Book: “Give and Take”

Give and Take“Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success” by Adam Grant

  • “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.”
  • “In the work-place, 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.”
  • “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 benefit to the others exceed the personal costs.”
  • “matchers, striving to preserve an equal balance of giving and getting”
  • “the engineers with the lowest productivity are mostly givers. But when we look at the engineers with the highest productivity, the evidence shows they’re givers too.”
  • “Let me be clear that givers, takers, and matches all can–and do–achieve success. But there’s something distinctive that happens when givers succeed: it spreads and cascades. When takers win, there’s usually someone else who loses.”
  • “According to Kearns Goodwin, Lincoln’s ‘success in dealing with the strong egos of the men in his cabinet suggests that in the hands of a truly great politician the qualities we generally associate wit decency and morality–kindness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, and empathy–can also be impressive political resources.”
  • “As chip conley, the renowned entrepreneur who founded Joie e Vivre Hotels, explains. ‘Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon.”
  • “Steve Jones, the award-winning former CEO of one of the largest banks in Australia, wanted to know what mae financial advisers successful. His team studied key factors such as financial expertise and effort. But ‘the single most influential factor,’ Jones told me, ‘was whether a financial adviser had the client’s best interest at heart, above the company’s and even his own. It was one of my three top priorities to get that value installed, and demonstrate that it’s in everybody’s best interest to treat clients that way.'”
  • “The key, he believes, was learning to harness the benefits of giving while minimizing the costs.”
  • “a faker: a taker in disguise.”
  • “networks come with three major advantages: private information, diverse skills, and power. By developing a strong network, people can gain invaluable access to knowledge, expertise, and influence. Extensive research demonstrates that people with rich networks achieve higher performance ratings, get promoted faster and earn more money.”
  • ‘”It seems counterintuitive, but the more altruistic your attitude, the more benefits you will gain from the relationship’, writes Linked 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.'”
  • “As Samuel Johnson purportedly wrote, ‘The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”
  • “Takers may rise by kissing up, but they often fall by kicking down.”
  • “As Samuel Johnson purportedly wrote, ‘The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.'”
  • “As Wayne Baker, a University of Michigan sociologist and networking expert, explains, ‘If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.'”
  • How to spot a taker: “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.”
  • “As networking guru Keith Ferrazzi summarizes in Never Eat Alone, ‘It’s better to give before you receive.'”
  • “In the words of Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, ‘I’ll do this for you without expecting anything specific back from you, in the confident expectation that someone else will do something for me down the road.’”
  • “If your interactions are ruled by generosity, your rewards will follow suit.”
  • “ Jeff Ashby, a NASA space shuttle commander who has flown more than four hundred orbits around Earth, says that ‘expedition behavior—being selfless, generous, and putting the team ahead of yourself—is what helps us succeed in space more than anything else.’ ”
  • “In one study, University of Minnesota researchers Eugene Kim and Theresa Glomb found that highly talented people tend to make others jealous, placing themselves at risk of being disliked, resented, ostracized, and undermined. But if these talented people are also givers, they no longer have a target on their backs. Instead, givers are appreciated for their contributions to the group.”
  • “responsibility bias: exaggerating our own contributions relative to others’ inputs.”
  • “This responsibility bias is a major source of failed collaborations. Professional relationships disintegrate when entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, and executives feel that their partners are not giving them the credit they deserve, or doing their fair share.”
  • “psychological safety—the belief that you can take a risk without being penalized or punished.”
  • “in the type of psychologically safe environment that Meyer helped create, people learn and innovate more.”
  • “perspective gap: when we’re not experiencing a psychologically or physically intense state, we dramatically underestimate how much it will affect us. ”
  • “In collaborations, takers rarely cross this perspective gap. They’re so focused on their own viewpoints that they never end up seeing how others are reacting to their ideas and feedback.”
  • “givers are motivated to benefit others, so they find ways to put themselves in other people’s shoes.”
  • “Many experiments have replicated these effects, showing that teacher expectations are especially important for improving the grades and intelligence test scores of low-achieving students and members of stigmatized minority groups.”
  • Management researcher Brian McNatt “encourages managers to ‘recognize the possible power and influence in (a) having a genuine interest and belief in the potential of their employees . . . and (b) engaging in actions that support others and communicate that belief . . . increasing others’ motivation and effort and helping them achieve that potential.”
  • “By recognizing that anyone can be a bloomer, givers focus their attention on motivation.”
  • “grit: having passion and perseverance toward long-term goals.” (see also this TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth)
  • “Of course, natural talent also matters, but once you have a pool of candidates above the threshold of necessary potential, grit is a major factor that predicts how close they get to achieving their potential.”
  • “One of the keys to cultivating grit is making the task at hand more interesting and motivating.”
  • escalation of commitment: “once people make an initial investment of time, energy, or resources, when it goes sour, they’re at risk for increasing their investment. ”
