Motivational

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant

Give and Take

Give and Take highlights what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills have in common.

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. 

Using his own pioneering research as Wharton’s youngest tenured professor, Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. Combining cutting-edge evidence with captivating stories, this landmark book shows how one of America’s best networkers developed his connections, why the creative genius behind one of the most popular shows in television history toiled for years in anonymity, how a basketball executive responsible for multiple draft busts transformed his franchise into a winner, and how we could have anticipated Enron’s demise four years before the company collapsed – without ever looking at a single number. 

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Praised by bestselling authors such as Dan Pink, Tony Hsieh, Dan Ariely, Susan Cain, Dan Gilbert, Gretchen Rubin, Bob Sutton, David Allen, Robert Cialdini, and Seth Godin-as well as senior leaders from Google, McKinsey, Merck, Estee Lauder, Nike, and NASA – Give and Take highlights what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills have in common. This landmark book opens up an approach to success that has the power to transform not just individuals and groups, but entire organizations and communities.

Read Complete chapter by chapter Summary here

1-Page Summary of Give and Take

Here is a reference for the most important concepts in Give and Take. To get more color on these points and illustrative anecdotes, read through this Give and Take summary in full.

  • there are 3 reciprocity styles. Takers like to receive more than they give. Matchers balance and give on a quid pro quo basis. Givers like to give more than they get.
  • professionally, most people tend to be matchers, partly because they believe the workplace is zero sum, partly because they’re skeptical of takers and don’t want to make themselves vulnerable. This can create a pernicious vicious cycle leading to bad work culture.
  • givers end up more successful by building better reputations and more useful networks. Increasingly true as economies shift to collaborative knowledge work.
  • giving gives you an advantage because you can’t predict who’s going to be helpful to you in the future. This means some people are undervalued by takers/matchers at present. If you help these people, they will be grateful. Givers tend to see potential in all people as diamonds in the rough.
  • givers focus on the success of the group rather than the self. This inspires trust in their motivesand creates a safe space where ideas are shared without fear of exploitation (where a taker would claim credit) or retaliation (where a taker may reflexively shoot it down). Takers create the opposite reaction
    • the givers also earn “idiosyncracy credits” where their controversial ideas may be given more hearing time, since listeners know the givers have the group’s interests at heart
  • giving is contagious. Giving seems to create a safe space in a group, where people are comfortable adopting giving behaviors knowing that takers won’t exploit them. Since most people are matchers, they reciprocate to the network.
    • in contrast, a bad taker apple can spoil the batch. Takers can spur zero-sum behaviors that drag the whole group down, and people are wary of sharing ideas out of fear of exploitation
    • promote a giving culture by publicly rewarding giving behaviors; creating a reciprocity ring; setting low bars for giving; making giving behavior public and expected. Takers will have to cooperate or appear unhelpful, which threatens their well-being later.
  • givers practice powerless communication by asking questions, signaling vulnerability, and seeking advice. This reduces ego tensions, helps them gather more information, and makes for more effective sales and negotiations.
    • takers practice powerful communication to dominate the scenario, which makes them seem more authoritative but closes counterparties off from fear of retribution.
    • however, powerful communication works when listeners are dutiful followers (picture Steve Jobs speaking powerfully to Apple fans)
  • self-interest and other-interest do not lie on the same spectrum. You can be motivated by both self-interest and other-interest, practicing “otherish giving.” This allows givers to avoid being doormats and giving too much of themselves when giving.
  • generous tit for tat” is an effective stance to adopt as a giver. Start out with trust, punish when competed against, but forgive once in a while to allow redemption of behavior. Pure tit for tat can cause a vicious cycle of competition after a mishap
  • giving leads to potential pitfalls, each with remedies:
    • givers may be prone to sunk cost fallacy, where they throw good money after bad. But in reality they tend to accept disconfirming evidence more than takers, who want to be right all the time and see mistakes as ego threats. (Michael Jordan example of not admitting he made a bad draft pick)
    • givers are prone to burnout if they practice selfless giving. To reduce this, make the impact of the giving clear; chunk giving into fewer time slots
    • givers tend not to advocate for themselves for fear of offending the other party. They are more effective when advocating for other people (like family or a cause) since this aligns with their giving standpoint. Also, successful givers take people’s objective persectives rather than empathizing with their feelings.
  • takers are punished societally through spreading of a bad reputation or active punishment (withholding of information, exclusion). The Internet makes taker reputations hard to reverse.
  • some takers try to disguise as givers, but they can sometimes be identified by poor behavior to subordinates and egotistical speech.
  • demeanor and agreeableness is not a reliable signal of giving behavior. There are disagreeable givers and agreeable takers.
  • takers tend to take credit because they suffer responsibility bias and cannot cross the perspective gap to their teammates. They see only their pain and contributions, and not those of others.
    • avoid this by picturing what your teammates are suffering through, and find analogous situations from your past

 

Chapter 1: Good Returns

The Dangers and Rewards of Giving More Than You Get

People fall into one of 3 groups for their stance on reciprocity:

  • Takers like to get more than they give. They feel the world is a zero-sum game, for them to win means others must lose. They self-promote and make sure they get credit. They help others strategically, when the benefits to them outweigh their personal costs.
  • Givers like to give more than they get. They help others when the benefits to others exceeds their personal costs.
  • Matchers like to balance and giving exactly, practicing quid pro quo.

Outside the workplace, giving is quite common, especially in marriages and friendships. But in the workplace, people tend to adopt a matcher style.

The roles are fluid. You may act like a taker when negotiating a job offer, a giver when mentoring an intern, and a matcher when sharing information with a colleague.

Interestingly, according to Give and Take, both the worst and the best performers in a firm tend to be givers. The givers at the bottom tend to give away too much time to get their work done, or were too nice to customers. But givers also fill out the top ranks.

This tends to be true across industries, from medical school students, to engineering and salespeople.

In true zero-sum interactions, giving rarely pays off. But most of life isn’t zero-sum. Givers take some time to build goodwill, but eventually their reputations and network build their success in a virtuous cycle way.

Example: in the first year of medical school, givers earned lower grades. Here, helping other students meant necessarily that they earned lower on the scoring curve. But in later clinical years, where teamwork is necessary, the givers perform better with their peers and patients.

Giving is valued. In the majority of the world’s cultures, survey takers rated giving as their most important value, above wealth, power, and pleasure. People prefer service providers (doctors, lawyers, teachers) who are givers to them, who will contribute value without claiming it back.

But givers are sometimes afraid of giving in the workplace, as it may signal weakness or naivete. When people perceive the workplace as zero-sum and other people as matchers, they want to respond in kind. This perpetuates a matching culture.

President Lincoln was a giver, known to be among the least self-centered US presidents. In his first Senate run, he gave up his 2nd place position to support the 3rd place candidate to defeat the 1st place candidate (he believed this was better for the state). When he won the presidency, Lincoln gave cabinet seats to his Republican opponents, where a matcher might have reciprocated allies’ support by appointing them, and a taker would have appointed “yes men” to build his power. Lincoln believed he had “no right to deprive the country” of the services of the best men.

Venture capitalist David Hornik was cited as a main example of an inveterate giver. His reputation for being hardworking and helpful gives him a signing rate of 90%, compared to an average 50%. Examples of his giving include starting a blog and openly describing how venture capital works (thus giving away trade secrets and weakening their position over companies), and running a conference called The Lobby where other VC firms were invited to meet potential investee companies. He creates the world he wants to live in.

Give and Take covers three aims:

  • Explain why giving is more successful and less dangerous than most believe
  • Separate givers at the top and bottom of the success ladder
  • Show what’s unique about the giving style of success, compared to taking and matching

[Reputation is important here – people will come to you with a preconception of what you’re there for, and match your style. If you’re known to be a taker, people will be wary of your every action and question your motives. If you’re known as a matcher, people will come to you only if they feel like they have something equal to offer. Let your reputation precede you.]

 

Chapter 2: The Peacock and the Panda

How Givers, Takers, and Matchers Build Networks

Networks provide private information, diverse skills, and power. As we’ll explain in this Give and Take summary, givers tend to create more helpful networks than matchers or takers.

 

Weak Ties and Dormant Ties

The core of why giving works seems to work is that you can’t perfectly predict who will be useful to you in the future. Someone you help might unpredictably become your boss or client in the future. If you selectively target only people you believe will help you, you ignore all the unproven people whose connections would have turned out to be helpful. Plus, because most people professionally tend to be matchers, the “lower status” people you help as a giver tend to really appreciate your giving.

Takers and matchers take advantage of the reciprocity tendency. They offer favors to people whose help they want in the future. But there are two downsides. First, the recipients often feel like they’re being manipulated. This ends up feeling like a transaction more than a meaningful gesture. Second, matchers tend to build smaller networks than givers or takers, because they help only people for whom there is an immediate benefit. Thus, matchers tend to have a smaller network of quid pro quo ties.

Surprisingly, people are much more likely to benefit from weak ties than from strong ties (like your close colleagues and best friends). Strong ties tend to be people belonging to the same group whom you interact with consistently, thus limiting access to new ideas. In contrast, weak ties provide access to information and people from different niches, facilitating creation of new leads. [Read about how weak ties promote social movements in the book The Power of Habit.]

Adam Grant introduces a type of a weak tie – a dormant tie, someone whom you used to see often but have since lost touch with. Givers and takers both tend to have more dormant ties than matchers, as explained above.

