Adam Grant's message to the capitalist world is, as he says, revolutionary: nice guys don't actually finish last. The catalog of case studies he lays out in Give and Take
painstakingly uncovers the hidden fact that it's not the shark negotiators or the lone geniuses, or even the diva athletes, who enjoy the most resounding success over the life of their careers. It's the people who help, share, collaborate, and give.
Grant sorts people along a spectrum according to their generosity. "Givers" do more than just donate to charity; they give openly and freely of their time and resources to help other people. "Matchers" are more cautious, always on the guard to make sure they get as good as they give. "Takers," on the other hand, are the ambitious souls always looking out for their own good. In their rise to the top, they will grab every advantage they can, even at the...
Beyond the Book
In Give and Take
, Adam Grant takes pains to demonstrate that many cold-hearted business transactions actually have a human side – that there is more at stake in contract negotiations, say, than the bottom line. He emphasizes the complexity of the give-and-take in business relationships by pointing out that such negotiations are "not a zero-sum game." Contract negotiations are not a zero-sum game; networking is not a zero-sum game. And so on.
What exactly is
a zero-sum game?
Two men are facing each other across a table upon which are placed two goblets full of wine. One goblet contains a deadly poison. Both men must drink, and one will die. One of the men will live, and the price of his life is the death of the other man.