Part of becoming a great leader is never to stop learning. Bill Gates and other well-known Business personalities share the lists of books they devour each year.  

In that spirit, I will recommend books that had on me, whether personally, professionally, or both. I consider these works to be a fundamental part of a Global Leader’s toolkit. 

The inaugural book review in this series is going to be about Give and Take, written by the inimitable Adam Grant. 

How we relate to each other and the reciprocity style we take can shape our immediate interactions and have a decisive impact on the level of our success. 

By using insightful psychological research and real-life examples, this book explores how this happens and what you can do to make small (or sometimes big) adjustments to your mindset, approach, and behavior that, over the months and year, can have a tremendous impact. 

If you love to learn and improve yourself, read on!


Are you Otherish? 

A special breed of givers are those that become the most successful. They do not give unconditionally and selfless, jeopardizing their own success. They don’t keep track either, as a matcher would.    Grant calls these “otherish” 

They are willing to give more than they receive but still keep their own interests in sight, using them to give their decisions. They integrate self-interest and other-interest.


Burn Out

Being a giver may sound like a recipe for burnout.  Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Grant examines how givers can protect themselves against burnout while at the same time, not becoming a doormat or pushover. 

Interestingly enough, suffering from burnout is not only linked to the amount of work.  Having a purpose is one way to avoid it. 


Optimizing for Serendipity

Small Gifts, such as 5 minutes of attention, is still a gift.  A quick email introduction or a link shared can take mere seconds but can be very helpful for the receiver.

Scanning your environment for ways to contribute not only feels good but helps you identify other givers, which is great, but it’s also a great way to start a relationship. Given that givers are a rare breed, most people expect others to act as takers and matchers.   

Coming across a giver is refreshing and builds trust much faster. 

“highly successful people have three things in common: motivation, ability, and opportunity.”

Adam Grant, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success

Most of the time, we have small assets, like knowledge and contacts, that can be helpful to others. It’s not necessary to give everything at once. Give a little; if the person entrusted with the gift makes good use of it and you built trust, you can give more.  And as an otherish, keep your own interests in sight. With the right mindset, you will notice all the ways you can serve both. 


The Long Game & Exponential Impact

In the short term, you may not notice the benefits; it may not even be counterproductive to be a giver.

The significant difference is over the long term. 

“Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon.”

Adam Grant, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success

When takers win, it’s usually at the expense of others. People tend to envy successful takers and look for ways to bring them down. Sooner or later, they typically succeed. 

When givers succeed, people are rooting for them and supporting them, rather than gunning for them.  Givers succeed in a way that enhances people around them. 


From a Daily Habit to a Change of Identity

With some practice, say, looking for ways to help 1 person each day, becoming a giver can become part of your identity – it then becomes natural. And very rewarding. 

This approach brought me many incredible opportunities. 

From replying to an email from a stranger to being invited to speak at an international conference on another continent – all expenses paid. 

From chatting up someone in an elevator to getting a paid speaking engagement with a Fortune 500 company. 

It starts with small gifts, given to the universe with no attachment to the outcome and given from the heart, openly.

“The more I help out, the more successful I become. But I measure success in what it has done for the people around me. That is the real accolade.”

Adam Grant, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success

The universe paid me back in the most unexpected ways. 

The next question who will you help today?

What will you give?

And who will you become?