Book Review of Give and Take by Adam Grant

This is the top three book of my life which I would love to read again and again.

About Author:

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist and bestselling author who explores the science of motivation, generosity, original thinking, and rethinking. (From author’s website)

About Book:

Author describes three type of personalities giver, taker and matcher. While describing all three characters he showed some experiments which proved that at the bottom of success ladder are givers.

Then who are at the top?

Surprisingly takers and matchers are mediocre and givers are at the top as well.

Then question came what differentiate between a giver who is at bottom with the giver who is at the top. And we will find that answer with lot of amazing concepts and with some real-life stories of successful people.

Notable Stories

Enron CEO Ken Lay

Ken Lay was a fake giver due to which his company Enron collapsed in 2002 and several studies show that they can identify the collapse 4 years before the downfall of Enron.

Panda programmer Adam Forrest Rifkin: His motto is “I want to improve the world, and I want to smell good while doing it.”

He built a gigantic network in different industries and always tried to help others genuinely and make other people successful which ultimately made him successful.

George Meyer

Meyer summarizes his code of honor as (1) Show up. (2) Work hard. (3) Be kind. (4) Take the high road.

People tend to come up with ideas and jealously guard them, but George would create ideas, give them to someone else and never take credit.

Reggie Love:

Reggie was a star athlete at Duke, where he accomplished the rare feat of playing key roles on both the football and basketball teams. But after two years of failed NFL tryouts following graduation, he decided to shift gears. Having studied political science and public policy at Duke, Love pursued an internship on Capitol Hill. With a background as a jock and little work experience, he ended up with a position in the mailroom of Obama’s Senate office.

               “Love worked eighteen-hour days and flew more than 880,000 miles with me. “His ability to juggle so many responsibilities with so little sleep have been an inspiration to watch,” — Barack Obama

Love is known for his exceptional and universal kindness.

Some amazing concepts:

Decision makers are biased in favor of their previous investments—but three other factors are more powerful.

  • One is anticipated regret:
  • The second is project completion:
  • But the single most powerful factor is ego threat:

Pratfall effect: It’s a concept in powerless communication. When the average candidate is clumsy, audiences like him even less. But when the expert is clumsy, audiences like him even more.


  • People who help others while maintaining certain kind of self interest in long term.
  • Otherish givers build up a support network that they can access for help when they need it.
  • Otherish givers may appear less altruistic than selfless givers, but their resilience against burnout enables them to contribute more.

Optimal Distinctiveness:

  • It was not just any commonality that drove people to act like givers. It was an uncommon commonality.
  • The solution is to be the same and different at the same time. Brewer calls it the principle of optimal distinctiveness: we look for ways to fit in and stand out.

Amazing quotes:

  • The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
  • Strong ties provide bonds, but weak ties serve as bridges: they provide more efficient access to new information.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.
  • When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.
  • Spotting and cultivating talent are essential skills in just about every industry.
  • If you choose to champion great talent, you will be picking one of the most altruistic things a person can do
  • The intelligent altruists, though less altruistic than the unintelligent altruists, will be fitter than both unintelligent altruists and selfish individuals.

Buy this book