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New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller from Wharton''s top-rated professor

Named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal
-  as well as one of  Oprah''s riveting reads,  Fortune''s must-read business books, and the Washington Post''s  books every leader should read.

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, Adam 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, Grant 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.

Praised by bestselling authors such as Susan Cain, Dan Pink, Tony Hsieh, Seth Godin, Dan Ariely, Gretchen Rubin, David Allen, Dan Gilbert, and Robert Cialdini
--along with senior leaders from Google, McKinsey, Merck, Estee Lauder, Twitter, 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.

From Booklist

An academic, Grant explains that added to hard work, talent, and luck, highly successful people need the ability to connect with others. We learn givers give more than they get, takers get more than they give, and matchers aim to give and get equally; all can succeed. The author’s aim is to explain why we underestimate the success of givers, to explore what separates giver champs from chumps, and what is unique about giver success. Emphasis on teams and the rise of the service sector offers givers access to opportunities that takers and matchers often miss. In the first section, the author explains his principles of giver success, and, in the second part, with insightful stories he explores the costs of giving and how givers can protect themselves against burnout and becoming pushovers; helping others does not compromise success. Grant concludes with his hope that this book will provide his young daughters’ generation with a new perspective on success. A worthy goal for this excellent book. --Mary Whaley

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

From the Inside Flap

Recognition for Give and Take:

  • Amazon''s best books of 2013
  • Financial Times books of the year
  • Wall Street Journal favorite books of 2013
  • Oprah''s riveting reads
  • Fortune must-read business books
  • Washington Post books every leader should read
  • Apple iTunes best of 2013
  • Inc.''s best books for entrepreneurs
  • Amazon customer favorites: one of the top 100 print books of 2013
  • Translated into two dozen languages

From the Back Cover

"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  Give and Take is brimming with life-changing insights."
~Susan Cain, author of  Quiet

"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  To Sell Is Human

"Perfectly timed and beautifully weighted . . . A refreshing change after years of reading angry indictments of fallen corporate idols. . . . [An] excellent book."
~Financial Times

"Now shaking up the business world: science that may change the way the world does business." 
~Willie Geist, The Today Show

" Give and Take...  might just be the best business book of the year." 
~Fast Company
 
" Give and Take is a very interesting book... I can''t put it down."
~ Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol, radio personality, and producer 
 
"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 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."
~Jeff Ashby, NASA space shuttle commander
 
"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."
~Gretchen Rubin, author of  The Happiness Project and  Happier at Home
 
" Give and Take  is an enlightening read... 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, Merck & Co.
 
"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  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.
 
"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
 
"One of my favorite new business discoveries of 2013."
~ Claire Diaz-Ortiz,  manager of social innovation, Twitter, and author of   Twitter for Good
 
"Give and Take is a brilliant, well-documented, and motivating debunking of ''good guys finish last''! With fascinating research, engaging style, and practical wisdom, this is a super manifesto for getting meaningful things done, sustainably."
~David Allen, author of   Getting Things Done
 
"An important book, destined to be a classic."
~Stephen Roulac,  New York Journal of Books
 
" Give and Take  is... garnering plaudits for the rigor of its science, the freshness of its arguments, and the pleasure of its prose."
~Leigh Buchanan,  Inc.
 
"Give and Take is just brimming with studies... They amaze and instruct... Thoughtful and well-researched... a book that means something."
~ Bryan Urstadt,  Bloomberg BusinessWeek
 
"Grant''s extraordinary book [is] my favorite on behavior since   Quiet."
~Kare Anderson,  Forbes
 
"I was so enticed by Grant''s research that I decided to enlist him to help me  increase my giving."
~Joel Stein,  Time Magazine
 
"Give and Take... wields a large body of social science research... to challenge the idea that career success is a zero-sum game in which your gains equal my losses... Grant explodes that myth."
~Emily Esfahani Smith,  The Atlantic
 
" 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
 
"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
 
"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
 
" 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  presents a groundbreaking new perspective on success. 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, head of global hospitality, Airbnb
 
"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  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.
 
"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 sensational, with fascinating insights on page after page. I learned much that I intend to incorporate into my life immediately. The lessons will not only make you a better person; they will make you more capable of doing good for many people, including yourself."
~Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

About the Author

Adam Grant  is the youngest tenured professor and single highest-rated teacher at The Wharton School. His consulting and speaking clients include Google, the NFL, Johnson & Johnson, Pixar, Goldman Sachs, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, and the U.S. Army and Navy.He has been honored as one of Malcolm Gladwell''s favorite social science writers, one of BusinessWeek''s favorite professors and one of the world''s top 40 business professors under 40. He has appeared on the Today Show, Charlie Rose, and Diane Rehm, and was profiled in the  New York Times magazine cover story, "Is giving the secret to getting ahead?" He holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Harvard University. He is a former record-setting advertising director, junior Olympic springboard diver, and professional magician. For more details, see giveandtake.com

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1
Good Returns

The Dangers and Rewards of Giving More Than You Get The principle of give and take; that is diplomacy—give one and take ten.
—Mark Twain, author and humorist

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Silicon Valley, two proud fathers stood on the sidelines of a soccer field. They were watching their young daughters play together, and it was only a matter of time before they struck up a conversation about work. The taller of the two men was Danny Shader, a serial entrepreneur who had spent time at Netscape, Motorola, and Amazon. Intense, dark-haired, and capable of talking about business forever, Shader was in his late thirties by the time he launched his first company, and he liked to call himself the “old man of the Internet.” He loved building companies, and he was just getting his fourth start-up off the ground.

