One Pager: Give and Take by Adam Grant

One Pager: Give and Take by Adam Grant

Give and Take by Adam Grant in one sentence: The business world is made up of three types of people: Givers, Takers and Matchers; Aim to be a giver but be warned that if a giver is selfless, they will burn out.

“Highly successful people have 3 things in common: motivation ability and opportunity. The 4th ingredient is: How we approach our interactions with other people.  Do we claim value or contribute to it in each interaction?”

Give and Take by Adam Grant in 10 takeaways:

1. Takers: Take more than they give. Very competitive. Believe it’s a dog eat dog world. Givers: Give more than they take. Pay more attention to what others need from them. Matchers: Strive to preserve a perfect balance. Fairness, equality and reciprocity. Most people are matchers.

2. Givers are at both the bottom and the top of the success ladder. Those are self-less are at the bottom. Those with personal quests for success beside only helping others are at the top.

3. Networks come with 3 major advantages: private information, diverse skills and power. By developing a strong network, people can gain invaluable access to knowledge, expertise and influence. Givers and matchers see networking to connect with new people and ideas. Usually givers and takers have the same size network, but givers can produce far more lasting value through their networks, generally in less obvious ways. Takers try to rack up credits with people for which they want to call in a favor and tend to burn bridges. Matchers tend to build smaller networks than givers or takers and limit themselves to deals with quid pro quo.

4. When givers collaborate then usually take on tasks that are in the groups best interest, not in their own and focus on the collective result. Takers will do what they feel is right over if it means doing the opposite of what clients wish. But over time, stars without teams behind them tend to fail. You can’t collaborate successfully being stuck in your own perspective. You must see the other side.

5. Givers make great mentors and teachers and end up investing a lot of their time in encouraging and developing people to achieve their potential. Resist temptation to search for talent first. Everyone has potential if someone believes in them. Most importantly, make sure to spend time on your own passions and self or you’ll burnout.

6.  Being vulnerable can be a powerful persuader. Takers never want to be seen as vulnerable or weak. As a giver, be vulnerable, ask questions, allow people you are working with to answer and to open up.

7. Highly successful givers value goals that help others but also have a quest for power and achievement. Be a hybrid of both. All givers need a cause, a why. Usually a direct impact from helping someone. Givers burnout not from giving too much, but when they’re working with people in need but are unable to help effectively. Do not think that helping others at a personal cost is winning.

8. Chunking your giving all in one day, not sprinkling it through the week, leads to happiness. You feel the impact. As far as volunteering goes, 100 hours per year seems to be the magic number. 100 – 800 is the ideal range, but there are no apparent benefits over 100. That’s about 2 hours per week.

9. As a giver, you must avoid being: too trusting, too empathetic and too timid. Givers and takers are based on motives and values, not on personalities. It has nothing to do with nice and not nice. Givers become doormats when they give first and ask questions later. Build relationships – it’s hard for takers to fake it on a regular basis. It’s the way around agreeable takers. Men and women are equally likely to be givers, they just give in different ways.

10. To shift takers to givers, and get people involved, note that when there is common ground, people are more likely to help a person. Even more so if it’s an uncommon commonalty. More people get involved and help when the expectations are low (You can give just a dollar a day). Givers will giver in public and private. Takers will only give if it’s public.


Final thoughts: This book was eye opening! So many situations I’ve encountered business wise make sense now. My favorite take away is about when “we sense takers, putting up our guard to protect our network and resources. Takers often fake being givers to get in doors.” How many times have you felt the desire to hug your network protectively from someone who you can tell wants to burn though it?

I feel encouraged after reading this book and armed with a bit of protection to protect myself from another burnout. A lot of what I went through makes more sense now. As do a few encounters that left me spinning and stunned that people behave that way.

Strive to be a giver and beware of the takers!!


I have taken an entire book and distilled it down to one page for two reasons. First, to share the knowledge and second, to help my own absorption of it. Note that if I think the book is worth summarizing, I think it’s worth reading. I encourage you to do so if this piqued your interest.

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