cooperative process, capturing value is inherently competitive.

Barry Nalebuff

Influential Books

Avinash K. Dixit - The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life