Shader had instantly taken a liking to the other father, a man named David Hornik who invests in companies for a living. At 5''4", with dark hair, glasses, and a goatee, Hornik is a man of eclectic interests: he collects Alice in Wonderland books, and in college he created his own major in computer music. He went on to earn a master’s in criminology and a law degree, and after burning the midnight oil at a law firm, he accepted a job offer to join a venture capital firm, where he spent the next decade listening to pitches from entrepreneurs and deciding whether or not to fund them.

During a break between soccer games, Shader turned to Hornik and said, “I’m working on something—do you want to see a pitch?” Hornik specialized in Internet companies, so he seemed like an ideal investor to Shader. The interest was mutual. Most people who pitch ideas are first-time entrepreneurs, with no track record of success. In contrast, Shader was a blue-chip entrepreneur who had hit the jackpot not once, but twice. In 1999, his first start-up, Accept.com, was acquired by Amazon for $175 million. In 2007, his next company, Good Technology, was acquired by Motorola for $500 million. Given Shader’s history, Hornik was eager to hear what he was up to next.

A few days after the soccer game, Shader drove to Hornik’s office and pitched his newest idea. Nearly a quarter of Americans have trouble making online purchases because they don’t have a bank account or credit card, and Shader was proposing an innovative solution to this problem. Hornik was one of the first venture capitalists to hear the pitch, and right off the bat, he loved it. Within a week, he put Shader in front of his partners and offered him a term sheet: he wanted to fund Shader’s company.

Although Hornik had moved fast, Shader was in a strong position. Given Shader’s reputation, and the quality of his idea, Hornik knew plenty of investors would be clamoring to work with Shader. “You’re rarely the only investor giving an entrepreneur a term sheet,” Hornik explains. “You’re competing with the best venture capital firms in the country, and trying to convince the entrepreneur to take your money instead of theirs.” The best way for Hornik to land the investment was to set a deadline for Shader to make his decision. If Hornik made a compelling offer with a short fuse, Shader might sign it before he had the chance to pitch to other investors. This is what many venture capitalists do to stack the odds in their favor.

But Hornik didn’t give Shader a deadline. In fact, he practically invited Shader to shop his offer around to other investors. Hornik believed that entrepreneurs need time to evaluate their options, so as a matter of principle, he refused to present exploding offers. “Take as much time as you need to make the right decision,” he said. Although Hornik hoped Shader would conclude that the right decision was to sign with him, he put Shader’s best interests ahead of his own, giving Shader space to explore other options.

Shader did just that: he spent the next few weeks pitching his idea to other investors. In the meantime, Hornik wanted to make sure he was still a strong contender, so he sent Shader his most valuable resource: a list of forty references who could attest to Hornik’s caliber as an investor. Hornik knew that entrepreneurs look for the same attributes in investors that we all seek in financial advisers: competence and trustworthiness. When entrepreneurs sign with an investor, the investor joins their board of directors and provides expert advice. Hornik’s list of references reflected the blood, sweat, and tears that he had devoted to entrepreneurs over the course of more than a decade in the venture business. He knew they would vouch for his skill and his character.

A few weeks later, Hornik’s phone rang. It was Shader, ready to announce his decision.

“I’m sorry,” Shader said, “but I’m signing with another investor.” The financial terms of the offer from Hornik and the other investor were virtually identical, so Hornik’s list of forty references should have given him an advantage. And after speaking with the references, it was clear to Shader that Hornik was a great guy.

But it was this very same spirit of generosity that doomed Hornik’s case. Shader worried that Hornik would spend more time encouraging him than challenging him. Hornik might not be tough enough to help Shader start a successful business, and the other investor had a reputation for being a brilliant adviser who questioned and pushed entrepreneurs. Shader walked away thinking, “I should probably add somebody to the board who will challenge me more. Hornik is so affable that I don’t know what he’ll be like in the boardroom.” When he called Hornik, he explained, “My heart said to go with you, but my head said to go with them. I decided to go with my head instead of my heart.”

Hornik was devastated, and he began to second-guess himself. “Am I a dope? If I had applied pressure to take the term sheet, maybe he would have taken it. But I’ve spent a decade building my reputation so this wouldn’t happen. How did this happen?”

David Hornik learned his lesson the hard way: good guys finish last.

Or do they?



According to conventional wisdom, highly successful people have three things in common: motivation, ability, and opportunity. If we want to succeed, we need a combination of hard work, talent, and luck. The story of Danny Shader and David Hornik highlights a fourth ingredient, one that’s critical but often neglected: success depends heavily on how we approach our interactions with other people. Every time we interact with another person at work, we have a choice to make: do we try to claim as much value as we can, or contribute value without worrying about what we receive in return?

As an organizational psychologist and Wharton professor, I’ve dedicated more than ten years of my professional life to studying these choices at organizations ranging from Google to the U.S. Air Force, and it turns out that they have staggering consequences for success. Over the past three decades, in a series of groundbreaking studies, social scientists have discovered that people differ dramatically in their preferences for reciprocity— their desired mix of taking and giving. To shed some light on these preferences, let me introduce you to two kinds of people who fall at opposite ends of the reciprocity spectrum at work. I call them takers and givers. Takers have a distinctive signature: they like to get more than they give.

