Photo of the book Give and Take from Adam Grant. Background Photo by FWStudio from Pexels
Book Review Productivity

Book Review: Give and Take by A. Grant


I always felt a bit naive when telling people, that doing the right thing and being generous will lead to the best results in the long run. Especially while being a freelancer, that seemed extra stupid, as you always have to take care of yourself. In a society where everyone seems to try to get the best of you, you need to protect yourself, right? Well, I am happy that I have read Adam Grants “Give and Take”. This book tackles exactly this dilemma and confirms my lifelong beliefs.

Give and Take teaches us three lessons on how we can interact with others. Either as a giver, matcher or taker. Grant showcases in detail how being a giver serves you in the long run. This holds true in private as well as in business. Grant divides the behaviour of people into three categories: giver, taker or matcher. While takers look out for themselves first, givers do the opposite. You probably already know a lot of people who fit that category. Grant did also give a TED talk to this topic, which you can find here:

Three lessons

The first lesson teaches us is, that whatever type you are, you are adapting your giving style. You adapt to the situation or to specific people. While a taker might not give money to the poor naturally, he or she will, if being seen by others. If a taker is seen by others, giving can gain him or her reputation. Also, you are three times more likely to help someone, if you feel you belong to that person. Maybe he works at the same company or she wears a shirt of a sports club you like.

The second lesson shows us how we can utilise powerless communication. Usually, while in meetings or negotiations, we tend to stand our ground to make our point. Powerless communication achieves success in another way. By listening instead of demanding, studies show, that the rate of success rises. This plays into the same psychology like in the example before. When you seek help, people will connect to you, instead of fight you.

The third lesson finally shows us how giving can lead to a burnout when done wrong. Seeing the impact you make as a giver is more important than anything else. By utilising different ideas, Grant shows how givers can see their own impact more frequently. He also shows how givers that do see the change, never get tired.

Final thoughts

In any case, Adam Grants book is something for all of us that appreciate sharing and giving. It is for those who sometimes feel that this attitude is not paying off. As his book showcases with countless stories, it actually is paying off. I personally enjoyed reading it. It did not teach me something new, but it reinforced me in what I am doing and what we all should.

Adam Grant has a website with more information about him and his books and his TED talks:

Photo of the book Give and Take from Adam Grant
Grant, Adam. 2013. Give and Take. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.



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Sebastian Hageneuer

Hi! My name is Sebastian. I am an archaeologist, a university lecturer, freelancer, guitarist, and father. You could say I am quiet busy, so I learned to manage my time and energy to build good habits and still have space for myself and my family. Sounds difficult? Read here how I do it. Every Friday.

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