Chapter 2. Why Ugly Teams Win

Scott Berkun

THE BAD NEWS BEARS. THE RAMONES. ROCKY BALBOA. THE DIRTY DOZEN. REAL HEROES ARE UGLY. They are misfits. Their clothes are wrong, their form is bad, and they don't even know all the rules. They get laughed at and are told to their faces that, dear God, for all that is holy they should quit, but they refuse to listen. In spite of their failings, they find ways to achieve, betting everything on passion, persistence, and imagination. For these reasons, when things get tough, it's the ugly teams that win. People from ugly teams expect things to go wrong and show up anyway. They conquer self-doubt, make friendships under fire, and find magic in ideas that others abandon. Ugly teams are bulletproof, die-hard work machines, and once the members of an ugly team have earned each other's trust, they will outperform the rest of any organization. Nietzsche would have been right at home on an ugly team: what does not kill the ugly team makes the ugly team stronger.

Ugly Talent

Many so-called beautiful teams were never described in those words by the people on them. Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, members of perhaps the greatest sports team in history, the 1927 Yankees, despised each other. America's founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, feuded regularly, in public and in private. Many great music bands, such as The Supremes, The Doors, The Clash, The Beatles, and even Guns N' Roses, lasted only a few years before they tore each other apart.

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