They tilt reciprocity in their own favor, putting their own interests ahead of others’ needs. Takers believe that the world is a competitive, dog-eat-dog place. They feel that to succeed, they need to be better than others. To prove their competence, they self-promote and make sure they get plenty of credit for their efforts. Garden-variety takers aren’t cruel or cutthroat; they’re just cautious and self-protective. “If I don’t look out for myself first,” takers think, “no one will.” Had David Hornik been more of a taker, he would have given Danny Shader a deadline, putting his goal of landing the investment ahead of Shader’s desire for a flexible timeline.

But Hornik is the opposite of a taker; he’s a giver. In the workplace, givers are a relatively rare breed. They tilt reciprocity in the other direction, preferring to give more than they get. Whereas takers tend to be self-focused, evaluating what other people can offer them, givers are other-focused, paying more attention to what other people need from them. These preferences aren’t about money: givers and takers aren’t distinguished by how much they donate to charity or the compensation that they command from their employers. Rather, givers and takers differ in their attitudes and actions toward other people. If you’re a taker, you help others strategically, when the benefits to you outweigh the personal costs. If you’re a giver, you might use a different cost-benefit analysis: you help whenever the benefits to others exceed the personal costs. Alternatively, you might not think about the personal costs at all, helping others without expecting anything in return. If you’re a giver at work, you simply strive to be generous in sharing your time, energy, knowledge, skills, ideas, and connections with other people who can benefit from them.

It’s tempting to reserve the giver label for larger-than-life heroes such as Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi, but being a giver doesn’t require extraordinary acts of sacrifice. It just involves a focus on acting in the interests of others, such as by giving help, providing mentoring, sharing credit, or making connections for others. Outside the workplace, this type of behavior is quite common. According to research led by Yale psychologist Margaret Clark, most people act like givers in close relationships. In marriages and friendships, we contribute whenever we can without keeping score.

But in the workplace, give and take becomes more complicated. Professionally, few of us act purely like givers or takers, adopting a third style instead. We become matchers, striving to preserve an equal balance of giving and getting. Matchers operate on the principle of fairness: when they help others, they protect themselves by seeking reciprocity. If you’re a matcher, you believe in tit for tat, and your relationships are governed by even exchanges of favors.

Giving, taking, and matching are three fundamental styles of social interaction, but the lines between them aren’t hard and fast. You might find that you shift from one reciprocity style to another as you travel across different work roles and relationships. It wouldn’t be surprising if you act like 3a taker when negotiating your salary, a giver when mentoring someone with less experience than you, and a matcher when sharing expertise with a colleague. But evidence shows that at work, the vast majority of people develop a primary reciprocity style, which captures how they approach most of the people most of the time. And this primary style can play as much of a role in our success as hard work, talent, and luck.

In fact, the patterns of success based on reciprocity styles are remarkably clear. If I asked you to guess who’s the most likely to end up at the bottom of the success ladder, what would you say—takers, givers, or matchers? Professionally, all three reciprocity styles have their own benefits and drawbacks. But there’s one style that proves more costly than the other two. Based on David Hornik’s story, you might predict that givers achieve the worst results—and you’d be right. Research demonstrates that givers sink to the bottom of the success ladder. Across a wide range of important occupations, givers are at a disadvantage: they make others better off but sacrifice their own success in the process.

In the world of engineering, the least productive and effective engineers are givers. In one study, when more than 160 professional engineers in California rated one another on help given and received, the least successful engineers were those who gave more than they received. These givers had the worst objective scores in their firm for the number of tasks, technical reports, and drawings completed—not to mention errors made, deadlines missed, and money wasted. Going out of their way to help others prevented them from getting their own work done.

The same pattern emerges in medical school. In a study of more than six hundred medical students in Belgium, the students with the lowest grades had unusually high scores on giver statements like “I love to help others” and “I anticipate the needs of others.” The givers went out of their way to help their peers study, sharing what they already knew at the expense of filling gaps in their own knowledge, and it gave their peers a leg up at test time. Salespeople are no different. In a study I led of salespeople in North Carolina, compared with takers and matchers, givers brought in two and a half times less annual sales revenue. They were so concerned about what was best for their customers that they weren’t willing to sell aggressively. Across occupations, it appears that givers are just too caring, too trusting, and too willing to sacrifice their own interests for the benefit of others. There’s even evidence that compared with takers, on average, givers earn 14 percent less money, have twice the risk of becoming victims of crimes, and are judged as 22 percent less powerful and dominant. So if givers are most likely to land at the bottom of the success ladder, who’s at the top—takers or matchers?

Neither. When I took another look at the data, I discovered a surprising pattern: It’s the givers again.

As we’ve seen, the engineers with the lowest productivity are mostly givers. But when we look at the engineers with the highest productivity, the evidence shows that they’re givers too. The California engineers with the best objective scores for quantity and quality of results are those who consistently give more to their colleagues than they get. The worst performers and the best performers are givers; takers and matchers are more likely to land in the middle.

This pattern holds up across the board. The Belgian medical students with the lowest grades have unusually high giver scores, but so do the students with the highest grades. Over the course of medical school, being a giver accounts for 11 percent higher grades. Even in sales, I found that the least productive salespeople had 25 percent higher giver scores than average performers—but so did the most productive salespeople. The top performers were givers, and they averaged 50 percent more annual revenue than the takers and matchers. Givers dominate the bottom and the top of the success ladder. Across occupations, if you examine the link between reciprocity styles and success, the givers are more likely to become champs—not only chumps.

Guess which one David Hornik turns out to be?



