“Give and Take” Quotes

Give and Take coverI recently read “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach To Success” by Adam Grant. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“If you insist on quid pro quo every time you help others, you will have a much narrower network.” (45)

“Rifkin is governed by a simple rule: the five-minute favor. “You should be willing to do something that will take you five minutes or less for anybody.” (55)

“Overall, the surgeons didn’t get better with practice. They only got better at the specific hospital where they practiced.” (70)

“A defining feature of how givers collaborate: they take on the tasks that are in the group’s best interest, not necessarily their own personal interests.” (74)

“Eugene Kim and Theresa Glomb found that highly talented people tend to make others jealous, placing themselves at risk of being disliked, resented, ostracized, and undermined. But if these talents people are also givers, they no longer have a target on their backs. Instead, givers are appreciated for their contributions to the group.” (75)

“Carolyn Omine adds, ‘Compared to other writers’ room I’ve been in, I would say The Simpsons tends to look longer for jokes. I think it’s because we have writers, like George, who will say, ‘No, that’s not quite right,’ even if it’s late, even if we’re all tired. I think that’s an important quality. We need those people, like George, who aren’t afraid to say, “no, this isn’t good enough. We can do better.’” (76)

“‘One of the best things about developing that credibility was if I wanted to try something that was fairly strange, people would be willing to at least give it a shot at the table read,’ Meyer reflects. ‘They ended up not rewriting my stuff as much as they had early on, because they know I had a decent track record. I think people saw that my heart was in the right place – my intentions were good. That goes a long way.’” (76)

“This is a perspective gap: when we’re not experiencing a psychologically or physically intense state, we dramatically underestimate how much it will affect us.” (87)

“The same patterns emerged with friends giving and receiving wedding gifts and birthday gifts. The senders preferred to give unique gifts, but the recipients actually preferred the gifts they solicited on their registries and wish lists.” (89)

“‘There are only a few hundred people at any one time writing television comedy for a living,’ Meyer says. ‘It’s a good idea not to alienate these guys, and most of the jobs you get are more or less through word of mouth, or a recommendation. It’s really important to have a good reputation. I quickly learned to see other comedy writers as allies.’” (91)

“Success doesn’t measure a human being, effort does.” (102)

“Of course, natural talent also matters, but once you have a pool of candidates above the threshold of necessary potential, grit is a major factor that predicts how close they get to achieving their potential.” (106)

“When Dave stammered and tripped over a couple of arguments, something strange happened. The jurors liked him.” (129)

“Research suggests that there are two fundamental paths to influence: dominance and prestige.” (130)

“But there’s a twist: expressing vulnerability is only effective if the audience receives other signals establishing the speaker’s competence.” (133)

“Psychologists call this the pratfall effect. Spilling a cup of coffee hurt the image of the average candidate: it was just another reason for the audience to dislike him. But the same blunder helped the expert appear human and approachable – instead of superior and distant.” (134)

“By asking people questions about their plans and intentions, we increase the likelihood that they actually act on these plans and intentions.” (142)

“New research shows that advice seeking is a surprisingly effective strategy for exercising influence when we lack authority.” (150)

“Seeking advice is among the most effective ways to influence peers, superiors, and subordinates.” (150)

“Research shows that people who regularly seek advice and help from knowledgeable colleagues are actually rated more favorably by supervisors than those who never seek advice and help.” (151)

“When we ask for advice, in order to give us a recommendation, advisers have to look at the problem or dilemma from our point of view.” (151)

“Benjamin Franklin ‘had a fundamental rule for winning friends,’ Isaacson writers: appeal to ‘their pride and vanity by constantly seeking their opinion and advice, and they will admire you for your judgment and wisdom.’” (153)

“The change of context brought renewed energy.” (169)

“Research shows that if people start volunteering two hours a week, their happiness, satisfaction, and self-esteem go up a year later.” (174)

“Giving has an energizing effect only if it’s an enjoyable, meaningful choice rather than undertake out of duty and obligation.” (175)

“Three decades of research show that receiving support from colleagues is a robust antidote to burnout.” (177)

“If you spend the money on yourself, your happiness doesn’t change. But if you spend the money on others, you actually report becoming significantly happier.” (183)

