Stacy’s Book Note: An Update on Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

My first book note was on Adam Grant’s Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success (available on Bookshop and Amazon*). I quote his research, along with the research of Carol Dweck’s, most often when I give talks or speak with clients. This is because his insights on how generosity can drive success is transformative for talented and caring women who tend to give so much they become overwhelmed and depleted.

Since publishing his book, he has clarified some of these key ideas and shared them during a recent interview.

As mentioned in the first book note, Adam Grant describes givers as those who “look for ways to improve the lives of others… to help others, and enjoy that without expecting anything in return.” He found in is research that they tend to be overrepresented at the top of the success ladder and at the bottom.

“People who are generous were the most likely to fail big and succeed big.”

In my work, I have witnessed the agony of women who were taken advantage of by “takers” who claimed credit for their hard work. I’ve also seen the exhaustion of women feel when they overextend themselves for everyone else in their lives while neglecting themselves.

In the interview, Adam Grant explains that the difference between successful givers and failed givers “comes down to the choices we make every day about who we help, when we help, and how we help”:

  • Who we help: Failed givers help anyone. Successful givers are cautious not to give to those who might take advantage of them.
  • When we help: Failed givers “drop everything for any request that comes in.” Successful givers protect and prioritize time to work on their own goals.
  • How we help: Most people prefer to the generalist approach in the way they help others. “Whereas if you specialize in one or two forms of giving that you enjoy and excel at, then people respect that you have unique expertise to share. They actually come to you for what you like to give, which makes it more energizing than exhausting.”

(Some of these principles are reminiscent of last month’s book note book, Essentialism by Greg McKeon.)

Given this, how might you update the way you give?

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*Some of the links on this page are “affiliate links” where I receive a small commission from any purchases at no cost to you. Some of these funds will be donated to organizations supporting women and girls.