After Danny Shader signed with the other investor, he had a gnawing feeling. “We just closed a big round. We should be celebrating. Why am I not happier? I was excited about my investor, who’s exceptionally bright and talented, but I was missing the opportunity to work with Hornik.” Shader wanted to find a way to engage Hornik, but there was a catch. To involve him, Shader and his lead investor would have to sell more of the company, diluting their ownership.

Shader decided it was worth the cost to him personally. Before the financing closed, he invited Hornik to invest in his company. Hornik accepted the offer and made an investment, earning some ownership of the company. He began coming to board meetings, and Shader was impressed with Hornik’s ability to push him to consider new directions. “I got to see the other side of him,” Shader says. “It had just been overshadowed by how affable he is.” Thanks in part to Hornik’s advice, Shader’s start-up has taken off. It’s called PayNearMe, and it enables Americans who don’t have a bank account or a credit card to make online purchases with a barcode or a card, and then pay cash for them at participating establishments. Shader landed major partnerships with 7-Eleven and Greyhound to provide these services, and in the first year and a half since launching, PayNearMe has been growing at more than 30 percent per month. As an investor, Hornik has a small share in this growth.

Hornik has also added Shader to his list of references, which is probably even more valuable than the deal itself. When entrepreneurs call to ask about Hornik, Shader tells them, “You may be thinking he’s just a nice guy, but he’s a lot more than that. He’s phenomenal: super-hardworking and very courageous. He can be both challenging and supportive at the same time. And he’s incredibly responsive, which is one of the best characteristics you can have in an investor. He’ll get back to you any hour—day or night—quickly, on anything that matters.”

The payoff for Hornik was not limited to this single deal on PayNearMe. After seeing Hornik in action, Shader came to admire Hornik’s commitment to acting in the best interests of entrepreneurs, and he began to set Hornik up with other investment opportunities. In one case, after meeting the CEO of a company called Rocket Lawyer, Shader recommended Hornik as an investor. Although the CEO already had a term sheet from another investor, Hornik ended up winning the investment.

Although he recognizes the downsides, David Hornik believes that operating like a giver has been a driving force behind his success in venture capital. Hornik estimates that when most venture capitalists offer term sheets to entrepreneurs, they have a signing rate near 50 percent: “If you get half of the deals you offer, you’re doing pretty well.” Yet in eleven years as a venture capitalist, Hornik has offered twenty-eight term sheets to entrepreneurs, and twenty-five have accepted. Shader is one of just three people who have ever turned down an investment from Hornik. The other 89 percent of the time entrepreneurs have taken Hornik’s money. Thanks to his funding and expert advice, these entrepreneurs have gone on to build a number of successful start-ups—one was valued at more than $3 billion on its first day of trading in 2012, and others have been acquired by Google, Oracle, Ticketmaster, and Monster.

Hornik’s hard work and talent, not to mention his luck at being on the right sideline at his daughter’s soccer game, played a big part in lining up the deal with Danny Shader. But it was his reciprocity style that ended up winning the day for him. Even better, he wasn’t the only winner. Shader won too, as did the companies to which Shader later recommended Hornik. By operating as a giver, Hornik created value for himself while maximizing opportunities for value to flow outward for the benefit of others.

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Top reviews from the United States

Reid McCormick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Nice guys eventually finish first
Reviewed in the United States on April 10, 2017
Nice guys finish last. I have believed in this cliché my entire life. I could probably think of at least a dozen examples in my life where I saw a self-centered person hired, promoted, or in some way rewarded while I (or someone I know) is ignored, passed by, or... See more
Nice guys finish last.

I have believed in this cliché my entire life. I could probably think of at least a dozen examples in my life where I saw a self-centered person hired, promoted, or in some way rewarded while I (or someone I know) is ignored, passed by, or even punished. In those moments, it can be completely debilitating. That’s why the “nice guys finish last” cliché is so powerful. It feels so true.

However, there’s a difference between something feeling true and something being true.

In Adam Grant’s Give and Take, he identifies three types of people: givers, matchers, and takers. Givers are the selfless ones. Matchers are the quid pro quo group, and takers are the selfish ones. Conventional wisdom tells us takers get ahead, but in Grant’s research, givers rise to the top more frequently.

As I read this book I was kind of in disbelief the whole time, but page after page, Grant hit me with more evidence. I definitely think of myself as a giver (though I know I’m not perfect, I’m sure I have regretfully done some matching and taking in my life) and if you look at my life right now I don’t think anyone would identify me as losing. Perhaps then I am evidence that over time givers rise to the tops as takers are exposed and matchers ignored.

This book is a case for giving: who gives, how to give, and where it takes us. There is one caveat to all this: it has to be authentic. Giving to get ahead is matching, not giving. People can see right through that.

I feared this book would be a “cover spoiler” which I define as a book where the title or cover gives you all the information you really need and the entire book just repeats itself over and over again 200+ pages, but this book is full of wisdom and insights. I think this book is a great investment for leaders young and old.

Here’s a great excerpt from the end of the book that wraps it up neatly: “We spend the majority of our waking hours at work. This means that what we do at work becomes a fundamental part of who we are. If we reserve giver values for our personal lives, what will be missing in our professional lives?”
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leny bob
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Needs edits and refactoring.
Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2019
The book just keeps going. The author tells sequences of tedious rambling stories. And they get worse because he segues from one story (without making a point) to another and segues again to a third story. In order to instill a point narratives work better... See more
The book just keeps going.
The author tells sequences of tedious rambling stories. And they get worse because he segues from one story (without making a point) to another and segues again to a third story.