“It’s wise to start out as a giver, since research shows that trust is hard to build but easy to destroy. But once a counterpart is clearly acting like a taker, it makes sense for givers to flex their reciprocity styles and shift to a matching strategy.” (198)

“Givers, particularly agreeable ones, often overestimate the degree to which assertiveness might be off-putting to others.” (208)

“When we look at a rivas as a fellow soccer fan, rather than as an enemy, we can identify with him. Oftentimes, we fail to identify with people because we’re thinking about ourselves – or them – in terms that are too specific and narrow. If we look more broadly at commonalities between us, it becomes much easier to see giving as otherish.” (226)

“Psychologists have found that on average, people whose names start with A and B get better grades and are accepted to higher-ranked law schools than people whose names start with C and D – and that professional baseball players whose names start with K, the symbol for strikeouts, strikeout 9 percent more often than their peers.” (231)

“It was not just any commonality that drove people to act like givers. IT was an uncommon commonality.” (232)

“A popular way to achieve optimal distinctiveness is to join a unique group. Being part of a group with shared interests, identities, goals, values, skills, characteristics, or experiences gives us a sense of connection and belonging. At the same time, being part of a group that is clearly distinct from other groups gives us a sense of uniqueness. Studies show that people identify more strongly with individuals and groups that share unique similarities. The more rare a group, value, interest, skill, or experience is, the more likely it is to facilitate a bond. And research indicates that people are happier in groups that provide optimal distinctiveness, giving a sense of both inclusion and uniqueness. These are the groups in which we take the most pride, and feel the most cohesive and valued.” (233)

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“Originals” Quotes

Originals CoverI recently read “Originals: How Nonconformists Move The World” by Adam Grant. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“After finding that disadvantaged groups consistently support the status quo more than advantaged groups, Jost and his colleagues concluded: “People who suffer the most from a given state of affairs are paradoxically the least likely to question, challenge, reject, or change it.”” (6)

“Justifying the default system serves a soothing function. It’s an emotional painkiller: If the world is supposed to be this way, we don’t need to be dissatisfied with it.” (7)

“The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists.” (7)

“Although child prodigies are often rich in both talent and ambition, what holds them back from moving the world forward is that they don’t learn to be original. As they perform in Carnegie Hall, win the science Olympics, and become chess champions, something tragic happens: Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new.” (9)

“Entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs had 33 percent lower odds of failure than those who quit. If you’re risk averse and have some doubts about the feasibility of your ideas, it’s likely that your business will be built to last. If you’re a freewheeling gambler, your startup is far more fragile.” (17)

“Polaroid founder Edwin Land remarked, “No person could possibly be original in one area unless he were possessed of the emotional and social stability that comes from fixed attitudes in all areas other than the one in which he is being original.”” (19)

“Having a sense of security in one realm gives us the freedom to be original in another.” (19)

“The biggest barrier to originality is not idea generation – it’s idea selection.” (31)

“Simonton finds that on average, creative geniuses weren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers. They simply produced a greater volume of work, which game them more variation and a higher chance of originality.” (35)

“If you want to be original, “the most important possible thing you could do,” says Ira Glass, the producer of This American Life and the podcast Serial, “is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work.” (37)

“Across fields, Simonton reports that the most prolific people nto only have the highest originality; they also generate their most original output during the periods in which they produce the largest volume.” (37)

“Many people fail to achieve originality because they generate a few ideas and then obsess about refining them to perfection.” (37)

“When artists assessed one another’s performances, they were about twice as accurate as managers and test audiences in predicting how often the videos would be shared.” (42)

“Our intuitions are only accurate in domains where we have a lot of experience.” (51)

“Physicists, accountants, insurance analysts, and chess masters – they all work in fields where cause-and-effect relationships are fairly consistent. But admissions officers, court judges, intelligence analysts, psychiatrists, and stock brokers didn’t benefit much from experience. In a rapidly changing world, the lessons of experience can easily point us in the wrong direction. And because the pace of change is accelerating, our environments are becoming ever more unpredictable.” (53)

