The name of the book we will learn from today is “Give and Take”, written by Adam Grant.
Adam Grant is an author and psychologist. Grant has authored three New York Times bestsellers: Give and Take, Originals, and Option B. He hosts the podcast work life, and his ted talk on original thinkers & givers, and takers have received more than 14 million views.
Give and take: A revolutionary approach to success by Adam Grant is an exciting perspective on the three different types of people in life; givers, takers, and matches. By identifying and assessing the other characteristics of each, Grant provides an exciting insight into who is more successful in life based on their approach. With real-life examples, grant offers plenty of helpful advice on navigating situations and getting the most out of them while contributing to others.
Chapter 1. Givers, Takers & Matchers
The author has identified three basic styles of social interaction: giving, taking, and matching. Takers like to get more than they give. They put their interests ahead of others’ needs and use reciprocity to their advantage. Takers believe we live in a competitive, dog-eat-dog world. Givers prefer to give more than they get, generously sharing their time, energy, knowledge, skills, ideas, and connections for others to benefit.
Most of us are matches aiming for a delicate balance between giving and taking. Matchers have high fairness standards: they help others authentically, but they also protect themselves by seeking reciprocity. “success depends heavily on how we approach our interactions with others. Whenever we interact with another person at work, we have a choice: do we try to claim as much value as possible or contribute value without worrying about what we receive in return?”
Chapter 2. Building Networks
Through solid networks, people have gained invaluable access to knowledge, expertise, and influence over the centuries.
Protecting your network: To safeguard the value of our network, we tend to keep away the takers, withholding our trust and help. But unfortunately, many takers have evolved into fake givers or matchers to access other people’s networks.
Takers are especially convincing around influential people – they charm and flatter their way up. As they gain more power, though, they start paying less attention to how they’re perceived by their peers, over time jeopardizing their relationships and reputation.
To recognize a taker in your network:
1. Access other networks to see how they have treated their peers.
2. Observe their actions & conversations for signs of self-glorification and self-absorption.
3. Use the power of the internet to track down reputational information through public databases, shared connections, and social network profiles – words and photos can reveal profound clues about us.
The main element of a robust, well-balanced network is reciprocity. To maintain a strong network built around the exchange, ask yourself:
1. Do I care about helping, or am I just trying to create a quid pro quo so I can later ask for a favour? If yes, then people on the receiving end might feel like they’re being manipulated.
2. Do I help based on the attitude of “I’ll do something for you if you do something for me”? Again, this will narrow your network only to connections with an immediate benefit at least as great as the benefit you’ve offered in exchange.
“Instead of trading value, aim to add value. You should be willing to do something that will take you five minutes or less for anybody.”
Chapter 3. Growing your network
Weak ties & acquaintances – weak ties are acquaintances we know casually. Surprisingly, people are significantly more likely to benefit from their weak ties than their strong ones because strong ties provide bonds; weak ties serve as bridges to new information; strong ties access the same social circles and opportunities as we do; weak ties open up access to a different network and original leads. Yet, although weak ties are the fastest route to new information, we sometimes feel uncomfortable asking for help because of the lack of mutual trust.
In other words, genuinely help people a lot, and if you need something in the future, don’t hesitate to ask for help directly. If someone generously helped us a while ago, we will naturally go out of our way to give back and reciprocate.
Dormant ties are people you used to know well or often see but with whom you have since fallen out of contact. Like the weak ties, dormant ties, while you were out of touch, have been exposed to new ideas, perspectives, and opportunities.
Since there is already some common ground, you will still feel trust when you reactivate a dormant tie through a short conversation.
Chapter 4. Recognizing the potential in others
There is immense value in surrounding ourselves with stars. In networking, givers succeed significantly by recognizing the potential in others. To explain why we need to understand that our beliefs create self-fulfilling prophecies.
For example, teachers’ beliefs that their students are bloomers beget high expectations for their success, resulting in supportive behaviours that boost the students’ confidence and enhance their learning and development.
However, takers tend to hold relatively low expectations for the potential of their peers and subordinates. On the other hand, matches are better equipped to inspire self-fulfilling prophecies. When people demonstrate high potential, they go out of their way to support, encourage, and develop them.
Givers don’t wait for signs of potential. Instead, they tend to be trusting and optimistic about other people’s intentions, inclined to see the potential in everyone. They view people as bloomers, investing much of their time encouraging and developing people to achieve this potential, even if these investments sometimes pay off.
We all use our influence skills whether we want to convince others to buy our products, accept our ideas, or invest in us. The best influence involves dominance (others see us as strong, powerful, and authoritative) and prestige (others respect and admire us). Takers are naturally only attracted to gaining dominance, striving to be superior to others, and extracting as much value as possible.
