Adam Grant’s Give and Take

Lessons from the Book


People are of 3 kinds – givers, takers, and matchers. Givers are other-centric and focus on generating value for others. Takers are self-centric and want to corner value for themselves. Matchers will generate value for others if the recipient can help them out later.

🗣️Book in a line

Give without looking at what is in it for you today, you will get more tomorrow.

🚀 Lessons

  1. Be a giver. Don’t try to find out what is in it for you. Just give.
  2. Givers raise to the top or to the absolute bottom. Learn to avoid the latter.
  3. Pay it forward.
  4. Mistakes that givers make
    1. trust too easily
    2. Not screening for sincerity
  5. How to solve this problem
    1. Generous tit for tat (Adaptable Giver)
      1. Start by being a giver. If opponent is a taker, act as a taker for 2/3rds of the time your opponent takes.
        1. Trust is hard to build and easy to destroy, so you want to start out as a giver
      2. Niceness and other-centric(giver or self-centric) are not the same. You could be a nice taker and a rude giver.
    2. Assertiveness and the Advocacy Paradox
      1. Do not be uncomfortable asserting yourself directly
      2. If you can be a great advocate for someone else’s cause, why should you not be the best advocate of your own cause?
        1. This probably strengthens your arguments if you are arguing assuming that you are arguing for someone else but because of fairness or some other moral highground-ish reason
        2. Think of the negotiating you as the agent you for the player you.
          1. How can an agent giver not argue and get the best results for the player?
      3. Not being a pushover adds value to whoever is hiring you. This degree of assertiveness is not necessarily off-putting (It is upon you to find out where to draw the line of assertiveness though)
      4. Pushing Past Pushover
        1. Look at whether it is a zero sum game
        In General, avoid zero sum games.
      5. Create a culture of giving. It converts takers to givers.
  6. If it will take you under 5 minutes and will generate a lot of value for someone else, just do it.

👔About the Author of the Book

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist and a prof at Wharton.

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