But takers and matchers are disadvantaged in reactivating dormant ties. Takers may have carried a bad reputation with them, prompting even matchers and givers to punish the taker. Matchers have an easier time because there’s less ill will. But they feel uncomfortable reaching out to weak ties, because they may already owe a debt to the weak tie, dislike the creation of a debt, or never have developed a warm trusting relationship rather than a transactional one.

In contrast, givers have major advantages in reconnecting. Givers a history of helping you, so you feel happy when they contact you again. Givers tend to be asking for help for someone else, not themselves, prompting people to add value rather than trade value. Also, since most people tend to prefer justice, they’ll reward givers who have a reputation of acting generously to others.

 

Adam Rifkin, SuperGiver

Entrepreneur Adam Rifkin was identified as the top connected person by Fortune by virtue of the most LinkedIn connections to the top 500 CEOs and other influential people. He built this network over decades, developing with every small gesture of kindness and a genuine desire to help people. For instance, Rifkin was a fan of Blogger, founded by Ev Williams. When Blogger ran out of money, he offered a contract to Ev to build something and keep Blogger afloat. Ev went on to co-found Twitter. A matcher wouldn’t necessarily appreciate the value of helping a sinking startup. In another example, Rifkin was connected to a venture capitalist through a connection made 4 years earlier, when he helped a punk rock fan (who happened to be the founder of search engine Excite). Adam Grant gives Rifkin as a clear success case of a giver.

He now runs 106 miles, a network of entrepreneurs, and he gleefully connects people in the group and answers questions even from the most hapless. As a last small example, he has written 265 LinkedIn recommendations for others, compared to 49 inbound ones. He lives by a maxim: the five-minute favor. “You should be willing to do something that will take you five minutes or less for anybody.”

 

Giving is Contagious

Studies show that giving is contagious. The social network experts Fowler/Christakis found that a giver can influence members of their group to give in the future, even when interacting with people who weren’t present in the original group. The experiment was a cash giving scenario, where each person in a group of 4 had two choices: 1) receive $3 and give $0 to everyone else; 2) give $2 to all members of the group. At the end of each round, the behaviors are revealed.

In this scenario, all people are better off if everyone gives. But giving is a risky strategy, as if you’re a giver in a group of takers, you perform the worst. Despite this, some people were consistent givers, and this inspired other group members to give. These consistent givers ended up with 26% more money than participants from groups without a consistent giver. Despite earning less on each personal transaction, they benefited overall by inspiring others to give to him and each other.

Similarly, in ordinary life, giving inspires more giving from others, and ultimately some of this giving leads back to you. Adam Rifkin actively pushes people he’s helped to give to other people, creating a pay-it-forward effect.

[This is the inverse of the monkey ladder experiment, where a ladder was placed with a group of monkeys. If a monkey climbed the ladder, all the monkeys were doused with water. They quickly learned not to climb the ladder, and they quickly discouraged any monkey that tried to climb. Then, monkeys in the original group were swapped out for new ones that were never doused, but were conditioned to beat any monkey that climbed. Eventually the behavior persisted even with monkeys that never knew water was in the picture. This may be apocryphal, but it illustrates the power of continuous feed-forward effects.] [Being a giver gives you first mover advantage with matchers. A matcher would rarely initiate a favor without knowing what favor she wants in return. But a giver kicks off the cycle and establishes trust, which invites the good spirits of the matcher.]

 

Diagnosing Takers Disguising as Givers

Takers tend to build connections only to gain favors, without caring about reciprocating. To avoid rejection, takers become good fakers. How do you tell a false taker?

  • They kiss up to superiors but treat peers and subordinates poorly (as they believe these people have nothing to contribute).
  • They tend to speak in a self-absorbed way, using singular pronouns like I vs plural pronouns like we. In a study of CEOs, takers used 39% singular pronouns, where the average was 21%.
  • They put themselves front and center on websites and annual reports.
  • Taker CEOs tend to earn more money than other senior executives in their companies. Taker CEOs earn 3x the salary and 7x stock of the next best person, compared to 1.5x and 2.5x respectively on average.

With public Facebook profiles, it’s easier to research fake takers. Takers tend to post more self-promoting information, feature arrogant quotes, rack up more Facebook friends to get favors, and post vainer pictures of themselves.

On the surface, Ken Lay of Enron looked like a giver. He set up a family foundation, gave $2.5 million to nonprofits, and donated 1% of his company’s profits. But reality showed he was actually a taker, having condoned schemes that inflated earnings and hid losses. How could you have detected taking behavior before this? Adam Grant presents this evidence:

  • When giving a tour of Wall Street, he recruited employees to appear to be busy traders in an otherwise empty floor. These employees made fake phone calls. In so doing, Lay asked his subordinates to forsake their integrity for his gain, giving them a terrible experience with their manager.
  • Compare his photo in the shareholders’ annual reports to that of another company’s CEO:

    body_kenlay

     

    Punishing Takers

    Since most people are matchers, people who feel exploited by takers want to see justice served, and will seek the downfall of takers. They circulate reputational information, signaling caution to others. Takers eventually run out of bridges that they have burnt or have been closed off.

    The Kahneman ultimatum game studies show the desire for fairness. Subjects sat across a stranger who had been given $10. The stranger proposed a split with the subject – the subject gets $2, the stranger keeps $8. There is no bargaining – it’s an ultimatum. The subject can take the offer, or reject and both get nothing. The rational thing to do is to keep the free money – after all, $2 is better than $0. But most people reject the offer, leaving both with no money but the subject with dignity intact.

    In a related study, people had a choice of splitting $12 evenly with a taker who had public information of making unfair deals in the past, or of splitting $10 with a matcher. Over 80% of people chose to take the latter deal, even though they would have been better off getting the $6 themselves. This reflects a strong reciprocity tendency – people want justice, and they prefer to work with fair people.

     

    Quotes

    “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” – Samuel Johnson

    Says LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman: “The more altruistic your attitude, the more benefits you will gain from the relationship. If you set out to help others, you will rapidly reinforce your own reputation and expand your universe of possibilities.” [In this case, reciprocation, social proof, and liking tendencies all contribute toward givers having more success.]

Chapter 3: The Ripple Effect

Collaboration and the Dynamics of Giving and Taking Credit

According to Give and Take, Americans tend to see independence as strength, and interdependence as weakness. Takers tend to see themselves as superior to others and collaboration as opening vulnerabilities to being overtaken.

Givers focus on achieving the goals of the group and see collaboration as harnessing the best of multiple people. They take on tasks that are in the best interest of the group and not necessarily of themselves. This isn’t necessarily purely altruistic – givers understand that the best thing for themselves is for their group to perform as well as possible.

[In Ben Horowitz’s terms, “two percent of zero is zero.” If you’re a taker and fight for your share but the team fails, you own two percent of nothing.]

 

Benefits of Giving in Collaboration

Evidence in Give and Take shows that the more giving group members are, the more successful they tend to be in group performance and individual raises. There are a few reasons for this.

When givers show they care more about the group, they signal that they care less about themselves and intra-competition. In turn, they earn their collaborators’ respect and trust, which opens bandwidth of collaboration. Takers no longer feel competitive with a giver, matchers feel they owe a giver, and givers identify with a giver.

As described in the last chapter of this Give and Take summary, giving and taking are both contagious. Because many people are matchers and use tit-for-tat strategies, adding takers to the mix promotes competitive and zero-sum behaviors that can drag the whole group down. People are wary of sharing creative ideas for fear of being exploited – indeed, taking behavior tends to lower creativity.

But adding givers to the group can push the whole group to focus on the overall goals and increase collaboration. Among predominantly givers, people can feel more comfortable opening up and sharing ideas, building psychological safety. It feels safe to exchange information in an environment where you won’t be punished by bad actors.

Giving also increases reception to your personal ideas. Givers earn “idiosyncrasy credits” – positive impressions that allow a giver to deviate from group norms or expectations. When givers voice opinions, others are less entrenched in a competitive mood and can be more objective about ideas. When such an idea can threaten the security of other team members, it’s understood that the giver is posing an idea primarily for the sake of the team, not for her own ego. This also applies to feedback – the recipient understands the giver wants her to succeed, rather than giving feedback to harm.

In contrast, when takers voice opinions, jealousy can spur collaborators to shoot them down in fear of competition or out of punishment for previous bad behavior. And when takers express threatening ideas or give constructive feedback, others can be skeptical of motives and reflexively dismiss it as self-serving.

 

Success Requires the Team

Much knowledge work relies on collaboration and working with a set of particular team members. It’s not as much a solo game where a superstar can join another team and magically make things work.

One study described in Give and Take looked at cardiac surgeons who performed procedures at multiple hospitals. Over time, mortality rate for a given surgeon improved only at the specific hospital where they practiced – the surgeon’s general expertise didn’t carry over to other hospitals where she practiced. In other words, every procedure the surgeon performed at one hospital lowered the mortality risk at that hospital. But when that surgeon switched to a different hospital, the mortality risk “reset.” This suggested that the surgeon was adapting to the particular team and environment, rather than developing a general skill.

Similarly, investment banks often recruit star analysts from other firms. These top analysts earn 7 digits per year and are highly coveted. A given top analyst had a 10% chance of being ranked first when staying at the same firm. When moving to a different firm alone, performance dropped and their chance of ranking first was 5%. But star analysts who moved with their teams showed no decline in performance, keeping a 10% chance of being ranked first.

Both studies suggest that the supposed center of innovation – the surgeon and the star analyst – relies on their colleagues for top performance.

