Recently, our office read Professor Adam Grant’s new book, “Give and Take.” The book has already climbed the bestselling book lists for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, and Apple. Professor Grant is one of the youngest tenured professors at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and routinely makes himself accessible to his students. He even follows a strict rule of responding to his student’s emails within a day. In his book, Professor Grant provides insight on how people can achieve success both at work, but also in their personal lives. He focuses on the benefits of collaboration and networking.
Professor Grant divides individuals into three groups: givers, takers, and matchers. Takers generally view the world in a zero-sum game, attempting to receive more than they provide. Matchers attempt to balance all interactions, while givers provide assistance to others without expecting anything in return. Givers often create ripple effects that spread to other individuals. By freely providing advice or time, the recipient may do the same for others. Ultimately, society benefits from this type of environment.
To illustrate his argument, Professor Grant cites numerous studies. Throughout his book, he also provides examples of individuals that acted as givers, takers, and matchers in different environments. He includes case profiles for Abraham Lincoln, Kenneth Lay, and comedian George Meyer.
“Give and Take” provides valuable insight as to which factors contribute to success. Ultimately, the book provides support for the proposition that nice people do not finish last. Altruism can benefit someone’s career, and lead to long-term success.