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Give and Take
Cover of Give and Take
Give and Take
Why Helping Others Drives Our Success
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A groundbreaking look at why our interactions with others hold the key to success, from the bestselling author of Think Again and Originals

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today’s dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton’s highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. Praised by social scientists, business theorists, and corporate leaders, Give and Take opens up an approach to work, interactions, and productivity that is nothing short of revolutionary.
A groundbreaking look at why our interactions with others hold the key to success, from the bestselling author of Think Again and Originals

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today’s dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton’s highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. Praised by social scientists, business theorists, and corporate leaders, Give and Take opens up an approach to work, interactions, and productivity that is nothing short of revolutionary.
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    1
    Good Returns

    The Dangers and Rewards of Giving More Than You Get The principle of give and take; that is diplomacy—give one and take ten.
    —Mark Twain, author and humorist

    On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Silicon Valley, two proud fathers stood on the sidelines of a soccer field. They were watching their young daughters play together, and it was only a matter of time before they struck up a conversation about work. The taller of the two men was Danny Shader, a serial entrepreneur who had spent time at Netscape, Motorola, and Amazon. Intense, dark-haired, and capable of talking about business forever, Shader was in his late thirties by the time he launched his first company, and he liked to call himself the “old man of the Internet.” He loved building companies, and he was just getting his fourth start-up off the ground.

    Shader had instantly taken a liking to the other father, a man named David Hornik who invests in companies for a living. At 5'4", with dark hair, glasses, and a goatee, Hornik is a man of eclectic interests: he collects Alice in Wonderland books, and in college he created his own major in computer music. He went on to earn a master’s in criminology and a law degree, and after burning the midnight oil at a law firm, he accepted a job offer to join a venture capital firm, where he spent the next decade listening to pitches from entrepreneurs and deciding whether or not to fund them.

    During a break between soccer games, Shader turned to Hornik and said, “I’m working on something—do you want to see a pitch?” Hornik specialized in Internet companies, so he seemed like an ideal investor to Shader. The interest was mutual. Most people who pitch ideas are first-time entrepreneurs, with no track record of success. In contrast, Shader was a blue-chip entrepreneur who had hit the jackpot not once, but twice. In 1999, his first start-up, Accept.com, was acquired by Amazon for $175 million. In 2007, his next company, Good Technology, was acquired by Motorola for $500 million. Given Shader’s history, Hornik was eager to hear what he was up to next.

    A few days after the soccer game, Shader drove to Hornik’s office and pitched his newest idea. Nearly a quarter of Americans have trouble making online purchases because they don’t have a bank account or credit card, and Shader was proposing an innovative solution to this problem. Hornik was one of the first venture capitalists to hear the pitch, and right off the bat, he loved it. Within a week, he put Shader in front of his partners and offered him a term sheet: he wanted to fund Shader’s company.

    Although Hornik had moved fast, Shader was in a strong position. Given Shader’s reputation, and the quality of his idea, Hornik knew plenty of investors would be clamoring to work with Shader. “You’re rarely the only investor giving an entrepreneur a term sheet,” Hornik explains. “You’re competing with the best venture capital firms in the country, and trying to convince the entrepreneur to take your money instead of theirs.” The best way for Hornik to land the investment was to set a deadline for Shader to make his decision. If Hornik made a compelling offer with a short fuse, Shader might sign it before he had the chance to pitch to other investors. This is what many venture capitalists do to stack the odds in their favor.

    But Hornik didn’t give Shader a deadline. In fact, he practically invited Shader to shop his offer around to other investors. Hornik believed that entrepreneurs need time to evaluate their options, so as a matter of principle, he...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 21, 2013
    Contrary to popular belief, good guys don’t always finish last, and, in fact, an altruistic mindset can help people get ahead professionally. Whenever we interact with others in a business situation, we need to decide how to comport ourselves: focus on our own goals, or give without worrying what we’ll get in return. A giving personality has the power to launch a career or deep-six it. Wharton professor Grant uses psychology and behavioral economics to explain how and why givers can succeed or fail. While takers are often very successful (Ken Lay, for example), they frequently lose credibility. Givers, on the other hand, are better salespeople and are more likely to be believed. Grant shares the stories and philosophies of givers and takers, including comedian George Meyer (a writer and executive producer for The Simpsons) and Craig Newmark of Craigslist. Through Grant acknowledges that taking is sometimes necessary, for most people, giving is not only the best way to succeed professionally, but to be happy. Ending with “actions for impact” so readers develop the right mix of mostly give and some take, Grant drives home programmer and networking genius Adam Rifkin’s five-minute rule: “You should be willing to do something that will take you five minutes or less for anybody.” Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2013
    A scholarly discussion on the push and pull of business ethics. Do good guys really finish last? Grant, an organizational psychologist and prominent Wharton professor, hopes to convince readers otherwise with a book chock full of testimonial stories from businessmen and social scientists on the pros and cons of both giver and taker mentalities. Attitudes in the workplace, he writes, tend to be predominantly of the "matcher" variety ("governed by even exchanges of favors"), whereby a reciprocal balance is strived for and looks good on paper but isn't always achieved. He notes that givers are looked upon as too soft and trusting, while takers are perceived as callous and hyperdominant. The author provides lively, supplemental case histories from industry givers and takers, like Enron scandal kingpin Kenneth Lay, benevolent online entrepreneur Adam Rifkin and Craigslist's Craig Newmark, as well as lawyers, hip-hop magnates, teachers and historical greats like Abraham Lincoln and Frank Lloyd Wright. Grant seeks to persuade readers that altruistic givers are too-often underestimated in the business arena, and while some play doormats, many become uniformly successful. He explores the productive nuances of business networking, customer-relationship-building, and practiced, effective communication. In cross matching their characteristics, Grant intimates that there are attributes to be gained in business and career management by being a giver or taker, but he recognizes that a smart combination of both will prove the most effective. He offers "Actions for Impact" to best apply his principles, and his approach is consistently prosocial for readers in every aspect of the business world. Slick strategies and a fresh approach for business professionals wishing to tip the scales of reciprocity.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2013

    Grant's (Wharton Business Sch.) "give and take" concept centers around the idea that the success of those who seek to give more than they take is underestimated. By citing examples from social experiments and his personal experience in advertising and by asserting the benefits of modest communication and networks built on generosity rather than reciprocity, he shows how the behavior of successful givers differs from that of unsuccessful givers. He concludes with ten actions for impact, a set of concrete steps for readers to enhance the giving mindset. VERDICT For fans of Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Pink, and of The Power of Habit and Quiet. Grant's ideas decry the popular perceptions of high achievers as calculating and callous takers, but his dry, repetitive use of supporting science may fail to engage the lay reader.--Steven Wilson, Galen Coll. of Nursing Lib., Louisville

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2013
    An academic, Grant explains that added to hard work, talent, and luck, highly successful people need the ability to connect with others. We learn givers give more than they get, takers get more than they give, and matchers aim to give and get equally; all can succeed. The author's aim is to explain why we underestimate the success of givers, to explore what separates giver champs from chumps, and what is unique about giver success. Emphasis on teams and the rise of the service sector offers givers access to opportunities that takers and matchers often miss. In the first section, the author explains his principles of giver success, and, in the second part, with insightful stories he explores the costs of giving and how givers can protect themselves against burnout and becoming pushovers; helping others does not compromise success. Grant concludes with his hope that this book will provide his young daughters' generation with a new perspective on success. A worthy goal for this excellent book.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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Give and Take
Why Helping Others Drives Our Success
Adam Grant
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