 

Geniuses vs Genius Makers

A 1958 study collected the top 40 creative architects (by surveyed opinion) and 84 successful but uncreative architects, and studied the groups psychologically. They found that the ordinary architects were more likely to be givers, showing good character and sympathetic concern. The creative architects were more “demanding, aggressive, and self-centered.” Later studies among scientists showed similar results, agreeing to statements like “I tend to slight the contributions of others and take undue credit for myself.”

Because takers tend to be self-confident and care less about what others think, they can push original ideas against opposition. But that also come with costs.

Adam Grant spends much of this Give and Take chapter on portraying two people on opposite sides of the spectrum: Frank Lloyd Wright as a taker, and former Simpsons writer George Meyer as a giver.

Wright is recognized as one of the greatest architects of all time, but he was notoriously difficult to work with. He refused to pay his apprentices and demanded that his name be featured as lead architect on their designs. [T[This also recalls how scientists treat grad students.]strong>When his son John asked to be paid for his work as an assistant, Wright gave a bill itemizing his costs since birth. For his famous Fallingwater house, Wright ignored his client’s request to see the waterfall from the house, designed one that sat on top of the waterfall, and charged triple the contract. (A giver likely would not have contravened his client’s wishes so egregiously.)

His taker stance bolstered his prestige and gave him courage to push original controversial ideas, but it came at a cost. Few of his hundreds of apprentices became successful architects – the best apprentices quit after feeling exploited. He left a legacy of his own work, but he didn’t boost the careers of followers.

George Meyer, in contrast, is a giver. As a writer on Saturday Night Live, he would take on the grunt work of writing sketches for less glamorous guests – “I just wanted to be a good soldier.” As a writer on The Simpsons, he worked more on rewriting other people’s first drafts, rather than pushing his own first drafts (which would have his name credited front and center). He’s shaped more than 300 episodes but credited as a writer on only 12, despite the consensus among writers that he was responsible for many of the jokes. Adam Grant argues that despite his relative anonymity for many years, he eventually got deserved credit through a feature in The New Yorker and multiple Emmys.

And in contrast to Wright, Meyer has helped the careers of many writers who are universally grateful. These include actor Bob Odenkirk and Fresh Prince creator Andy Borowitz.

Adam Grant gives Jonas Salk as another example of a taker. He was publicly credited as a miracle worker in polio vaccine development, but at an important press conference, Jonas Salk refused to acknowledge the work of colleagues and his lab researchers. This snub alienated his colleagues and the overall scientific industry, which viewed it as “the most un-collegial thing that you can imagine.” He in turn never won a Nobel prize and was never elected to the National Academy of Sciences (retribution for taker behavior). Salk, of course, viewed the rest of the world as jealous.

[I[In my view, this example isn’t the most convincing. I get how Meyer is an admirable person whose qualities we should emulate. But readers of self-improvement books like Give and Take tend to want more success, and Meyer seemed to be a giver at some personal cost and reputation. How many readers have heard of George Meyer, and how many of Frank Lloyd Wright?

Adam Grant could have done better by portraying a more prestigious giver like Y Combinator founder Paul Graham or Google co-founder Larry Page, to show that giving doesn’t necessarily compromise success.]/p>

 

Why Takers Act Poorly

Takers don’t always maliciously and consciously take effort away from people. People generally want to think of themselves as fair and good. Rather, it can be due to a lack of effective empathy, which distorts their view of the world.

Imagine you and your partner are asked about how much you each contribute to the relationship, from 0 to 100 percent. Three of four couples add up their personal contributions to more than 100%.

This is the responsibility bias: we exaggerate our contributions relative to those of others. This happens partly because of ego (we want to glorify ourselves) but also because of information discrepancy: our own actions are far more salient to us than other people’s actions. For example, when itemizing each partner’s contributions, people tend to list 11 of their own but only 8 of their partner’s.

Wright and Salk, for instance, remembered how hard they toiled to generate the successes, but they hadn’t viscerally experienced the pain of their subordinates.

There is an antidote to responsibility bias: list what your partner has contributed before you estimate your own contribution. When employees first think about how much their bosses have helped them before valuing their own contributions, they double the % of their bosses’ contributions, from 17% to 33%. Similarly, in group work, considering others’ contributions first brings the sum of individual contribution estimates down from 140% to 123%. [T[This is part of the reason feeling grateful for things can lead to success – see Tools of Titans.]/p>

Givers tend to default to recognizing the value of what other people contribute first, and to see themselves as assisting the capabilities of others.

 

The Perspective Gap

The chasm of empathy causing responsibility bias is called the perspective gap. When we’re not currently experiencing an intense state, we underestimate how much it’s affecting us or others. Doctors consistently think their patients are feeling less pain than the patients themselves rate. When you have your arm in a bucket of ice water, you predict that being in cold will be 14% more painful than someone with an arm in a bucket of warm water. And there is a fast decay effect – someone who is exposed to cold water and then 10 minutes of warmth rate cold pain as though they had never experienced the cold water.

Takers rarely cross the perspective gap. Narcissistically, they focus on their own viewpoints and rarely see how others are reacting to their ideas. Takers project their own feelings on other people, and behave in accordance to how the takers would like to be treated.

For example, gift givers routinely overestimate how much recipients enjoy off-registry gifts. Stuck in their own frames of reference, gift givers give what they would prefer themselves, rather than accurately appreciating what the recipient would enjoy. If you love Dutch ovens, you think others would love them too; but if they loved them that much, the recipient would have put Dutch ovens on the registry.

[I[Insidiously, takers may see themselves as far more empathetic than they really are (because their ego would not let them believe they’re manipulative). When empathizing with another person, a taker believes she is imagining how the other party is feeling. But in reality the taker is imagining how the taker would feel in that situation. This is a false, self-centered empathy. Thus narcissists tend to see themselves as righteous and doing nothing wrong, and when others react poorly, narcissists may dismiss the insulted parties as unlikeable rather than assigning blame to the self.

This also suggests that empathy really requires an accurate understanding of the other person’s state. You must fully inhabit the other person’s mind and assume nothing that is not proven.]/p>

Other-centered empathy develops between 14 months and 18 months of age. Toddlers are given two bowls, one with crackers and another with broccoli. They overwhelmingly personally prefer crackers. They then watch a researcher express disgust while eating crackers and happiness while eating broccoli. The researcher then asks for food. 87% of 14-month-olds erroneously shared the crackers, while 31% of 18-month-olds did.

Over age, some people may naturally incline toward this empathy more than others. Givers tend to actively empathize with the other party. Before giving feedback, comedic writer George Meyer reflects on his past feelings of feeling eviscerated when being rewritten.

 

Chapter 4: Finding the Diamond in the Rough

The Fact and Fiction of Recognizing Potential

Assessing future potential is difficult. As discussed above, matchers and takers have a disadvantage in creating valuable networks – they seek out only people who can benefit them today. This ignores undervalued people who blossom into great success, whom givers help without expectation of return. Give and Take discusses why givers tend to be better judges and developers of talent.

 

The Pygmalion Effect – Self-fulfilling Prophecies of Potential

Confounding the potential problem is the Pygmalion effect – a self-fulfilling prophecy where having higher expectations about a person leads to performance increases in that person.

This effect has been experimented with in a wide range of professional and educational settings. Usually the experiment is conducted by having all students take a faux exam, then randomly assigning a percentage of students into a false “high potential group.” Instructors are then told which students were identified as high potential.

Repeatedly, the falsely labeled “high potential” or “bloomers” achieve better gains. In grade school students, bloomers gained ten IQ points more than their peers over 2 years. In the military, high potential trainees do better on expertise tests and weapons evaluations. In the workplace, new employees whose managers are told of their high promise receive higher performance ratings. [T[The size of the effect is around d = 0.5 to d= 1.13, depending on parameters. The effect is stronger when there are initially low expectations (like in problem students), when subjects are men, and in the military.]/p>

The Pygmalion effect occurs because the teacher reacts differently to a person based on her expectations. To someone of high promise, a teacher sets higher expectations, communicates more warmly, calls to answer more often, gives more advice and feedback, and attributes failure to the task rather than the person. The student responds to positivity, setting into place a positive feedback loop that leads to a sustained self-fulfilling prophecy.

In contrast, to someone of low promise, a teacher does the inverse: she attributes failure to the person’s low promise, gives fewer chances to succeed, and gives less feedback (likely out of belief the advice will be wasted). Similarly, this leads to a vicious cycle where the student feels less motivated, and each progressive failure is more evidence of low promise.

 

Takers, Givers, and the Pygmalion Effect

So it’s shown that trainees develop differently in response to the teachers’ beliefs. How do takers, matchers, and givers perform differently in this framework?

Takers assume that most people are takers and thus place little trust in other people. When they see someone with high performance, they see this person as a threat, which prevents them from whole-heartedly supporting the person. Furthermore, takers tend to dismiss low performers as not possibly being able to help the taker. This creates vicious cycles where takers fail to provide encouraging support.

Matchers value reciprocity, so when they see someone of high potential, they do provide support in hopes of returned favors later. But matchers tend to wait to see evidence of performance before making the investment. Thus, they lose opportunities to help people who don’t immediately show talent.

Givers don’t wait for evidence. By default, givers tend to be optimistic and see everyone as bloomers.All people are diamonds in the rough until proven otherwise. Furthermore, givers don’t see high potential people as threatening. Givers provide encouraging support broadly. Critically, they can recognize “undervalued” people who are ignored by takers and matchers but, with the right environment, can blossom.

 

Talent Is Overrated – Grit is Important

One reason takers and matchers tend to undervalue potential is that they overemphasize currentperformance and talent. After all, they want to extract value now.