In order to instill a point narratives work better than abstractions because they cause the reader to simplify the input in their own world view and words. However ive read 130 pages and he hasnt made a point.

"You might think givers are more attached to investments than takers, but that isn''t right" okay, well you still haven''t explained how to identify dispositions like giving, taking, or matching in the lab. So three undefined categories might intuitively suggest something empirically falsified. But it doesn''t matter because the concrete terms being referenced aren''t explained.

Early on it is explained that giving, matching, and taking are game strategies, but that is defeated by saying "no one is one". And that needs to be extended into non game scenarios. What indicates one role or another?

What premise is there for model legitimacy? Do givers have more mirror neuron firing? Do takers have more serotonin?

The problem is that these stories dont lead to any medically useful premise. Because the historical stories are post hoc prescriptions that actions confer character, but without the timely comment offering meaning.

It boils down to a morality prescription under a new word, nothing more.
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Ian Mann
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Which one best describes you in business
Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2017
“Givers”, “Takers”, and “Matchers” are three fundamental styles of interacting with others. “Takers” use other people solely for their own gain. “Givers” focus on acting in the interests of others, even when the benefits to others exceed the cost to themselves. “Matchers”... See more
“Givers”, “Takers”, and “Matchers” are three fundamental styles of interacting with others. “Takers” use other people solely for their own gain. “Givers” focus on acting in the interests of others, even when the benefits to others exceed the cost to themselves. “Matchers” operate on the principle of fairness by seeking reciprocity.
Which one best describes you in business?
Of course, in marriage and friendships, we contribute whenever we can without keeping score. We also shift from one style of behaviour to another, across different work roles and relationships. However, we all have a primary style and it has been shown to play as much of a role in our work success as hard work, talent, and luck.
Which style of relating is most likely to end up at the bottom of the success ladder, and which style on top? Pause here for a moment and reflect on your personal experience.
Research demonstrates that givers sink to the bottom of the success ladder - they make others better off, but sacrifice their own success. In a study of more than 160 engineers in California the least successful engineers were those who gave more than they received. A study of more than 600 medical students in Belgium, showed the lowest grades going to those described as givers. Salespeople were no different, with givers generating 2 ½ times less in annual sales.
“On average, givers earn 14% less money, have twice the risk of becoming victims of crimes, and are judged as 22 % less powerful and dominant,” reports author Professor Adam Grant, the youngest full professor of the Wharton School of Business.
If the givers are at the bottom of the success ladder, who then is at the top—takers or matchers?
The data reveals a surprising pattern – the givers again! “This pattern holds up across the board,” Grant reports. “The top performers were givers, and they averaged 50 percent more annual revenue than the takers and matchers.” It was only at the start of medical school that givers underperformed. They increased their scores each year and by the sixth year, the givers earned substantially higher grades than their peers. When the givers became doctors, they climbed still further ahead. And this pattern holds true across occupations.
David Hornik, a venture capitalist, is admired for his commitment to acting in the best interests of entrepreneurs. When he gives an entrepreneur a term sheet - a bullet-point document outlining the material terms and conditions of a business agreement - he also suggests that they shop around to ensure they get the best deal for themselves. Other investors, and if it is a promising deal there are always others, give entrepreneurs a tight deadline to respond to their offer in order to prevent shopping around.
The best venture capitalists have an acceptance rate of nearly 50% of the term sheets they offer. In the 11 years as a venture capitalist, Hornik has offered 28 term sheets and twenty-five have accepted.
“In this book, I want to persuade you that we underestimate the success of givers like David Hornik,” Grant asserts.
Giving can be more powerful and less dangerous than most would believe. “Givers reverse the popular plan of succeeding first and giving back later, raising the possibility that those who give first are often best positioned for success later,” Adam explains. The venture capitalist Randy Komisar remarks, “It’s easier to win if everybody wants you to win… (If) you don’t make enemies out there, it’s easier to succeed.”
Success is less about raw talent or aptitude, and more about the strategies givers use. Givers are not necessarily nice, and they’re not necessarily altruistic.
In a purely win-lose interaction, giving rarely pays. Most of life is not win-lose. People who choose giving as their primary reciprocity style end up reaping rewards. One reason why givers take time to succeed, is that it takes time for givers to build goodwill and trust, and establish reputations and relationships that enhance their success.
“Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon,” says Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels. Today, speed is making the long-run shorter, and technology is amplifying the advantages of being a giver. In the past, most people worked in independent jobs that rarely required collaboration, so it was fairly inefficient to be a giver. Today, more than 80 percent of Americans work in service jobs where giving is not a choice, but a business necessity.
Steve Jones, the former CEO of one of the largest banks in Australia, commissioned a study of successful financial advisers. It was not financial expertise or effort that made for success, it “was whether a financial adviser had the client’s best interests at heart, above the company’s and even his own.”
All this needs to be calibrated by observation, that too many givers become pushovers and doormats, and fail to advance their own interests. What differentiates successful givers from failed givers is the degree to which the givers expressed two key motivations: self-interest and other-interest. Self-interest involves pursuing power and achievement, and other-interest focuses on being generous and helpful.
This is well illustrated by a study of “Caring Canadian” award winners. The award is made by the Governor General of Canada to honour volunteers. In their life stories, these highly successful givers mentioned a quest for power and achievement almost twice as often as the comparison group. They also had roughly 20% more objectives related to gaining influence, earning recognition, and attaining individual excellence.
Takers score high in self-interest and low in other-interest and selfless givers score high on other-interest and low on self-interest. Selfless giving is a form of pathological altruism, an unhealthy focus on others to the detriment of one’s own needs.
“If takers are selfish and failed givers are selfless, successful givers are “otherish”: they care about benefiting others, but they also have ambitious goals for advancing their own interests,” Grant concludes.
Much food for thought.

