Book Review: Give and Take

Full Title: Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant

3 out of 5 stars | Read the summary on Goodreads

At the crux of this book is the idea that society (and American society in particular) values individualism over altruism. When we traditionally think about success, we focus on  individual qualities: hard work, talent, passion. Grant argues that rather than success being wholly dependent on oneself, it is increasingly reliant on others and how we interact with them.

Adam Grant Give Take

Basically, being nice pays off.

But only sometimes. He classifies us all into three styles of interaction: givers, takers, and matchers (the "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" folks). Most of us may be givers in our personal lives, but turn into matchers or takers at work. He deconstructs why we believe that work is a zero-sum game, and tells stories of givers accelerating their careers in ways they never imagined. 

“Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon.”

Though I gave this book only 3 stars, Grant's ideas are definitely 5-star material. The book is entertaining, but he makes his point most effectively early on.  I would recommend watching one of his compelling talks--he's a phenomenal speaker--particularly if you're an auditory learner:

Overall, if you think of work as a dog-eat-dog, winner-takes-all kind of environment, this book is a great way to reorient your thinking. It might turn you into a giver yourself. 

Grant is a great writer and speaker, something I was reminded of when I heard him speak at the MA Women's Conference this past December. I look forward to his new book, The Originals! Check out his website here.

Looking for more great books to add to your 2016 reading list? Check out my comprehensive review of my 11 favorites in 2015.

Find your next to-read business book with the rest of my book reviews.