Ambition What New Zealanders Think And Why It Matters


Ambition What New Zealanders Think And Why It Matters


ISBN: 9780473458157 Category: Tag:


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In Ambition: What New Zealanders Think and Why it Matters, consulting economists Julie Fry and Hayden Glass draw on research and writing about ambition in New Zealand over time, and compare it with the results of a national survey and a set of face-to-face interviews they conducted last year.

The book explores the connections between ambition and economic performance, wellbeing, national identity, and satisfaction in our personal and family lives.

Many commentators say New Zealanders lack ambition, and that aspects of our character, or our comfortable lives, limit our achievements. We are said to be too keen on time off, too concerned about everyone fitting in, suspicious of people who try too hard, enthusiastic about humility, afraid of risk and failure, and unmotivated everywhere but on the sports field.

The book reveals that actually New Zealanders are plenty ambitious. “We just put a really high value on being relatable and minimising social distance. And this means that we struggle to celebrate each other’s achievements or feel safe talking about our plans and dreams with others,” says Fry.

“Ambition is interesting because how big we dream is a major determinant of how far we can go, in business, in government or in life. It also depends on circumstances. For some people, it might mean wanting to make changes at a global scale. For others, dreams focused much closer to home might require no less stretch.

“Our research shows that New Zealanders have very strong views on what it is okay to be ambitious about and how we should go about advancing our dreams.

“We want this book to spark a conversation. We hope that it enables more New Zealanders to feel comfortable being more ambitious about more things: business, the environment, our people, our languages, civic contribution, the world.”

The book is part of a broader project, AmbitionNZ. The authors have filmed interviews with a couple of hundred people from all walks of life, from farmers and teachers to entrepreneurs, students, sports stars and politicians. A selection of these interviews are shared on the project’s YouTube channel, More information about the project can be found at

Additional information


Julie Fry



Book Type

Paperback / softback

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