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Three Reasons for Giving More

In his acclaimed, landmark book Give and Take, Wharton Professor Adam Grant builds an argument for why we should all give more.

Joseph Quan     |     Oct 3, 2015

In his acclaimed, landmark book Give and Take, Wharton Professor Adam Grant builds an argument for why we should all give more.
First, a quick description of “Givers” from Grant’s book:
Givers are those who are “other-focused.” They don’t weigh the pros and cons of others. Instead, they give without keeping score. Simply put, givers seek to enrich the lives of the people they interact with. As Grant writes, “If you’re a giver […] you simply strive to be generous in sharing your time, energy, knowledge, skills, ideas, and connections with other people who can benefit from them.”
Throughout the book, with the aid of extensive empirical research and colorful anecdotes, Adam builds a compelling argument that becoming a Giver is the best way to approach our relationships. In the long run, Givers end up doing significantly better than Takers and Matchers for a few key reasons:
  • Givers have the broadest and healthiest networks. Givers make connections with others all the time, not only when they need them (as opposed to Takers and Matchers, who can be more opportunistic about networking and thus have a smaller set of contacts that they develop only when they need a new job/introduction/etc.). Furthermore, rather than looking to extract as much value as possible from their contacts, Givers are always adding value to their networks by fostering connections and knowledge-sharing between others.
  • Givers develop great reputations. When you’re known for helping others, people are much more likely to conspire in your favor. To paraphrase Adam: Takers know you’re not they’re competition, Matchers want to see you rewarded, and other Givers know you’re one of them. A good reputation pays great dividends in the long run – others become eager to help you and see you succeed.  
  • Givers can accumulate significant knowledge and experience. By helping other people, Givers get exposed to new domains and novel new problems. Over time, this can accrue to become a formidable cross-disciplinary knowledge advantage.
Best of all, giving is contagious – by becoming a Giver, you slowly infuse others with the same collaborative, sharing values. This translates to a lot more for everyone in the long run.

See the 3-Day Action Plan

Joseph writes for AYA, a weekly newsletter that curates the best professional development advice for 20somethings and makes it actionable. Every week AYA summarizes a book or piece of research and sends you an accompanying action plan to act on what you just learned.

Written by Joseph Quan - Please submit all responses to jackmara@10Thoughts.com

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