They exercise assertive communication by:
- Speaking forcefully
- Raising voices to assert authority
- Selling with conviction and pride
- Promoting their accomplishments
- Raising their eyebrows in challenge
- Displaying strength in dominant poses
- Expressing certainty to project confidence
- Commanding as much physical space as possible
The opposite style is called powerless communication, instinctively adopted by givers, who tend to:
- Speak less assertively
- Reveal their weaknesses
- Expressing plenty of doubt
- Rely heavily on advice from others
- Talk in ways that signal vulnerability
- Make use of disclaimers and hesitations
Surprisingly, the dominant style of takers only sometimes serves them well, while the type of givers proves effective in building prestige. Let’s see how this happens.
Chapter 5. Vulnerability
For takers, revealing weaknesses means compromising their dominance and authority. Conversely, givers build their prestige by making themselves vulnerable, with other signals establishing their competence.
Selling – Takers might be convincing and pithy with their selling skills. However, givers tend to ask questions out of natural interest in others, building trust and gaining more profound knowledge about their customers’ needs and how to sell them things they already value.
Persuading – Tentative talk – Takers use assertive communication, asserting and directing, pressuring subordinates, and ingratiating superiors. Givers tend to use tentative markers like “well,” “you know,” “kinda,” “maybe,” “this may be a bad idea, “but” “that’s a good idea, right?” Sending a clear message to the audience that they lack confidence and authority. However, this style ears plenty of prestige because it shows a willingness to take on the audience’s point of view into consideration.
Chapter 6. Becoming a successful giver
There are two types of givers: selfless, with high other-interest, and low self-interest. Unfortunately, they usually pay the price for it. Givers are willing to give more than they receive and have ambitious goals for advancing their interests.
To become a successful giver without wasting time on takers who extract value and move on, you need to be systematic in how you help others:
• Pay more attention to who is asking
• Pay attention to how they treat you
• Make a list of reasons to say no.
Tit for Tat – Selfless Givers always make the mistake of trusting others, while otherish givers use an excellent tit-for-tat strategy; they count as a default assumption but adjust their reciprocity level when someone appears to be a taker by action or reputation.
When dealing with takers, otherish givers shift into matcher mode as a self-protective strategy, but once out of every three times, they shift back into giver mode, granting so-called takers the opportunity for redemption.
Fitting in & Standing out – We constantly look for ways to fit in and stand out. A popular way to achieve optimal distinctiveness is to join a unique group. Being a part of a group with shared interests, identities, goals, values, skills, characteristics, or experiences gives us a sense of connection and belonging, satisfying our need to fit in.
A culture of direct requests – The vast majority of giving occurs in response to direct requests for help. In a group setting, people feel comfortable requesting because there’s little reason to be embarrassed.
Matchers are drawn in by empathy and a sense of fairness. Takers act like givers in a public setting because they’ll gain reputational benefits for being generous in sharing their knowledge, resources, and connections. Conversely, if they don’t contribute, they look stingy and selfish and won’t get much help with their requests.
Chapter 7. The definition of success
With a few adjustments, the orientation toward giving can enable people to rise to the top. Focus your attention and energy on making a difference in the lives of others, and success will follow as a by-product. Takers view success as attaining superior results; matches see success in balancing individual accomplishments with fairness to others.
Givers characterize success as individual achievements that positively impact others. “givers get to the top without cutting others down, finding ways of expanding the pie that benefit themselves and the people around them.”
In a business context, if success required benefiting others, takers and matches would be more inclined to find other ways to advance personal and collective interests simultaneously. However, by shifting in the giver direction at work, we will find our waking hours marked by tremendous success, richer meaning, and more lasting impact.
“Givers get to the top without cutting others down, finding ways of expanding the pie that benefit themselves and the people around them.”
- There are three basic styles of social interaction: giving, taking, and matching (aiming for a balance between giving and taking).
- Instead of trading value, aim to add value.
- Givers succeed significantly by recognizing the potential in others.
- Through vulnerability, asking questions, and talking tentatively, givers benefit from powerless communication to build prestige and influence.
- Successful givers are willing to give more than they receive and have ambitious goals for advancing their interests.
- Givers characterize success as individual achievements that positively impact others.
Give and Take Book Review
“Give and Take” by Adam Grant is a thought-provoking and insightful book that challenges conventional wisdom about success and the role of reciprocity in our personal and professional lives. Grant introduces three types of people – givers, takers, and matches – and explores how their approaches to giving and receiving help hinder their achievements.
What sets this book apart is the extensive research and real-life examples that Grant uses to support his arguments. He presents a compelling case for the power of generosity and the importance of focusing on others’ needs. As a reader, I reevaluated my approach to interactions and relationships, inspired to cultivate a more giving mindset.
One of the most memorable parts of the book is the exploration of the “five-minute favor,” a concept that encourages us to help others in small, manageable ways, ultimately creating a positive ripple effect. This idea has stuck with me and influenced my daily actions.
In conclusion, “Give and Take” is an engaging and transformative read that will inspire you to rethink your approach to success and the impact of your actions on others. It’s a must-read for anyone looking to create a more fulfilling and meaningful life, personally and professionally.