Give and Take
Updated: Dec 15, 2019
It is fitting, this morning, that as we enter the season of giving I have just completed reading Give and Take by Adam Grant. I have been thinking about what I would write for the better part of 2 weeks, ever since I opened up Chapter 1.
The book examines the lives of successful givers and what their giving looks like.
"It's true that some people who consistently help others without expecting anything in return are the ones who fall to the bottom. But this same orientation toward giving, with a few adjustments, can also enable people to rise to the top."
According to Grant's research, givers populate both the bottom and the top of the success totem pole, while takers and matchers populate the space between. Grant offers this text as proof to his students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (the world's oldest business school according to Wikipedia), that an "otherish" focus on making a difference may indeed be the best way to achieve professional success.
Within the chapters of the book, Grant uses successful givers to provide a road map of sorts that, if followed, might help other aspiring givers avoid becoming pushovers and doormats who end up exploited and burnt out. It might also inspire takers and matchers to choose a different course.
By "characterizing success as individual achievements that have a positive impact on others," givers "find otherish ways to advance personal and collective interests simultaneously."
Grant's observations of human interaction are eye opening. You don't have to step on the heads of others to get to the top. Givers "get to the top without cutting others down." Instead, they opt to lift others up around them.
I'll finish with Grant's last sentence:
"By shifting ever so slightly in the giver direction, we might find our waking hours marked by greater success, richer meaning, and lasting impact."
Sounds like a pretty fulfilling way to spend the waking hours, if you ask me.