Instead, research has shown that orthogonal character traits like interest and grit make a big difference. Interest drives people to develop skill in the first place. And grit keeps them pushing through setbacks and difficulties.

Both character traits can be nurtured by early teachers who are caring and patient. Teachers who can spark the interest and provide positive experiences set the foundation for developing skill. Then teachers who set high expectations and push them past limits inculcate grit.

Givers tend to be these supportive teachers. Because givers signal that they care about the student’s growth, students respond better to teaching feedback and don’t question the teacher’s motives.

Furthermore, givers tend to be more gritty themselves, as they’re spurred on by the good of the group to put in more than they’d be willing to do for themselves.

[F[For more on grit, read my detailed summary of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

If takers know this, will they simply select on grit rather than current performance? Possibly, but they may be at a disadvantage by not creating the environment that nurtures talent growth.]/p>

 

Avoiding Sunk Cost Fallacy

Givers invest a lot of time in developing people. But givers don’t have a magical Midas touch – not all trainees have the talent or the grit to reach their potential.

So with limited time, how can givers focus on people with true promise? And how do they avoid the escalation of commitment to investment in a person?

Escalation of commitment is a powerful force that pushes people to throw good money after bad. There are four factors here:

  • Ego threat – the biggest factor. If I don’t keep investing, I’ll look and feel like a fool.
  • Sunk cost fallacy – you weigh your past losses in your decisionmaking, rather than re-initiating a decision. For example, if you’ve bought 2 tickets for $200 but realize you don’t want to go to the show for 4 hours, the rational decision is to consider whether you want to waste 4 hours for $0.
  • Anticipated regret – will I be sorry that I didn’t give this another chance?
  • Project completion – a desire to follow through and finish

In many cases, escalation of commitment to a bad decision is worse for the group, but better in the short-term for the individual (in terms of disguising mistakes and massaging ego).

Takers are more vulnerable to ego threat than givers are. They’re concerned about protecting their reputation, not about the health of the organization. Cutting off a bad investment makes them look foolish and can incur big personal costs like a loss of a promotion. Thus continuing the bad investment allows the taker to continue hiding the prospect of failure.

In contrast, givers are more concerned about achieving the goals of the group than about ego. Thus, givers are more willing to admit personal mistakes and de-escalate commitment. Studies show that people make more accurate decisions when they’re deciding on behalf of others rather than themselves. Givers do this naturally.

Furthermore, takers tend to discount constructive feedback that harms their ego. In an experiment, subjects were identified as givers or takers, then made decisions on how to solve problems. All participants received a random score indicating they were below or above average, then given a suggestion to delegate more. When takers believed they were above average, they delegated 30% more often; but when they believed they were below average, they delegated only 15% as often. In contrast, givers delegated 30% more often regardless of the feedback.

By avoiding constructive feedback, takers continuously entrench into their former decisions, as doing otherwise would deflate their ego in being correct. Takers want to be the smartest people in the room.In contrast, givers care about the performance of the group and focus more on the organizational consequences of their decisions. Thus, they take in as much data and disconfirming evidence as they can to make better decisions, even at the short term expense of their ego and reputation.

 

Inman vs Jordan in Basketball Scouting

Give and Take uses two well-known basketball figures to illustrate the talent-developing differences between givers and takers. Stu Inman was a basketball scout for the Portland Trail Blazers and is seen as key to building the team that won the championship in 1977. Adam Grant cites Inman’s classic giver behaviors. As a college coach, he cared about talent development and made room for gritty players even if they lacked talent. As an NBA scout, he fought common wisdom and used psychological analyses to find gritty players, rather than focusing on upfront performance. This led to picks like Bill Walton and Clyde Drexler.

They had their share of mistaken picks. But Inman was receptive to negative feedback and to admitting his mistakes. After making bad picks, other NBA teams tended to play their picks more than they should have, in an effort to prove their ego correct and out of ego-protecting denial that they had made a mistake. In contrast, the Blazers played their bad picks less than average, thus de-escalating their commitment.

In contrast, Michael Jordan, despite being the best known basketball player of all time, was a classic taker on and off the court. While playing, he was known as being egotistical and selfish. He bristled under constructive feedback and was criticized at his Hall of Fame speech for thanking few people and excoriating his doubters.

As an executive for the Washington Wizards, Jordan made a bad first pick in Kwame Brown, who never lived up to potential. Brown’s failure was mean a huge blow to Jordan’s ego. Jordan un-retired to play on the Wizards alongside Brown, and he “ritually reduced Brown to tears.” Without success, Jordan was fired from the Wizards, but he didn’t let it go. When Jordan owned the Charlotte Bobcats, he signed Brown again. The Bobcats gave Brown more minutes than ever, but he struggled to thrive. Jordan kept throwing good money after bad, unable to admit his mistake and stinging under the increasing criticisms about his management.

 

Chapter 5: The Power of Powerless Communication

How to Be Modest and Influence People

There are two modes of communication: powerful communication and powerless communication.

Powerful communication tries to establish dominance, and takers are attracted to this style. They speak loudly and forcefully, express certainty, promote accomplishments, and have large body language. Picture a military general issuing orders.

Powerless communication tries to build prestige and admiration, and givers are attracted to this style. Powerless communicators speak less aggressively and assertively, express doubt by using disclaimers and hesitations (“um”, “sorta,” “this may be a bad idea, but”), signal vulnerability, ask questions, and rely on advice. Picture a warm, supportive teacher.

In Give and Take, Adam Grant examines how givers and powerless communicators succeed in four areas: presenting, selling, persuading, and negotiating. In sum, powerless communication is effective because people are naturally skeptical of intentions, bristle at being ordered around, and have their own egos to protect. By asking questions and indicating vulnerability, givers become approachable, show reception to new ideas, and learn new information that helps them persuade.

 

Presenting

When giving a presentation, revealing vulnerability and humanity make you approachable and get people to empathize with you. Givers are interested in helping others, not in establishing dominance, so they’re not afraid to show vulnerability.

In contrast, takers worry that showing vulnerability will limit their ability to gain dominance. Their powerful communication, however, can clash with other people who want to assert dominance, or when the audience is skeptical of your influence, and the message gets lost.

Powerless communication only works, however, if you signal your competence in other ways, such as credentials or the content of your speech. If you’re competent and vulnerable, audiences like you more. But if you’re incompetent and vulnerable, audiences like you less. This is the pratfall effect. In other words, mistakes amplify the audience’s prior conception about you.

When presenting to senior military officers, Adam Grant started his presentation with a powerless joke: “I know what you’re thinking: what can I possibly learn from a professor who’s twelve years old?” This approach led to much better reception compared to a powerful presentation of his credentials.

 

Selling

Picture a stereotype of a salesperson, and you may picture a hard-charging, gregarious back-slapper who pushes you down a list of features and won’t take no for an answer.

It turns out givers are the most effective salespeople, showing higher results across industries like insurance and pharmaceuticals. Givers want to help their customers solve their problems, and they use powerless communication to achieve it. In sales, givers ask lots of questions to understand the clients’ scenario, customize a solution to best match the client’s needs, then allow the client to make her own conclusion.

Tactically, asking questions allows a salesperson to unearth new customer needs and use cases that wouldn’t have been discovered through a brute force one-size-fits-all approach. Adam Grant gives an example of an optician who approached a woman skeptical of buying expensive multifocal glasses. After asking questions about her daily sight problems and her potential use cases, the optician realizes she has a misconception that the glasses can only be used part of the day. He ultimately makes the sale.

Powerless communication in sales also works because, as a consumer, you’re flooded with strong messaging all day, from advertisers to politicians, and when you hear a powerful sales pitch, you tend to get suspicious. You don’t want to be tricked, and you prefer not feeling manipulated. A giving, powerless approach guides you to making your own conclusions.

A lawyers says, “the art of advocacy is to lead you to my conclusion on your terms. I want you to form your own conclusions: you’ll hold on to them more strongly. I try to walk jurors up to that line, drop them off, and let them make up their own minds.”

Related point: people love talking about themselves. The more you talk in a group, the more you think you’ve learned about the group, even though the information exchange was unilateral. Thus by asking questions, givers inspire joy in the talker and enable introspection leading to a conclusion.

 

Persuading

In collaborative work, powerless communication provides a safe space for new ideas. Asking questions and using powerless speech markers like “may” and “possibly” invite contrary opinions and signal a willingness to defer. From a classic giver point of view, this signals that the speaker cares primarily about the goals of the group, rather than about personal ego.

This is especially true in collaborative work, where people work together to achieve the same goal. In these scenarios, takers undermine group performance and stifle information sharing. Powerful speech here tends to signal that the taker cares primarily about asserting dominance and ego, not about the good of the group.

Cited studies show that powerless speech engenders more respect and influence in collaborative work, and when a group is passive. In a study of pizza franchises, when employees are proactive, powerful speech leads to 14% lower profits. (In contrast, when the work is independent and employees are passive, powerful speech is effective. We’ll discuss more below).

Over time, powerless speech can allow you to build a reputation as a helpful contributor, rather than a competitor vying for political power. If you’re seen as someone reliable and pleasant to work with, the peer feedback should ultimately benefit your career, if your superiors can pattern match and attribute group success to you.

Adam Grant gives the example of Volkswagen account manager Don Lane, who contributed the “Drive it. You’ll get it.” tagline to the creative team, despite not getting credit. He presented his idea as, “I know this is against the rules, but I want to give you a sense of what I’m talking about. What do you think of this line?”

