BookBrowse Reviews Give and Take by Adam M. Grant

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Give and Take

A Revolutionary Approach to Success

by Adam M. Grant

Give and Take by Adam M. Grant X
Give and Take by Adam M. Grant
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2013, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2014, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A Wharton professor questions commonly held beliefs about the formula for success and emphasizes the role of giving.

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 expense of others. Grant exposes the weakness behind the American ideal of the relentless, bottom-line driven CEO. Enron's disgraced Ken Lay is the patron saint of takers. At the Wharton business school in the University of Pennsylvania, where he is the youngest tenured professor and single highest-rated teacher, Grant's message met with a tough reception at first. One student told him, "there aren't any givers at Wharton: givers study medicine or social work, not business." The idea of sharing contacts and making mutually beneficial business deals (not to mention environmentally and socially responsible decisions) could be a hard sell in the corporate world. Grant has the credentials and the data to make the sale.

Give and Take has useful information for everyone, not just venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. There are take-away messages for artists, athletes, teachers, and students. Grant offers advice for strengthening your "giver" skills, and strategies for avoiding the pitfalls that can steer natural givers toward burnout. By cultivating some of the wariness of matchers, givers can take care to protect themselves from con artists and those who would drain all their time and resources. According to Grant's paradigm, givers are not victims. They wield great power with their generosity.

I found myself hoping that corporations around the world are sitting down with Grant's book and engaging in his paradigm shift. His is a vision that deserves elaboration and an even broader application, in the work world and beyond. What does this new understanding of giving mean for modern women, who are still struggling to integrate traditional caregiving roles with high-achieving careers (and salaries)? Grant touches on the gender pay gap, but barely scratches the surface of tantalizing subjects like caregiver burnout or glass ceilings. People in traditionally more giving-focused spheres, working in non-profits or in the arts, could learn a lot from this emissary from Wharton. I was especially glued to his chapter on "The Ripple Effect," which pits the notion of the solitary genius against a more collaborative, synergistic artist. Guess who comes out on top in the long run.

I have one caveat about Give and Take. If, like me, you do not have an MBA, you may not be used to reading this style of prose. For the humanities major, parsing Grant's jargon-rich sentences can be like chewing rocks. To give you a bit of the stylistic flavor of the book, here is my favorite of Grant's toothsome pronouncements: "Chunking giving is an otherish strategy." Once you get the hang of his terminology, however, these opaque catchphrases can become mantras to repeat, or masticate, as you look around at your job or your life for ways to give more.

A website for the book has tools to evaluate your "giver" strengths and to nominate a giver of your choice.

Reviewed by Jennifer G Wilder

This review was originally published in July 2013, and has been updated for the March 2014 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Wife Between Us
    The Wife Between Us
    by Sarah Pekkanen, Greer Hendricks
    The Wife Between Us is an intriguing collaboration between first-time novelist Greer Hendricks and ...
  • Book Jacket: The Wife Between Us
    The Wife Between Us
    by Sarah Pekkanen, Greer Hendricks
    The Wife Between Us is an intriguing collaboration between first-time novelist Greer Hendricks and ...
  • Book Jacket: Only Child
    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin
    Rhiannon Navin's debut novel, Only Child received an overall score of 4.8 out of 5 from BookBrowse ...
  • Book Jacket: Brass
    Brass
    by Xhenet Aliu
    In 1996, Waterbury, Connecticut is a town of abandoned brass mills. Eighteen-year-old Elsie ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The French Girl
    by Lexie Elliott

    An exhilarating debut psychological suspense novel for fans of Fiona Barton and Ruth Ware.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Beartown

Now in Paperback!

From the author of a A Man Called Ove, a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T I M A Slip B C A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.