In business, how does one create more value for themselves and for society as a whole? In Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Adam Grant argues that there are 3 kinds of people in the workplace and one of adam-grant-give-and-takethose types is the one bound to readily find more success down the line. If the name Adam Grant sounds familiar, it’s because this isn’t the first time this blog has mentioned him. Just some weeks ago, we covered some of his recommendations for your 2015 fall reading list. Adam happens to be the youngest tenured professor (at 34) at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of America’s finest business schools.

Adam Grant’s cutting edge research, which has given him a lot of notoriety aside from also being Wharton’s highest rated professor, covers success, motivation, and other social behaviors as they relate to economics and the workplace. In Give and Take, Grant dives into 3 types of personalities in the workplace and how they relate to success, which is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others – not just on skills or experience.

The three types of people that Grant points out are:

  1. Takers – Takers make the attempt to take as much from others as possible without having to take time to return favors if they can get away with it.
  2. Matchers – Matchers try to trade equally, matching the work someone does for them with the work that they will do for that person in return.
  3. Givers – Givers are more selfless and willing to go beyond to perform favors for a coworker, sometimes never expecting anything in return.

Using his own research, Grant demonstrates that Givers end up achieving more success across several types of industries. Of course, many Givers do get exploited by fellow coworkers (Takers, perhaps?), but in all their willingness to cooperate and help others leads to higher levels of success. In a way, this makes a lot of sense because Matchers, for examples, although not exhibiting selfishness like Takers, are more likely to just coast on by and doing just enough to get the work done.

The book contains several useful tips on how to be more like the more successful type as well as how to deal with the other types. For Givers, for example, Give and Take shows how one can be charitable with their time and skills yet not come to regret it after (get taken advantage of).

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