 

Negotiating

In tense situations that may appear zero-sum to many people (like negotiations over wages or deals), advice seeking is a powerful tool for exercising influence when we lack authority. Advice seeking combines expressing vulnerability, asking questions, and talking tentatively. Naturally, takers tend to avoid advice seeking because it jeopardizes their appearance of control and harms their ego of knowing all the answers.

Advice seeking has four benefits:

  • Learning: The advice giver is prompted to clarify details to give the best advice. This also puts the adviser in a brainstorming mood, where she’ll draw on more info than just voting yes/no on a pitch. The advisee benefits from this expanded knowledge.
  • Perspective taking: To give good advice, advisers have to look at the situation from the advice seeker’s point of view. This creates empathy for the advice seeker rather than setting up an adversarial structure.
  • Commitment: Because the adviser has put personal effort into the advice seeker’s situation, she feels commitment to follow through, especially if the top ideas are her own.
  • Flattery: When you ask for someone for advice, you grant her prestige by showing you admire her knowledge and wisdom. It makes her feel important.

The adviser is also prone to liking the advice seeker more through resolving cognitive dissonance: “there’s no way I would help her if I didn’t like her, so this must mean I actually like her.”

Advice seeking works for all 3 reciprocity styles in the counterparty. Takers love having their ego massaged. Matchers like racking up credits they can use later. Givers feel helpful.

Adam Grant gives an anecdote of Annie, a scientist who was part of a downsized company branch in the Midwest. She could keep her job by transferring to the East Coast, but this would mean giving up her nighttime MBA program. She tried to argue for her position with a few managers but made no progress. Ultimately, she reached out to a HR manager and asked for advice: “if you were in my position, what would you do?” The HR manager became her advocate. She took the woman’s perspective, learned new details, and found through the department head that the company had a private jet that Annie could ride on. Now the HR manager was committed to delivering on this solution. If Annie had lobbied more assertively, she might never have learned about the jet.

 

Research examples:

  • Experimental subjects were asked to negotiate the sale of commercial property. Sellers who focused on getting the highest price reached a deal only 8% of the time. Sellers who asked the buyers for advice reached a deal 42% of the time.
  • In the work force across industries, seeking advice is one of the most effective ways to curry influence and be rated as an effective manager (in addition to rational persuasion and inspirational appeal).
    • This is an interesting study. All 3 of these work in all directions of the org chart (downwards, lateral, and upward).
    • Ingratiation, exchange, and personal appeal were used primarily in downward or lateral directions, and not upward. They were ineffective at changing effectiveness rating.
    • Finally, legitimating (do it because it’s what the rules say) or pressure correlate negatively with effectiveness.
  • Executives seeking board seats are most effective when asking a current board director for advice, rather than complimenting.
  • In an experiment environment, advice seekers were more likely to be recommended for promotion than non-seekers.

 

When Powerful Communication Works

When DOES powerful communication work? I wish Adam Grant explored this more in Give and Take, though it would detract from his message.

Takers are judged by group members as more competent and authoritative. Sometimes this works against them (when it discourages new ideas). But when listeners are passive “dutiful flowers,” powerful communication does work.

We see powerful communication work in Steve Jobs and TED talks, and I imagine it works in tense military situations. Does it work when the listener knows she’s in a subordinate and receptive position, so ego is not at play? When listening to Steve Jobs, an Apple fan already considers him a genius and is in a receptively subservient position in buying his products. “I want to be led as a dutiful follower.”

[P[Powerful speech seems to confer more status when the task is independent rather than communal, and when the working environment rewards individual achievement rather than cooperation.]p> 

Chapter 6: The Art of Motivation Maintenance

Why Some Givers Burn Out but Others Are On Fire

It’s a myth that self-interest and other-interest lie on the same spectrum, and that caring about yourself necessarily means not caring about others.

Give and Take argues that self-interest and other-interest are completely independent motivations – you can have both be very strong, or both be weak, forming this 2×2 matrix:

 Low Other-InterestHigh Other-Interest
Low Self-InterestApatheticSelfless:

Self-sacrificing Givers

High Self-InterestSelfish:

Takers

Otherish:

Successful Givers

Givers are universally high in other-interest, by definition. But givers vary in self-interest. Givers who have low self-interest are selfless: they sacrifice their own gain for the benefit of others. This “pathological altruism” decreases their own well-being and risks burnout. Interestingly, selfless givers also tend not to ask for help, as they’re determined to be in the helper role and don’t want to inconvenience others.

Givers who have high self-interest are otherish: they’re ambitious and have goals relating to gaining influence and attaining excellence. Otherish givers still give more than they receive, but they are discriminate with their time, choosing how and to whom they give. They want to grow the overall pie and see the world as more than zero-sum, but they still want a piece of that pie.

Maintaining a balance between self-interest and other-interest is important for mental health. This is true even in trusting relationships like marriages.

Even though otherish givers superficially appear less giving than selfless givers, they have greater stamina and contribute more over time. In comparison to matchers and takers, otherish givers build a reserve of happiness that fuel their work.

 

Making the Giving Impact Clear

Because givers are motivated by benefiting others, the result of the giving must be made obvious. In the absence of positive feedback, the giving effort seems to disappear into a black hole, risking “compassion fatigue” and burnout.

Give and Take recalls a study of college donation volunteers, where he found surprisingly that givers were over 50% less productive than takers. This was an odd finding in a volunteer setting. Then he noticed a sign in the call center: “Doing a good job here is like wetting your pants in a dark suit. You get a warm feeling but no one else notices.” Realizing the lack of feedback, Adam divided students into experimental groups and, for one group, invited student scholarship recipients to speak to the callers.

This group increased calls by 144% and total revenue generated by over 400% compared to control. (Interestingly, when managers gave the same message, it didn’t work. Sometimes managers have to “outsource inspiration.”)

In another experiment, radiologists who evaluated CT exams with a photo attached to the file increased diagnostic accuracy by 46% and found more key diagnostic findings. [I[It’s unclear however whether this is scalable if applied across all patients all the time, or whether the effect dissipates as radiologists become inured to the pictures.]/p>

Teachers are prone to burnout because it can take years for their impact to appear, and each cohort of students is whisked away every year without followup. Teachers who feel a sense of impact tend to burnout less, suggesting that perception of impact serves as a buffer against stress.

Thus, companies try to show the impact of their work to employees. Wells Fargo creates videos of customers talking about how low-interest loans helped them reduce debt. Medtronic sets up tours of employees at hospitals to see their devices at work and invites patients to speak at their annual party.

 

Otherish Choices: Chunking and the 100-Hour Rule of Volunteering

Giving is energizing only when it’s an enjoyable, autonomous choice rather than when it’s forced as part of duty or obligation. Otherish givers practice a few techniques to decide where they give, rather than diluting themselves indiscriminately.

Chunking is the practice of combining your giving into a small period of time, rather than sprinkling it throughout the week. Chunking allows the giver to give when it’s more convenient and when her energy levels are appropriate, rather than having distracting interruptions. By compressing the experience, the impact is also made more vivid.

Studies show that chunking increases happiness for givers and increases productivity by lowering context switching costs. [This is a fantastic depiction of why interruptions are costly.]/p>

Chunking can also be applied in topic matter, by giving primarily in areas that are interesting to you and connect to your core values. If you love animals, then 100 hours at a pet shelter will be far more energizing than 100 hours cleaning up parks.

Limiting volunteering time also promotes happiness – adults who volunteer between 100 and 800 hours per year are happier and more satisfied with their lives than those serving below 100 and above 800. Furthermore, adults who volunteer 100 hours reduce mortality risk; volunteering above 100 hours shows no additional benefits. Because giving has diminishing marginal returns, capping your time helps preserve personal time for self-interest.

Finally, seeking help from others allows otherish behaviors to recover their energy. This “tend and befriend” response to stress is common in humans and acts as a buffer against stress. Selfless givers tend not to seek help, since they’re rooted in the giving role and don’t want to burden other people.

 

Benefits of Giving

Giving builds willpower. Experiments show that other-directed people (givers) had higher willpower in tasks like doing a rote chore. The theory: givers have to consistently override their ego and self-interest to help others – this trains a general willpower and self-control muscle.

Giving correlates with higher incomes. In a study of Americans, every $1 in giving increases income by $3.75. In other words, people who give more tend to earn more. (This is distinct from the converse, where people who earn more tend to give more, which is also true – for every $1 in extra income, giving went up by $0.14).

Why might this happen? Giving may promote a “helper’s high,” increases life satisfaction, activates dopamine reward circuits, and decreases depression. This happiness causes you to work harder and more effectively, be perceived as a more pleasant and effective person by others, and set more ambitious goals.

 

Anecdote of Otherish Giver

Adam Grant gives the example of Conrey Callahan, who served in Teach for America but felt burnt out. Instead of dialing back her time or pouring more energy into TFA, she started a nonprofit branch of Minds Matter Philadelphia to mentor students. Even though she was working more than before, she was re-energized for reasons given in this chapter:

  • she could see the impact of her work more clearly
  • context changing renewed her energy
  • she made a conscious choice to start her nonprofit, rather than serving TFA out of obligation
  • she chunked her giving time

Grant points to this as otherish behavior – a selfless giver would have plowed even more time into teaching at TFA, sacrificing her own well-being.

 

Chapter 7: Chump Change

Overcoming the Doormat Effect

In the workplace, some givers pave the way to early promotion, and others are treated more like doormats, trod upon by co-workers. In a study of consultants, givers had 1-2% lower salary increases, 15% lower rate of being promoted to managerial roles, and took 2 more months on average to get promoted.