  • Factors leads to escalation of commitment: “One is anticipated regret: will I be sorry that I didn’t give this another chance? The second is project completion: if I keep investing, I can finish the project. But the single most powerful factor is ego threat: if I don’t keep investing, I’ll look and feel like a fool. In response to ego threat, people invest more, hoping to turn the project into a success so they can prove to others—and themselves—that they were right all along.”
  • “When people make decisions in a self-focused state, they’re more likely to be biased by ego threat and often agonize over trying to find a choice that’s ideal in all possible dimensions. When people focus on others, as givers do naturally, they’re less likely to worry about egos and miniscule details; they look at the big picture and prioritize what matters most to others.”
  • “Givers focus more on the interpersonal and organizational consequences of their decisions, accepting a blow to their pride and reputations in the short term in order to make better choices in the long term.”
  • “givers are willing to work harder and longer than takers and matchers. Even when practice is no longer enjoyable, givers continue exerting effort out of a sense of responsibility to their team.”
  • Russell Simmons said, “Good givers are great getters; they make everybody better”
  • “Whereas takers often strive to be the smartest people in the room, givers are more receptive to expertise from others, even if it challenges their own beliefs.”
  • “Powerless communicators tend to speak less assertively, expressing plenty of doubt and relying heavily on advice from others.”
  • “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. But there’s a twist: expressing vulnerability is only effective if the audience receives other signals establishing the speaker’s competence.”
  • “seeking advice is among the most effective ways to influence peers, superiors, and subordinates.”
  • “According to Liljenquist, advice seeking has four benefits: learning, perspective taking, commitment, and flattery.”
  • “But here’s the catch: advice seeking only works if it’s genuine.”
  • “otherish: they care about benefiting others, but they also have ambitious goals for advancing their own interests.”
  • “Givers don’t burn out when they devote too much time and energy to giving. They burn out when they’re working with people in need but are unable to help effectively.”
  • “the perception of impact serves as a buffer against stress, enabling employees to avoid burnout and maintain their motivation and performance.”
  • “Conrey says. Giving more can be exhausting if it’s in the same domain. Instead of giving more in the same way, over and over, she expanded her contributions to a different group of people. … Instead of teaching them Spanish, she was getting them ready for college. By shifting her giving to a novel domain, she was able to recharge her energy.”
  • “In a study of more than two thousand Australian adults in their mid-sixties, those who volunteered between one hundred and eight hundred hours per year were happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who volunteered fewer than one hundred or more than eight hundred hours annually.”
  • “As burnout expert Christina Maslach and colleagues conclude, ‘there is now a consistent and strong body of evidence that a lack of social support is linked to burnout.’”
  • “For every $1 in extra charitable giving, income was $3.75 higher. Giving actually seemed to make people richer.”
  • “One study of more than 2,800 Americans over age twenty-four showed that volunteering predicted increases in happiness, life satisfaction, and self-esteem—and decreases in depression—a year later.”
  • “Overall, on average, happier people earn more money, get higher performance ratings, make better decisions, negotiate sweeter deals, and contribute more to their organizations. Happiness alone accounts for about 10 percent of the variation between employees in job performance.”
  • “By giving in ways that are energizing rather than exhausting, otherish givers are more likely to rise to the top.”
  • “Otherish givers may appear less altruistic than selfless givers, but their resilience against burnout enables them to contribute more.”
  • “The ability to recognize agreeable takers as fakers is what protects givers against being exploited.”
  • “when we empathize at the bargaining table, focusing on our counterparts’ emotions and feelings puts us at risk of giving away too much. But when we engage in perspective taking, considering our counterparts’ thoughts and interests, we’re more likely to find ways to make deals that satisfy our counterparts without sacrificing our own interests. ”
  • Additional strategies to avoid being a doormat are:
    • “trust but verify”
    • “become matchers in their exchanges with takers. ” i.e. tit for tat
    • “the rule is ‘never forget a good turn, but occasionally forgive a bad one.’”
    • In negotiation situations, the doormat disadvantage disappears “when the givers set high goals and stick to them—which is easier for givers to do when advocating for someone else.”
    • In a group setting: “get everyone in the group to act more like givers.” i.e. “to pay it forward in mentoring groups of more junior colleagues.”  “If a group develops a norm of giving, members will uphold the norm and give, even if they’re more inclined to be takers or matchers elsewhere.”
  •  “relational account—an explanation for a request that highlights concern for the interests of others, not only oneself. ”
  • “The most effective negotiators were otherish … By looking for opportunities to benefit others and themselves, otherish givers are able to think in more complex ways and identify win-win solutions that both takers and selfless givers miss.”
  • “When people share an identity with another person, giving to that person takes on an otherish quality. If we help people who belong to our group, we’re also helping ourselves, as we’re making the group better off.”
  • “people only identify with a generalized giving group after they receive enough benefits to feel like the group is helping them.”
  • “By making contributions visible, the Reciprocity Ring sets up an opportunity for people of any reciprocity style to be otherish: they can do good and look good at the same time.”
  • “change people’s behaviors first, and their attitudes often follow. ”
  • “This is what I find most magnetic about successful givers: they get to the top without cutting others down, finding ways of expanding the pie that benefit themselves and the people around them. ”
  • See also Give and Take web site

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