Tuesday, February 6, 2018

5 Take Aways from Give and Take

My friend Greg Garner recommended Adam Grant's book Give and Take via Twitter a while back.  Since Greg is one of the smartest people I know, I immediately put it on my to be ordered list on Amazon.  I was finally able to read it in January.  It's an excellent book, that I highly recommend.  Here are my top 5 take aways.

1.  Grant tells the story of lots of interesting people but my favorite is Adam Rifkin. Rifkin is an amazing giver and he lives by the 5 minute favor.  "You should be willing to do something that will take you five minutes or less for anybody." Wow! I love this idea.  I just need to be better at assessing how long favors will take.  ;)

2. George Meyer is a comedy writer who has worked on Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons.  He's responsible for many of the words The Simpsons introduced us to.  My favorite is "meh".  Meyer's code of honor is "(1) Show up.  (2) Work hard.  (3) Be kind.  (4) Take the high road."

3. "a remarkable principle of giver burnout: it has less to do with amount of feedback about the impact of that giving." I believe this is a huge player in teacher burnout.  Educators don't always get to see the fruit of their labor. Especially middle school teachers. Finding a way see the impact of your work, no matter how small is so important.

4.  Grant describes givers, takers and matchers.  Obviously, takers are most toxic.  They are going to take what they want and not worry about the consequences.  Matchers work tit for tat.  If you help me, I'll help you type people.  I'm pretty good at spotting takers, it's matchers that trip me up.  I usually find out about them when it's too late.

5.  The single biggest take away for me is the idea of being 'otherish'.  I've always thought of myself as a giver but as I read the book, I compared myself to some of the people Grant profiled.  I was beginning to question if I was truly a giver or if I was a matcher.  It really bothered me.  My 'why' is service.  Serving someone doesn't mean serving only the people who can help you.  Then Grant presents 'otherish':
Being otherish means being willing to give more than you receive, but still keeping your own interests in sight, using them as a guide for choosing when, where, how and to whom you give.
So there I am.  I'm otherish.  I'm not even lying when I tell you, I breathed a sigh of relief.  I enjoyed this book. I loved learning about other people and how they became successful.  It helped me understand myself better.  And it will help me relate to those I serve better.  I highly recommend it!

You can watch Grant's TED talk about givers and takers here:

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