How do you avoid this doormat effect? This Give and Take summary covers the main strategies.

 

Sincerity Screening: Detecting Fakers

Givers tend to see the best in everyone and operate assuming everyone is trustworthy. Thus givers tend to be twice as susceptible to cons and identity theft.

The key for givers is to distinguish between real givers and fake takers. But many fall into the trap of conflating agreeableness and giving. As a fundamental personality trait, agreeable people come across as warm and cooperative, and we tend to interpret agreeable behavior as a signal of giving tendencies. In contrast, disagreeable people tend to be tougher, colder, and more skeptical – naturally, these people don’t seem to have your best interests in mind.

In reality, giving behavior is based on internal values that can accurately be inferred only from behavior and reputation. The disagreeable giver is often overlooked, being somewhat unpleasant in demeanor but ultimately caring deeply about people. More insidiously, the agreeable taker (like Ken Lay from an early chapter) tends to manipulate and exploit unwitting people.

[I[I wish Adam Grant had included research on what % of people tend to occupy the 4 quadrants of agreeable-disagreeable vs giver-taker.]p>Givers tend to be more accurate judges of character than matchers and takers, because givers are more attuned to others’ behaviors and feelings. By trusting others, givers also tend to lower other people’s behavior guards and can observe genuine behavior more often than matchers or takers can.

By detecting fakers, givers can screen people to decide where to focus their energy. One manager consultant offers help to every hire and observes their behavior in the first meetings. People who sincerely want to learn ask questions about the nature of their work. Takers tend to ask how to get promoted and spend time brown-nosing. Another consultant resorted to writing advice guides to scale her advice.

 

Generous Tit for Tat: Trusting Most People Most of the Time

Screening can be a first line of defense, but how do you adapt when you’ve already engaged in a relationship with a taker?

One useful tactic is to use matching behavior with takers – tit for tat, in game theory parlance. Start out as a giver, but once your partner becomes competitive, retaliate by becoming competitive yourself. This is a good start, but it can be overly punishing – you may misinterpret a signal, or the counterparty could have made a mistake. When both parties go negative in tit for tat, it can end up in a mutually-destructive deadlock.

A better strategy is generous tit for tat – match the other person’s behavior, but occasionally forgive a bad act. If someone is regularly competitive, then compete 2/3 of the time, but cooperate 1/3 of the time. This allows recovery from mishaps and avoids lock-in to mutually destructive behavior. This strategy turns out to be the most successful in game theory simulations and biological behavior. Emblemizing this: “wait long enough, and people will surprise you.”

 

Why Givers Don’t Advocate Enough

Screening and generous tit for tat help givers avoid destructive relationships. But givers can still tend to give away too much in negotiations and advocating for themselves.

One reason is that givers tend to show too much empathy and care about the feelings of the counterparty. Empathy can weaken self-advocacy and cause you to be a lesser advocate for yourself. In one experiment, researchers had pairs of people negotiate purchase of a TV. Half of the pairs were strangers, and half were dating couples. The goal of each pair was to discover mutually advantageous outcomes, which could be discovered through bargaining tactics. Surprisingly, the dating couples performed worse – empathy for their partners caused each side to capitulate more quickly than strangers would, preventing the finding of better joint outcomes.

Another reason is that givers have more trouble advocating for their own interests. This is possibly related to empathy, in that givers want to appear warm and kind to the other person and want to make counterparties happy/avoid making counterparties upset. This is exacerbated by perceived zero-sum situations.

Gender plays a role in advocacy strength – in one study of MBAs, 57% of men negotiate their starting salaries, compared to 7% of women, accounting for a 7.4% pay gap. In an experiment, a researcher advertised a study as paying between $3 to $10. In one case, the researcher handed over $3 and said the amount was negotiable. 59% of men asked for money compared to 17% of women. In another, the researcher handed over $3 with no message. 13% of men but 0% of women asked for more.

Generally, givers earn less income, taking a pay hit of $7,000. [T[This is a complicated topic as givers tend to choose lower-paying careers. People require pay increases to work at organizations (accepting 50% lower salaries to work for the American Cancer Society than for Camel cigarettes). There is also possibly a correlation between organizations with giving cultures and lower earnings – that is, nonprofits tend to attract givers but are also worse financially because of market forces.]/p>

 

How Givers Can Be More Assertive

How can givers be more assertive? By advocating for other people. When givers advocate on behalf of a friend or mentee, they push harder and perform better. Givers are afraid of violating their own reciprocity preferences – by asking for too much, you risk feeling like a taker. But when you advocate for others, you fully align with your self-image as a giver.

In an experiment, male and female executives were asked to negotiate compensation for a promotion with a male counterparty. Males settled on $146,000 as a salary, while women averaged $141,000. But when the females were told to imagine that they were the employee’s mentor and advocating for the employee, the rate boosted to $167,000, while males showed no difference. Furthermore, 74% of women reached an agreement, compared to 46% of males.

[V[Very interesting finding requiring dissection. Why were women so much more effective than men at advocating for others? The authors suggest there are gender-specific triggers that activate a stronger effect in women than men, possibly related to relationships to groups. It could also have to do with less backlash against a woman advocating for herself – except the self-advocating woman performed about the same as a self-advocating man.]p>For givers, the solution is to picture yourself as an agent advocating for other important people in your life. Your self-interest usually aligns with theirs. If you’re negotiating for just yourself, you feel guilty about taking too much. But if you’re negotiating on behalf of your children, your family, a group of patients or students, or a greater cause, you fight harder. This echoes a chapter in Angela Duckworth’s Grit, where she argues that having a greater purpose in your goals increases grit and perseverance.

This type of explanation is called a relational account. It shows your concern for the interest of others, not just yourself.

Do you feel bad saying no to a client’s work requests? Advocate for your team and other clients – accepting the request would mean your team has to endure more stress, and your other clients will suffer.

Does a client demand a special discount? Argue that it would only be fair to give the same discount to all other clients, which would in turn mean sacrificing the salaries of your teammates.

Furthermore, givers should avoid outright empathy for the counterparty. If you feel their feelings, you’ll overestimate how offputting you are, and you’ll want to avoid upsetting them (which can be especially destructive when dealing with a sensitive taker). Instead, take their objective perspective and interests. Understand what they really want and find ways to grow the pie. If you’re in conflict, ask questions about what items they care about most, and what their goals are. You may find that you had misjudged their preferences (and they may not have understood themselves), and there’s a creative solution for you both to maximize your value. This is the central theme of famous negotiation book Getting to Yes.

Also, see scenarios as non-zero sum. Just because you ask for more salary doesn’t mean you’re taking away from the company. See it as a way for the company to ensure your continued contributions to the team, because you’ll leave if another employer values you correctly.

Finally, consider that showing assertiveness is impressive to most employers, who will want to see you advocate on the company’s behalf.

 

Chapter 8: The Scrooge Shift

Why a Soccer Team, a Fingerprint, and a Name Can Tilt Us in the Other Direction

The final strategy for givers to avoid being exploited is to actually change other people’s behaviors – to create an environment where even takers are motivated to give. The final substantive chapter in this Give and Take summary describes this community strategy in detail.

 

Why do people give?

Why do people give to begin with? There are two schools of thought. C. Daniel Batson argues we give out of pure altruism, not because it makes us feel good but because we care for the other person. Robert Cialdini argues there’s no such thing as pure altruism – we give because we feel pain, and helping relieves our own pain.

Batson argued that if Cialdini were completely right, then all people would just relieve empathetic pain by leaving the situation. In one experiment where people watched a woman getting shocked, 75% of people left. But a percentage of people stayed and offered to help take the shocks in her place, so some people help for reasons other than solving their own pain.

Cialdini then argued, with experiments, that when we see someone suffering, we essentially become one with the victim – we see ourselves in the victim, and that’s why we help. The more we see ourselves in them, the more we help. Batson argued – this is altruism.

There is no definitive answer given in Give and Take, but just as in otherish giving, the answer need not be purely one or the other. We can give both out of self-interest and out of other-interest.

 

Common Ground and Identity

Per Cialdini’s stance, when you identify more strongly with someone else, you tend to help more. Not only do we see ourselves in them (and thus we’re helping ourselves), if you belong to the same group, then helping them helps yourself.

This is one of the most interesting studies in this Give and Take summary. An experiment recruited soccer fans of Manchester United, who were asked to answer questions about why Manchester was their favorite team. They then walked between buildings, where they saw a person wearing 1 of 3 shirts slip and grab his ankle in pain. Depending on what the person was wearing, the Manchester fan had different propensities to help:

 Manchester ShirtLiverpool ShirtPlain Shirt
Manchester Primed92%30%33%

The Manchester fan clearly helped a member of his own group. Liverpool is Manchester’s rival, and the research subject essentially treated the person the same as though he were wearing a plain shirt.

But in another experiment, the Manchester fan were instead prompted to ask about why they were football fans and what it meant to them. In this case, the Manchester fan saw the Liverpool fan as being in the same group, raising the helping percentage.

 Manchester ShirtLiverpool ShirtPlain Shirt
Manchester Primed92%30%33%
Football Primed80%70%22%

 

This helps explain homophily, where people of similar types (ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation) tend to band together.

If we look at broader commonalities between us (eg we’re all humans on this floating rock hurtling through space), it becomes easier to give.

This effect explains some erratic behaviors, like preferring things similar to our names. People named Jack were 4x more likely than Phillip to live in Jacksonville, even though the names are equally common. And it’s not just that parents name their kids after where they live – people named Georgia move to Georgia 2x as much. People named Dennis were 2x as likely to become a dentist compared to Jerry or Walter.