Readability Light --+-- Serious
Insights High +---- Low
Practical High --+--Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy and is the author of
Strategy that Works
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Greg
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A good message but takes way too long to get there
Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2019
Overall I like the topic and what the author is saying about being a Giver and how that can lead to success. The constant naming dropping and tangents made it a boring book to get through. The author goes into too many side stories that eventually circle back to the... See more
Overall I like the topic and what the author is saying about being a Giver and how that can lead to success. The constant naming dropping and tangents made it a boring book to get through. The author goes into too many side stories that eventually circle back to the original point, but it isn''t needed. He could have easily gotten to the point and made his point in half the time and pages. Worth a read but be ready for a slow book.

Also, I have an issue with the title as the book is really about how is it a revolutionary approach to success yet he talks about how it can date back to President Lincoln days. It covers Givers, Takers, and Matchers, so really it should be called Givers, Takers, and Matchers: How to not burn bridges and be successful!
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J. Parker
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Can you succeed as a giver... if you''re not a workaholic?
Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2020
The author gives many giver examples throughout the book, but all those impressive people had some other things in common. Among them, one is that the star givers are also all severe workaholics. As he admits in the book, being a giver is a high-risk strategy that will only... See more
The author gives many giver examples throughout the book, but all those impressive people had some other things in common. Among them, one is that the star givers are also all severe workaholics. As he admits in the book, being a giver is a high-risk strategy that will only likely pay off given a long period of time in the same field. When you''re a workaholic you can naturally go above and beyond the low-risk work and its more tangible and immediate benefits.

The giver category is bisected into those in the very top and the very bottom, and the author''s explanation is that the ones at the top are "otherish", with high ambition for themselves as well as others. Well... industriousness (a character trait that predicts work ethic; a sub-trait of Conscientiousness in the Big Five Model) also translates into ambition. What this implies for me is that if you''re a workaholic and is talented, don''t keep it all to yourself and spread your talent around. It''ll pay off in the long run.

On the flip side, for the majority of us that aren''t willing to work 90 hours per week and have top 0.01% talent in a specific field, being a matcher may actually be a solid strategy of doing well in the world. It simply means we''re putting our limited energy and resources in people and things that have the highest chance of success. Unless the data the author presents is controlled for industriousness, I think his main point is somewhat flawed.
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Wally Bock
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
How to succeed by being a giver who does it right
Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2018
In the opening pages of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, Adam Grant says: “Every time we interact with another person at work, we have a choice to make: do we try to claim as much value as we can, or contribute value without worrying about... See more
In the opening pages of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, Adam Grant says:

“Every time we interact with another person at work, we have a choice to make: do we try to claim as much value as we can, or contribute value without worrying about what we receive in return?”

Then Grant defines three characteristic ways of dealing with that choice. “Takers” try to get as much value as they can. They want to come out on top. They want to win. “Givers” are their polar opposite. Givers try to give as much as they can without worrying about what they get back.

According to Grant, both of those styles are rare and at opposite ends of a continuum. In the middle are what he calls “Matchers.” Matchers worry about a fair exchange. They’re willing to help others, but they also try to protect themselves, and many of their transactions come out even. Which type is most likely to succeed? Here’s Grant:

“Across occupations, it appears that givers are just too caring, too trusting, and too willing to sacrifice their own interests for the benefit of others. There’s even evidence that compared with takers, on average, givers earn 14 percent less money, have twice the risk of becoming victims of crimes, and are judged as 22 percent less powerful and dominant.”

Wow. I’ve always thought of myself as a giver. My instinct is to say “Yes” when somebody asks me for something, without worrying too much about what’s in it for me. In fact, one of the hardest things I had to learn during my lifetime was that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to say “No” a lot more. I’ve been taken advantage of many times in my life because of that giving nature. I figured that was okay, though, because I couldn’t see myself really acting like either a taker or a matcher.

Grant’s statement made me stop and think. The bottom of the pile? I had to stop reading for a while and process what I read. It took a while and a bunch of soul searching, but I finally realized that I was okay with that. If that had to be the cost, then that was the cost. Besides, I thought I’d done pretty well in my life. When I returned to the book, here’s the next thing I read.

“So if givers are most likely to land at the bottom of the success ladder, who’s at the top—takers or matchers? Neither. When I took another look at the data, I discovered a surprising pattern: It’s the givers again.”

When Grant outlined the things about the differences between the givers at the top and bottom of the career achievement heap, they matched up well with my life experience. One of the neat things about being 72 is that you’ve got a lot to look back on, and what I realized was that my giver behavior was very different today than it was 50 years ago.

As I went through the book, I discovered that most of the strategies that Grant talks about to make givers more successful and productive were things that I had learned over my lifetime. It took longer that way. Plus, learning from experience is much more painful than learning from reading. But what’s in Give and Take matches up with my life experience and is supported by an awful lot of evidence.

I will admit, that as a writing coach, I wanted to applaud Grant for the way he handled that revelation. It was an absolutely masterful bit of writing.

Masterful writing’s characteristic of Adam Grant’s books and Give and Take is no exception. He tells you what you’ll find in the different chapters, and then supports his points with both story/examples and research. The examples are good, and the research is solid and wide-ranging.

