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Give and Take’s Back-of-Book Description

A groundbreaking look at why our interactions with others hold the key to success, from the bestselling author of Originals

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today’s dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton’s highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom.

Praised by social scientists, business theorists, and corporate leaders, Give and Take opens up an approach to work, interactions, and productivity that is nothing short of revolutionary.

My Thoughts

We have a lot of catching up to do guys! Because I found out about this book when my boss at my new job mentioned he was reading it! And because I love my job and truly admire my boss, I decided I’d better give this book a shot.

I’ll tell you right now (although I didn’t tell my boss this part), it was very slow reading for me. To be fair, I did have a lot of personal stuff happening in my life, which ultimately slowed my reading pace. But I honestly didn’t find it as gripping as some other self-development books I’ve read. Although, that could just be me not relating to the analogies and real-world examples the author chose to use.

But lets back up.

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success is a non-fiction self/professional development book about the merits of being a giver versus a taker or a matcher. When people asked me what I was reading and I told them that sentence, they were like, “oh ok yeah. Just be a good person, huh?”

Sort of.

But there’s a little more to it than that.

Think about all the people you come into contact with; some of them are only thinking of themselves and what’s in it for them, some are generous to the extent that they’ll help you if you help them, and some are just kind and helpful while expecting nothing in return.

(Pardon my complete dumbing down and oversimplification of this) Those in that first category are takers, the second are matchers, and the third are givers.

A lot of people look at their actions within their careers as just a means to an end – a way to get ahead – and they naturally express themselves as takers. I’m sure a lot of selfish people think that taking care of themselves is just the easiest, most important way to succeed. But those people suck and are terrible to be around.

And of course, a whole lot of people are matchers. They do a favor and expect one in return. Or they only accept a favor if they think they can return one later. While this is much better behavior than a taker, it’s not always the most beneficial to the matcher or the people around them.

And then you have the real gems of society – the people who give freely and want those around them to be happy and successful for the simple joy of being around happy and successful people.

Give and Take talks about how adopting this giver mentality is good for you and the ways in which it will improve your professional life. Some of the ways are obvious like… people will like you – duh. And some of the ways are not so obvious – being generous opens you up to new relationships, or new experiences for learning, or invigorating emotions!

You may remember a post I did a while back about generosity and how volunteering your time can lead to meeting new people? If that idea resonated with you, then you’re gonna like this book.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, there are plenty of real-world examples of givers in their work – including investors, professional basketball players, and lawyers.

Favorite Quotes From Give and Take

“The greatest untapped source of motivation is a sense of service to others.”


“Advice seeking is a surprisingly effective strategy for exercising influence when we lack authority.”


“When people know how their work makes a difference, they feel energized to contribute more.”


“People are motivated to give to others when they identify as part of a common community.”


“Ideas can have profound effects even when they are false – when they are nothing more than ideology.”

In Conclusion

Give and Take gets 4 stars. It has loads of anecdotes and information that is applicable to your life – yes YOU – no matter what line of work you’re in.

If you think you have a tendency to fall into the taker or matcher category, this might help you look at things differently and perhaps change your strategy. If you’re already a giver but you sometimes feel burnt out – this has some tips and info to get you back in the game.

Or if you know a recent graduate who’s about to enter the real world career field – this might be a good book to gift them.


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