Oddly, people with positive initials (like ACE or JOY) tend to live years longer than those with negative initials (like BUM). This could be because people are more comfortable with negative outcomes that remind them of themselves. This is related to Charlie Munger’s Influence from Mere Association tendency.

 

Optimal Distinctiveness

This group identification effect works better when the group is unique and rarer – to have uncommon commonalities. This achieves the right balance of belonging vs uniqueness. Groups with optimal distinctiveness create the most feeling of pride and cohesion.

In an experiment, a subject showed up with a confederate college student. A researcher took both people’s fingerprints. The confederate then asked for help on an English essay. In the control group, 48% of people helped. When told that the subject and the confederate shared Type E fingerprints, and that Type E was common (80% of people had them), 55% of subjects helped. But when Type E was rare (2% of population had them), 82% of people helped.

 

Group Norms of Giving

New members of a group look to others for cues on accepted behavior. Sometimes people end up taking because they don’t have information on what others are doing – thus they may picture the worst and infer that others are taking more than they are.

Because schools and businesses are often seen as zero-sum environments, people may be givers but assume others are not. A study of Harvard freshmen reported compassion as a top value, but near the bottom of the Harvard community’s values. In these environments, giving behavior is quelled, thus behaving in ways that discourage others from giving.

But exposure to others’ behavior can be a normalizing force. Households who are told their energy usage was higher than their neighbors’ reduce their expenditure significantly – they had no prior conception that their usage was out of line of the community.

To create a public giving culture, several organizations practice the reciprocity ring. A group of people gather and each person makes a request to the group, ranging from career tips to travel ideas. The rest of the group offers how they can help. This has a few nice properties. While people ordinarily don’t want to admit they need help, in this group every person is required to make a request, so there’s little to be embarrassed about. Because the behavior is public, even takers contribute since they know others are watching, and they won’t get help with their requests.

Setting very low bars for giving helps lubricate the act of giving. People donate more money to charity when phrased as “even a penny will help.” Adam Rifkin practices the 5-minute rule – if you can help someone in five minutes, you have no reason not to help. (Related study: People who are told to list attributes of a superhero double the rates of volunteering compared to listing features of Superman – people tend to write relatable characteristics of general superheroes, whereas Superman presents an unrealistic portrayal of superhuman performance.)

To change someone’s attitude, it’s sometimes hard to change it directly. An easier route is to force a behavior change, and then allow cognitive dissonance and inconsistency avoidance to change their attitude. If in public takers are prompted to give a few times, they may start to think of themselves as givers.

 

Freecycle: A Giving Community

In Give and Take, Adam Grant poses examples of two online networks – Craigslist and Freecycle. Craigslist operates on a matching, transactional basis – you give me something and I pay you for it. Freecycle is a giving community, where you give something to a stranger, and you may receive things from other strangers.

One may think that Freecycle is a ripe target for takers who will simply take items without giving back, causing the eventual crumble of the network. Indeed, makers and takers join Freecycle initially to receive free items. But even takers undergo a paradigm shift, where they start to adopt the values of the Freecycle community. One reason is that contributing to Freecycle is otherish – the self-interest part comes from the difficulty in getting rid of free stuff you own.

Another reason is that the distributed network of giving in Freecycle promotes feelings of belonging to the community. Because the exchange is not a transaction, the recipient sees the giver as acting out of altruism and not out of self-interest. Furthermore, because the recipient doesn’t give to the same people she receives from, the recipient starts feeling like she belongs to a community, rather than engaging in strict individual transactions between A and B. Both effects start to produce feelings of belonging to the community

Finally, all the giving behavior is publicly viewable through the website. It’s clear that others are giving, and people don’t want to violate community standards – thus even takers match reciprocity, as a minimum.

 

Chapter 9: Out of the Shadows

People generally believe that gives are the least successful of all 3 types, but Adam Grant argues vehemently that that’s not true – recall the examples of VC David Hornik, Adam Rifkin, basketball scout Stu Inman, the optician salesperson, Abraham Lincoln. Givers get to the top without cutting others down and pride their achievements by how much they help other people. The rise of collaborative knowledge work and the internet enables givers to develop stronger reputations than ever before.

Once you read Give and Take, you might be tempted to become a strategic matcher, finding people and appearing as a giver to achieve all the benefits described in this book. It’s unclear whether we should define reciprocity styles by the actions, the motives, or both. But Adam Grant believes that strategic matchers will ultimately betray themselves through disingenuous efforts, like Ken Lay. Eventually these people will be found out.

Thus Grant suggests that matchers may start out by giving in ways they find enjoyable, to people they genuinely care about. Then, over time, they may adopt giving as part of their identity.

 

Open Questions

Here are a few open questions that came up after I wrote this Give and Take summary.

Is giving/taking a natural disposition that’s hard to change, or is it malleable? There are some small things you can do like try to cross the perspective gap. Adam Grant also suggests that starting with small acts of giving can cause cognitive dissonance, and eventually with the right virtuous cycle takers can become givers.

How does reciprocity behavior correlate with gender, race, income? In a footnote, Adam Grant explains that men and women are equally likely to be givers, but that women tend to be givers in close relationships and men are givers with strangers (e.g. in emergencies). If poverty tends to associate with taking, then the resulting behavior backlash could be part of the poverty trap.

Doesn’t the premise of this book – that givers tend to be more successful – contradict the idea that you can’t give in the hopes of being more successful? Adam Grant suggests that the behaviors may be what mainly matters, regardless of the motives behind them, because of the impact on other people.

What if your organization doesn’t recognize givers? What if takers are at the top and tend to recognize other takers? Should you try to change the organization, or move to a different company with a giving culture?

Are some industries inherently taker driven? Startups are more open, while academia is zero sum (if you publish before me, I lose all the value of my research). Perhaps Mazlow’s hierarchy at work? In a resource-poor environment, where security and safety are questionable, giving may be a risky behavior since it’s prone to exploitation by bad actors.

Correlation and causation? Do more giving people tend to be more inherently creative, thus they’re less fearful of giving away ideas? Then the less capable ones are takers, since they have less to give away. Frank Lloyd Wright seems to disconfirm this (unless all his best ideas were his apprentices’).

 

Actionables

Here are actionables arising directly from Give and Take or inspired by its concepts.

  • adopt a giving attitude. If this isn’t your natural orientation, start with small giving behaviors to people you care about.
  • ask in every interaction, how can I help you?
  • make your giving reputation known – this will increase reception by people approaching you, no matter which of 3 stances they belong to.
  • promote a giving attitude in your org. Set the example for helping people willingly and for focusing on the goals of the group above your own gain. Publicly reward the behavior of people who demonstrate this. (is this possible if you’re the boss, and they feel underpaid?). Try to develop psychological safety around ideas, so people don’t feel they have to claim credit for ideas. Run a reciprocity ring.
  • to cross the perspective gap, understand the pain of others in their contributions, rather than centering around your own contributions. This applies to both subordinates, colleagues, and bosses. Avoid the Jonas Salk credit problem.
  • in reviews, ask people first to itemize what they like about a company and what we’ve done for them. This will minimize the responsibility bias of their own actions.
  • to avoid perspective gap problem, ask people about their contributions and problems when they’re not currently in a stressed state.
  • try to hire givers. Takers will bring down a culture when people default to tit for tat. One bad actor can really spoil the whole batch.
  • to empathize with your subordinates in tough situations, induce the same pain in yourself. Make a list of situations similar to those they’re facing and reflect on these regularly. Eg list one time negative feedback really hurt; when positive feedback made you feel good; when you had a project taken away from you; when your boss or colleague took credit for your work; when you felt underpaid for your work; when you had a deep Mazlow’s hierarchy need that wasn’t fulfilled.
  • recognize when someone is failing to empathize with you or another person, and point out whether they have accurate data on the counterparty’s preferences
  • don’t buy gifts off registry – you’re projecting your own preferences onto the recipient.
  • for your kids, find teachers who are caring and enthusiastic and make learning the subject fun. This will develop an interest and allow kids not to distrust teachers’ motives.
  • to avoid burnout from giving, make the impact of people’s work salient – create customer videos, publicize testimonials and results.
  • five minute favor: if you can help someone within 5 minutes, do so. Give honest feedback and make introductions.
  • practice powerless communication. Ask questions, seek advice, admit vulnerability. This should open people up.
  • when negotiating for your own self-interest, take the viewpoint of an advocate of people you care about. This will make you fight harder on their behalf.
  • practice perspective taking rather than empathy. Conversely, if you want to take advantage of a giver, make them feel really bad about your situation and make your concessions seem painful.
  • find other givers by joining a giving community
  • seek help more often. This can kick off a virtuous cycle of giving, where people tend to enjoy helping
  • in couples, advocate for your side to find the best joint outcome. Don’t let empathy bowl you over

Source: https://www.allencheng.com/give-and-take-adam-grant-summary-pdf/

The top 5 key takeaways

The top 5 key takeaways from the book ‘Give and Take‘ by Adam Grant.

1. The principle of reciprocity isn’t governed by self-interest.

Adam Grant’s research revealed that in all professional environments there are people that act as either takers, givers or matchers.

These interchangeable styles have a direct impact on why and how they succeed or fail.

The book shows that takers are only interested in self-advancement, always assessing what others can offer them.

While givers prefer to give more than they get, therefore paying more attention to what others need from them, rather than what they can get from others.

Matchers on the other hand, are placed right in the middle. They try to create an equitable balance between giving and taking.

