Give and Take - by Adam M. Grant


Give and Take - by Adam M. Grant

Read: 2021-12-04

Recommend: 5/10

Not impressed. I feel much of what Adam Grant said is common sense from Chinese culture.


Here are some text that I highlighted in the book:

  1. it turns out that successful givers are every bit as ambitious as takers and matchers. They simply have a different way of pursuing their goals.

  2. Research shows that people tend to envy successful takers and look for ways to knock them down a notch.

  3. “It’s easier to win if everybody wants you to win. If you don’t make enemies out there, it’s easier to succeed.”

  4. Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. —Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner

  5. By developing a strong network, people can gain invaluable access to knowledge, expertise, and influence.

  6. “It seems counterintuitive, but the more altruistic your attitude, the more benefits you will gain from the relationship,” writes LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. “If you set out to help others,” he explains, “you will rapidly reinforce your own reputation and expand your universe of possibilities.”

  7. In the animal kingdom, lekking refers to a ritual in which males show off their desirability as mates. When it’s time to breed, they gather in a common place and take their established positions. They put on extravagant displays to impress and court female audiences.

  8. Since takers tend to be self-absorbed, they’re more likely to use first-person singular pronouns like I, me, mine, my, and myself—versus first-person plural pronouns like we, us, our, ours, and ourselves.

  9. Another signal was compensation: the taker CEOs earned far more money than other senior executives in their companies.

  10. In other reports, there was a full-page photo of the CEO alone. Guess which one is the taker?

  11. two different ways to recognize takers. First, when we have access to reputational information, we can see how people have treated others in their networks. Second, when we have a chance to observe the actions and imprints of takers, we can look for signs of lekking. Self-glorifying images, self-absorbed conversations, and sizable pay gaps can send accurate, reliable signals that someone is a taker.

  12. On Rifkin’s LinkedIn page, his motto is “I want to improve the world, and I want to smell good while doing it.”

  13. The recipients reported significantly greater appreciation of the registry gifts than the unique gifts.

  14. When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be. —attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer, physicist, biologist, and artist

  15. Your husband, family, and friends love you because of the beautiful person you have made yourself—not because of a performance on an examination. Remember that . . . Focus on November. Concentrate on practice . . . I want what’s best for you. You WILL get through this thing, Marie. I write on my tests, “The primary purpose has already been served by your preparation for this exam” . . . Success doesn’t measure a human being, effort does.

  16. Once Inman developed a positive impression of players, was he too committed to teaching and developing them, so much that he invested in motivated players even if they lacked the requisite talent?

  17. Speak softly, but carry a big stick. —Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. president

  18. “I know what some of you are thinking right now: ‘What can I possibly learn from a professor who’s twelve years old?’” There was a split second of awkward silence, and I held my breath.

  19. Takers tend to worry that revealing weaknesses will compromise their dominance and authority. Givers are much more comfortable expressing vulnerability: they’re interested in helping others, not gaining power over them, so they’re not afraid of exposing chinks in their armor. By making themselves vulnerable, givers can actually build prestige.

  20. Out of curiosity, are you planning to vote in the next presidential election? By asking you that one question, I’ve just increased the odds that you will actually vote by 41 percent.

  21. Advice seeking is a form of powerless communication that combines expressing vulnerability, asking questions, and talking tentatively.


  23. Attaching a single patient’s photo to a CT exam increased diagnostic accuracy by 46 percent. And roughly 80 percent of the key diagnostic findings came only when the radiologists saw the patient’s photo.

  24. Building on this idea that seeing impact can reduce the burnout of givers and motivate others to give, some organizations have designed initiatives to connect employees to the impact of their products and services.

  25. Generous tit for tat is an otherish strategy. Whereas selfless givers make the mistake of trusting others all the time, otherish givers start out with trust as the default assumption, but they’re willing to adjust their reciprocity styles in exchanges with someone who appears to be a taker by action or reputation. Being otherish means that givers keep their own interests in the rearview mirror, taking care to trust but verify. When dealing with takers, shifting into matcher mode is a self-protective strategy. But one out of every three times, it may be wise to shift back into giver mode, granting so-called takers the opportunity to redeem themselves.

  26. This discrepancy vanished when the women negotiated on behalf of a friend.

  27. By thinking of himself as an agent representing his family, Sameer summoned the resolve to make an initial request for a higher salary and tuition reimbursement. This was an otherish strategy. On the one hand, he was doing what givers do naturally: advocating for other people’s interests. On the other hand, he intentionally advocated for his family, whose interests were closely aligned with his own.

  28. To explain why uncommon commonalities are so transformative, the psychologist Marilynn Brewer developed an influential theory. On the one hand, we want to fit in: we strive for connection, cohesiveness, community, belonging, inclusion, and affiliation with others. On the other hand, we want to stand out: we search for uniqueness, differentiation, and individuality. As we navigate the social world, these two motives are often in conflict. The more strongly we affiliate with a group, the greater our risk of losing our sense of uniqueness. The more we work to distinguish ourselves from others, the greater our risk of losing our sense of belongingness.