“The more successful people have been in the past, the worse they perform when they enter a new environment. They become overconfident, and they’re less likely to seek critical feedback even though the context is radically different.” (54)

“When people sought to exert influence but lacked respect, others perceived them as difficult, coercive, and self-serving. Since they haven’t earned our admiration, we don’t feel they have the right to tell us what to do, and we push back.” (65)

“Francis Ford Coppola observed, “the way to come to power is not always to merely challenge the Establishment, but first make a place in it and then challenge and double-cross the Establishment.”” (66)

“Most of us assume that to be persuasive, we ought to emphasize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. That kind of powerful communication makes sense if the audience is supportive. But when you’re pitching a novel idea or speaking up with a suggestion for change, your audience is likely to be skeptical. Investors are looking to poke holes in your arguments; managers are hunting for reasons why your suggestion won’t work. Under those circumstances, for at least for reasons, it’s actually more effective to adopt Griscom’s form of powerless communication by accentuating the flaws in your idea.” (69)

“The first advantage is that leading with weaknesses disarms the audience.” (69)

“If you’re perched at the top, you’re expected to be different and therefore have the license to deviate. Likewise, if you’re still at the bottom of a status hierarchy, you have little to lose and everything to gain by being original. But the middle segment of that hierarchy – where the majority of people in an organization are found – is dominated by insecurity.” (82)

“In the long run, research shows that the mistakes we regret are not errors of commission, but errors of omission. If we could do things over, most of us would censor ourselves less and express our ideas more.” (91)

“If you’re feeling pressured to start working on a creative task when you’re wide awake, it might be worth delaying it until you’re a little sleepier.” (97)

“People have a better memory for incomplete than complete tasks. Once a task is finished, we stop thinking about it. But when it is interrupted and left undone, it stays active in our minds.” (99)

“In the majority of circumstances, your odds of success aren’t higher if you go first. And when the market is uncertain, unknown, or underdeveloped, being a pioneer has pronounced disadvantages.” (108)

“The originals who start a movement will often be its most radical members, whose ideas and ideals will prove too hot for those who follow their lead.” (117)

“Simon Sinek argues that if we want to inspire people, we should start with why. If we communicate the vision behind our ideas, the purpose guiding our products, people will flock to us. This is excellent advice – unless you’re doing something original that challenges the status quo.” (124)

“For insiders, the key representative is the person who is most central and connected in the group… But for outsiders, the person who represents the group is the one with the most extreme views.” (128)

“The most promising ideas begin from novelty and then add familiarity.” (136)

“Instead of assuming that others share our principles, or trying to convince them to adopt ours, we ought to present our values as a means of pursuing theirs. It’s hard to change other people’s ideals. It’s much easier to link our agendas to familiar values that people already hold.” (140)

“Rob Minkoff explains: If it’s not original enough, it’s boring or trite. If it’s too original, it may be hard for the audience to understand. The goal is to push the envelope, not tear the envelope.” (141)

“Predicting personality is more challenging with only children than with children who have siblings. Like firstborns, only children grow up in a world of adults and identify with parents. Like lastborns, they are protected fiercely, which leaves them “free to become radicals themselves.”” (162)

“Reasoning communicates a message of respect… it implies that had children but known better or understood more, they would not have acted in an inappropriate way. It is a mark of esteem for the listener; an indication of faith in his or her ability to comprehend, develop, and improve.” (164)

“Parents of highly creative children had an average of less than one rule and tended to “place emphasis on moral values, rather than on specific rules.”” (164)

“When we praise children for their intelligence, they develop a fixed view of ability, which leads them to give up in the face of failure. Instead of telling them how smart they are, it’s wise to praise their effort, which encourages them to see their abilities as malleable and persist to overcome obstacles.” (169)

“The most inspiring way to convey a vision is to outsource it to the people who are actually affected by it.” (221)

“People are inspired to achieve the highest performance when leaders describe a vision and then invite a customer to bring it to life with a personal story. The leader’s message provides an overarching vision to start the car, and the user’s story offers an emotional appeal that steps on the accelerator.” (222)

“Merely knowing that you’re not the only resistor makes it substantially easier to reject the crowd. Emotional strength can be found even in small numbers.” (225)

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