Whether you decide to change your behavior and become more of a giver or not, you’ll still learn a lot from this book. It’s a good read with good lessons. Grant summarizes many of those lessons in a final chapter called “Actions for Impact.” That chapter has 10 suggestions for specific things that you can do based on what you’ve learned in the book. It is a solid, practical chapter, and gives you a way to experiment with some ideas you might have gotten in the earlier pages.

In A Nutshell

In Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, Adam Grant reveals that a life strategy of being a giver as opposed to a taker or a matcher can work for you, but only if you do it in a sensible and intentional way. The book is filled with great examples and the points are supported with research.
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Frederik Van Lierde
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The mising link to your success? At the same time a confession and a sorry in thisreview - Must read
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2017
Good guys Good finish last, right, certainly in business. Don’t we all want to win when we have a negotiation? Don’t we all know some colleagues around us how openly show their success and you know you helped them out but for some reason, they forgot t mention you?... See more
Good guys Good finish last, right, certainly in business. Don’t we all want to win when we have a negotiation? Don’t we all know some colleagues around us how openly show their success and you know you helped them out but for some reason, they forgot t mention you?
Don’t we all want the career move, faster than our network?

When I was younger I was certainly one of them.
When I started my career I was that kind of person that had 1 goal in my mind, go to the top as fast as possible whatever it takes.

Yes, I was a taker and you know what, It worked…. until a certain point and I fell down… The saying was “fail, stand-up, try again fail…. “ Well, that was my life.
I felt something was not right. Why did I fail? I was giving a lot of my time, money and still, I got nothing back Maybe it was because I was a taker, I gave in a very selfish way?

Sorry to some people along my way, they know who you are!

One day, my life became very dark, due to 2 huge investments that went wrong, at the same time. I couldn’t continue my life the same way, the system didn’t work.
Someone told me “It’ better to give before you receive” and “give more than you receive”. I was ready to test out anything in a serious way

It worked, my life became better, I became more successful and I gave more. But as a Fact person, it didn’t look logic? Giving (with no immediate return) was more successful than just thinking of my goals and just go for it. How come?

Finally, I found this book, oh dear god, how come I didn’t found you earlier, It would have saved me from many sleepless nights

This book not only shows with research why people who give more, in a natural way, reach higher success than takers and matchers, It gives also why givers are the “biggest loosers” and “ the “biggest winners” and how you can grow to become successful as a giver.

This book gave me an insight into my network, why some people have huge success, career and money wise (and I was thinking, I can do that too) and who of my connections are takers and I should review the way I give to them

“This book demonstrates that success doesn’t have to come at someone’s else expense. “
This book is one of the missing links in reaching my goals in a much better way and I’m sure this book will open the mind of many others like entrepreneurs and people in big corporations (even CEO’s should read this book, as the book is not only explanational, it gives also ideas to incorporated to have an impact on a daily basis

Thank you, Mr Adam M Grant , for sharing your book with the world.

Book on Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success
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Aaron Silverman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Healthy Therapy of Goodness
Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2017
I''m a social worker and this book gives me more power to exercise my helping hand and makes me optimistic about humanity. I loved reading how good guys consistently find themselves securing positions and income by understanding the mechanics of the power of social... See more
I''m a social worker and this book gives me more power to exercise my helping hand and makes me optimistic about humanity. I loved reading how good guys consistently find themselves securing positions and income by understanding the mechanics of the power of social goodness. The thesis is consistently referenced and presented in a sophisticated yet (almost entirely) understandable and down-to-earth language. With all the case studies Grant brings, in areas that are only vaguely known to me, but yet that I find interest in, the book flows. (There''s only a chapter or so towards the middle that I found hard to get through).

As well, Grant''s writing shows he knows how people''s mind/heart connection work- with small cliff hangers that he resolves in one paragraph, and sometimes several pages, it''s a surprisingly exciting read.

I would give this book to any college kid and tell them not to make any plans before reading it cover to cover. It will improve any willing recipient''s social and business choices many fold.
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Top reviews from other countries

