Strategic Giving


Adam Grant, 31, is the youngest-tenured and highest rated professor at Wharton.He is the author of a new book titled “Give and Take – A Revolutionary Approach to Success” which will be released on April 9.

Grant’s research divides people into three categories:

  • Givers: Give without expectation of immediate gain; they never seem too busy to help.
  • Matchers: Go through life with a master chit list in mind, giving when they see how they will get something of equal value back and to people who can help them.
  • Takers: Seek to come out ahead in every exchange; they manage up and are defensive about their turn

Most people fall into the matcher category — but givers, Grant says, are over represented at both ends of the spectrum of success: they are the doormats who go nowhere or burn out, and they are the stars whose giving motivates them or distinguishes them as leaders.

Much of Grant’s book sets out to establish the difference between the givers who are exploited and those who end up as models of achievement. The most successful givers, Grant explains, are those who rate high in concern for others but also in self-interest. And they are strategic in their giving — they give to other givers and matchers, so that their work has the maximum desired effect; they are cautious about giving to takers; they give in ways that reinforce their social ties; and they consolidate their giving into chunks, so that the impact is intense enough to be gratifying.


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