Can We Learn Strategy from The Hunger Games?


The Hunger Games covers a lot of intense subject matter: basic survival, the media’s societal influence and, of course, rebelling against your oppressors. Forbes is taking a different and fascinating look at these things — as strategies. Here’s a sample of how they’re breaking it down:

Micro-Level Strategy: the Arena: every move involves strategy in the Arena: your allies, the first bloodbath, your weapons, and your interaction with the sponsors. Here’s a few things we learn:

  • Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses – Katniss succeeds in the Games because she knows her weakness — her lack of physical strength and brutality. Head-to-head confrontation wouldn’t turn her way. Instead, she evades stronger opponents until she figures out how to gain an advantage. She exploits her strengths — her bow skills, cunning, and resourcefulness — to gain competitive advantage while minimizing her weaknesses. Other late-survivors use the same strategy (Cato, Brutus, Chaff, Peeta, Finnick, and Foxface).

Intermediate-Level Strategy: Television – the Hunger Games series is a PR strategy playbook for television appearances. Peeta was the master of this strategic game.A few lessons:
  • Build Your Brand – throughout the series, we see how tributes paint themselves a certain way. Peeta is the gentle, affable lover-boy. Cato is the vicious brute. Katniss is a courageous, semi-innocent, and committed sister. Brand-building endears you to your audience because you represent something beyond yourself. Katniss, by her “bravery brand”, was a natural fit for the rebellion. The trick is to keep the brand consistent.

Macro-Level Strategy: the Rebellion – Collins provides an interesting playbook for wannabe revolutionaries. I’m not sure if all of her strategic moves lead to the best results, but here’s a few lessons we can draw:

  • Capitalize on Unrest – District 13 remained hidden until disquiet rose to critical levels in the remaining Districts. If District 13 had emerged before the critical unrest point, it would not have been able to gain a leadership position. The remaning districts would have been too apathetic or dubious to follow a rebellion.

Told you it was fascinating! To read more (you should!), get the full story at Forbes.com.

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One thought on “Can We Learn Strategy from The Hunger Games?

  1. Now if only District 13 hadn’t been razed to the ground, I might be persuaded to consider them a handbook. Haha :) Nice article find! It’s always fun when a serious mainstream media outlet approaches genre with its thinking hat on.

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