Matchers often operate on the policy of fairness; when they provide assistance and help to others, they are covered by the principle of reciprocity.

2. Takers have a unique profile and are easy to spot.

You can spot a taker from some distinctive features. They like to receive more than they give and abide by the “dog eat dog world” policy.

Takers are selfish in nature and like to self-promote their few good deeds so they can get recognition. They are a black hole because they can suck the energy from any group or system.

They have no resemblance to givers, who have a sunny disposition, and inject light into any organisation they find themselves in.

Look around your workplace and try to spot the takers.

They are those who want to pull you down so that they can climb to the top.

Takers will take credit for the work done in a team rather than share the praise.

3. The best leaders are givers.

The most effective leaders prefer to give rather than take.

Givers focus on what others need from them and endeavour to be generous with their time, knowledge, energy, skills, ideas and interactions with others.

One of the least self-centred, boastful, and egotistical American presidents ever was Abraham Lincoln. He was a giver.

The reason why givers make the best leaders is that they have the ability to create a psychologically safe climate where everyone feels they can contribute.

This type of environment is necessary for people to learn and be more innovative. 

4. Team work without a giving mentality will fall short.

Grant noted that givers do poorly in medical school when every task was an individual activity. They normally soar in the second year when they become part of teams and began dealing with hospitals, nurses, and patients.

A strong team with more givers will have access to a free flow of information, knowledge, expertise and connection.

Takers and matchers are always strategic when utilising groups and teams.

Takers take without thought of giving back, depleting the teams resources and energy, while matchers focused on who could reciprocate in the nearest future restricting the flow of information and knowledge.

When a group has more givers, then the group members contribute more and the team’s objectives are met more quickly.

5. There’s a thin line between a giver and a doormat.

Givers are always at the top of every success ladder and there are also some givers at the bottom. Those givers at the bottom did not know where to draw a line.

To avoid being a doormat leader, Grant explained the necessity for givers to create boundaries around their giving to prevent burn-out.

Boundaries will also help effective leaders to overcome being taken advantage of by the takers.

In this case the giver will need to absorb some features of the matcher.

To do this well, the giver has to maintain a fine balance of giving.

Doing this successfully without getting burned-out or taken advantage of, will create a large network of allies and friends, plus an excellent reputation that will make them an asset for any professional organisation in the long-term.

Source: https://richtopia.com/effective-leadership/adam-grant-give-take

Editorial Reviews

Review

Give and Take just might be the most important book of this young century. As insightful and entertaining as Malcolm Gladwell at his best, this book has profound implications for how we manage our careers, deal with our friends and relatives, raise our children, and design our institutions. This gem is a joy to read, and it shatters the myth that greed is the path to success.”
—Robert Sutton, author of The No *sshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss

Give and Take is a truly exhilarating book—the rare work that will shatter your assumptions about how the world works and keep your brain firing for weeks after you’ve turned the last page.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

Give and Take is brimming with life-changing insights. As brilliant as it is wise, this is not just a book—it’s a new and shining worldview. Adam Grant is one of the great social scientists of our time, and his extraordinary new book is sure to be a bestseller.”
—Susan Cain, author of Quiet

Give and Take cuts through the clutter of clichés in the marketplace and provides a refreshing new perspective on the art and science of success. Adam Grant has crafted a unique, ‘must have’ toolkit for accomplishing goals through collaboration and reciprocity.”
—William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

Give and Take is a pleasure to read, extraordinarily informative, and will likely become one of the classic books on workplace leadership and management. It has changed the way I see my personal and professional relationships, and has encouraged me to be a more thoughtful friend and colleague.”
—Jeff Ashby, NASA space shuttle commander

“With Give and Take, Adam Grant has marshaled compelling evidence for a revolutionary way of thinking about personal success in business and in life. Besides the fundamentally uplifting character of the case he makes, readers will be delighted by the truly engaging way he makes it. This is a must read.”
—Robert Cialdini, author of Influence

Give and Take is a brilliant, well-documented, and motivating debunking of ‘good guys finish last’! I’ve noticed for years that generosity generates its own kind of equity, and Grant’s fascinating research and engaging style have created not only a solid validation of that principle but also practical wisdom and techniques for utilizing it more effectively. This is a super manifesto for getting meaningful things done, sustainably.”
—David Allen, author of Getting Things Done

“Packed with cutting-edge research, concrete examples, and deep insight, Give and Take offers extraordinarily thought-provoking—and often surprising—conclusions about how our interactions with others drive our success and happiness. This important and compulsively-readable book deserves to be a huge success.”
—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home

“One of the great secrets of life is that those who win most are often those who give most. In this elegant and lucid book, filled with compelling evidence and evocative examples, Adam Grant shows us why and how this is so. Highly recommended!”
—William Ury, coauthor of Getting to Yes and author of The Power of a Positive No

“Good guys finish first—and Adam Grant knows why. Give and Take is the smart surprise you can’t afford to miss.”
—Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

Give and Take is an enlightening read for leaders who aspire to create meaningful and sustainable changes to their environments. Grant demonstrates how a generous orientation toward others can serve as a formula for producing successful leaders and organizational performance. His writing is as engaging and enjoyable as his style in the classroom.”
—Kenneth Frazier, Chairman, President, and CEO of Merck & Co.

“In this riveting and sparkling book, Adam Grant turns the conventional wisdom upside-down about what it takes to win and get ahead. With page-turning stories and compelling studies, Give and Take reveals the surprising forces behind success, and the steps we can take to enhance our own.”
—Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations, Google

Give and Take dispels commonly held beliefs that equate givers with weakness and takers with strength. Grant shows us the importance of nurturing and encouraging prosocial behaviors.”
—Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational

Give and Take defines a road to success marked by new ways of relating to colleagues and customers as well as new ways of growing a business.”
—Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com and author of Delivering Happiness

“A milestone! Well-researched, generous, actionable and important. Adam Grant has given us a gift, a hard-hitting book about the efficacy of connection and generosity in everything we do.”
—Seth Godin, bestselling author of The Icarus Deception and Tribes

Give and Take will fundamentally change the way you think about success. Unfortunately in America, we have too often succumbed to the worldview that if everyone behaved in their own narrow self-interest, all would be fine. Adam Grant shows us with compelling research and fascinating stories there is a better way.”
—Lenny Mendonca, Director, McKinsey & Co.

“Adam Grant, a rising star of positive psychology, seamlessly weaves together science and stories of business success and failure, convincing us that giving is in the long run the recipe for success in the corporate world. En route you will find yourself re-examining your own life. Read it yourself, then give copies to the people you care most about in this world.”
—Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism and Flourish

Give and Take presents a groundbreaking new perspective on success. Adam Grant offers a captivating window into innovative principles that drive effectiveness at every level of an organization and can immediately be put into action. Along with being a fascinating read, this book holds the key to a more satisfied and productive workplace, better customer relationships, and higher profits.”
—Chip Conley, Founder, Joie de Vivre Hotels and author, Peak and Emotional Equations

Give and Take is a game changer. Reading Adam Grant’s compelling book will change the way doctors doctor, managers manage, teachers teach, and bosses boss. It will create a society in which people do better by being better. Read the book and change the way you live and work.”
—Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice and Practical Wisdom

Give and Take is a new behavioral benchmark for doing business for better, providing an inspiring new perspective on how to succeed to the benefit of all. Adam Grant provides great support for the new paradigm of creating a ‘win win’ for people, planet and profit with many fabulous insights and wonderful stories to get you fully hooked and infected with wanting to give more and take less.”
—Jochen Zeitz, former CEO and chairman, PUMA

Give and Take is a real gift. Adam Grant delivers a triple treat: stories as good as a well-written novel, surprising insights drawn from rigorous science, and advice on using those insights to catapult ourselves and our organizations to success. I can’t think of another book with more powerful implications for both business and life.”
—Teresa Amabile, author of The Progress Principle

“Adam Grant has written a landmark book that examines what makes some extraordinarily successful people so great. By introducing us to highly-impressive individuals, he proves that, contrary to popular belief, the best way to climb to the top of the ladder is to take others up there with you. Give and Take presents the road to success for the 21st century.”
—Maria Eitel, founding CEO and President of the Nike Foundation

“What The No *sshole Rule did for corporate culture, Give and Take does for each of us as individuals. Grant presents an evidence-based case for the counterintuitive link between generosity and finishing first.”
—Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, coauthors of Difficult Conversations

“Adam Grant is a wunderkind. He has won every distinguished research award and teaching award in his field, and his work has changed the way that people see the world. If you want to be surprised—very pleasantly surprised—by what really drives success, then Give and Take is for you. If you want to make the world a better place, read this book. If you want to make your life better, read this book.”
—Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Happier

“In an era of business literature that drones on with the same-old, over-used platitudes, Adam Grant forges brilliant new territory. Give and Take helps readers understand how to maximize their effectiveness and help others simultaneously. It will serve as a new framework for both insight and achievement. A must read!”
—Josh Linkner, founder of ePrize, CEO of Detroit Venture Partners, and author of Disciplined Dreaming

About the Author

Adam Grant has been Wharton’s top-rated teacher for four straight years. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers and the world’s top 40 business professors under 40.

Adam is the author of two New York Times bestselling books translated into 34 languages. Originals explores how individuals champion new ideas and leaders fight groupthink; it is a #1 national bestseller and one of Amazon’s best books of February 2016. Give and Take examines why helping others drives our success, and was named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal—as well as one of Oprah’s riveting reads and Harvard Business Review’s ideas that shaped management

Originally published: 9 April 2013

AuthorAdam Grant

Genre: Self-help book

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