Rebecca
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An interesting topic, but I really struggled with the examples
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 25, 2021
I would never usually read books on this topic, but “Give and Take” by Adam Grant was chosen as the non-fiction book of the month for the Women’s Literary Collective so I thought I’d give it a try. Grant’s idea is that, at work, most people operate as either takers,...See more
I would never usually read books on this topic, but “Give and Take” by Adam Grant was chosen as the non-fiction book of the month for the Women’s Literary Collective so I thought I’d give it a try. Grant’s idea is that, at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Takers want to get as much possible out of another person, matchers want to give and take in equal measure and givers don’t expect anything for their contribution. If you’re interested, you can take a quick quiz online to see which category you fall into: Give and Take Quiz “As Samuel Johnson purportedly wrote, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” To explain these concepts, Grant uses a series of very detailed examples. As the majority of these examples are North American, I found the majority of them really hard to relate to. I’m not into American politics or sports and I don’t have a great interest in American business culture either (I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a full episode of The Simpsons!). I feel that the examples were much longer and much more detailed that necessary and that meant that by the time I got to the actual point, I wasn’t that interested. Something that we discussed at the book club was that, as well as being American, the majority of these examples are from privileged white heterosexual males. This book could have been a great opportunity to explore a whole range of examples and backgrounds, so it’s a disappointment that Grant chose not to. When I reached the end of the book, there was a section which listed ‘Actions for Impact’, things you can do to apply the principles of the book to your life and work. Looking through the list, I noticed that my workplace already has the vast majority of these things in place, and I wonder if this could be partly why I couldn’t connect with the book so much. I’m thinking that perhaps I am already accustomed to some of these ways of working in my day to day life and therefore couldn’t find a way to connect. I think the ideas in this book are good and it’s interesting to know that givers are ultimately more successful than takers, but I did find the book overall to be quite tedious and I probably wouldn’t recommend it for this reason. I can’t help but feel that the content of this book would have been better digested in a shorter format, such as an article or podcast. Overall rating: Whilst I don’t think it’s revolutionary, I found the topic of “Give and Take” to be quite interesting and it sparked some really great discussion. The overall style wasn’t to my tastes though and I’d have preferred not to have had the lengthy, detailed examples that dragged this book out for me. I wouldn’t recommend it as a book, but won’t be ruling out the work of Adam Grant going forward, because I think the message is good, it’s the format that didn’t quite work – 2 stars for the book.
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William Jordan
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
in praise of givers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 29, 2013
Adam Grant divides workers into givers, takers and matchers - and his research suggests that givers are in some cases the most effective workers and in other cases the least effective. The book is full of stories of successful givers and tips on how to become a successful...See more
Adam Grant divides workers into givers, takers and matchers - and his research suggests that givers are in some cases the most effective workers and in other cases the least effective. The book is full of stories of successful givers and tips on how to become a successful giver: look to sort out other people''s problems and it will pay off (sometimes serendipitously), you will be better at HR decisions (you''re not so determined to be right; you want what''s best for other people and the organisation), you can be good at influencing (don''t do this through a power play but through modesty - stammering can be helpful), and you can keep from burn-out through making sure you see the direct results of your giving and through ''chunking'' it so it happens in big bursts and not through a drip feed of good actions. As to why some givers end up at the bottom of the heap, that''s because they are ''selfless'' rather than ''otherish'' givers - that''s to say, they don''t set any boundaries and aren''t good at asking for help for themselves. It''s amazing just what people will do to help you - or others - if you ask them. And they''ll be likely to go on helping once they start... So far so good - and I certainly enjoyed reading this - it''s persuasive and surprising. If I felt less than 100% convinced, though, that''s partly because Grant has so little to say about ''takers'' (and yet he acknowledges they sometimes make the world go round - Michael Jordan is one example he quotes) - and on this, there are other books (Maccoby''s book on narcissistic leaders, which points to the highs and lows of the taker in working life). It''s also because he doesn''t really go into what makes people ''takers'' or ''givers'' in the first place - is it a given or does it depend on what you learn in your family as you grow up about ''how we behave round here and what gets us what we want in this environment''?...Perhaps there will be a sequel..
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Sansa
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A useful book for those wanting to think about how they should live their lives
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 27, 2016
If I never hear the name Adam Rifkin again I think it''ll be too soon, or the words giver and taker. Basically some words/people were over used. But overall I really enjoyed this book and felt like I got a lot out of it. It did make me feel guilty though as I''m pretty sure...See more
If I never hear the name Adam Rifkin again I think it''ll be too soon, or the words giver and taker. Basically some words/people were over used. But overall I really enjoyed this book and felt like I got a lot out of it. It did make me feel guilty though as I''m pretty sure I''m a matcher and he left no real scope for them and didn''t really explain much about them. It had nice themes of history, psychology and kindness- overall I would recommend this book
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Christian L
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Brilliant, science-based framework on how to be successful while helping others
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 29, 2020
Adam Grant is a brilliant organisational psychologist and a thrilling writer. If you enjoy reading books that are based on scientific evidence, whose content actually applies to your life and are written in an easy to understand yet highly compelling way, this is for you. A...See more
Adam Grant is a brilliant organisational psychologist and a thrilling writer. If you enjoy reading books that are based on scientific evidence, whose content actually applies to your life and are written in an easy to understand yet highly compelling way, this is for you. A page-turner that will help you better understand how you relate to others and what you can do to be more successful. One of my favourite books of all time.
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Richard Nixon
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Give this your time and attention
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 4, 2014
Adam has a great way of synthesizing some commonly found behaviours into 3 1/2 styles. I say 1/2 because for Givers there are unproductive and self depreciating aspects of behaviours that mean Givers are considered door mats, and their qualities get obscured. The other...See more
Adam has a great way of synthesizing some commonly found behaviours into 3 1/2 styles. I say 1/2 because for Givers there are unproductive and self depreciating aspects of behaviours that mean Givers are considered door mats, and their qualities get obscured. The other styles Takers and Matchers likewise get some critical thinking about the short and long term impact this has upon the individuals, their network, career and the social climate and culture they create. There is also a view on the performance and value each style achieves for the individual and others. Adam looks at the Up and downside of each style using references to research to underpin his work. Adam also explores motivation resilience and meaningful outcomes are interlinked. There is too much to cover in the book for this review to mention. I normally rate a book on how much instant wisdom I can find by randomly opening a page and this book has it in spades. Why only 4 stars? There is a section in which Adam explores coaches, decision making, performance using a case study from professional basket ball which as a reader who is unfamiliar with the system left me distracted from the points being made. Fortunately this is mitigated by some good summaries, there are a few other instances like this in the book. I would say this book would add value to almost anyone, however if you are a manager, leader, have career aspirations or you are an educator this book really should be in your library. Not only is it a good read, Adam also presents you with a list of actionable content, links and references so you can take action or dig around in the references for more information. Also visit the website where there is more information including a self assessment inventory, do this before you read the book to avoid any bias. If you have a linkedin profile connect up with Adam to see other posts and content.
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