In every workplace, there are three basic kinds of people: givers, takers and matchers. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant breaks down these personalities and offers simple strategies to promote a culture of generosity and keep self-serving employees from taking more than their share.





  • default – a preselected option adopted by a computer program or other mechanism when no alternative is specified by the user or programmer
  • survey – a general view, examination, or description of someone or something
  • accrue – (of sums of money or benefits) be received by someone in regular or increasing amounts over time
  • retention – the continued possession, use, or control of something
  • catch up – succeed in reaching a person who is ahead of one
  • undervalue – rate (something) insufficiently highly; fail to appreciate
  • plot – secretly make plans to carry out (an illegal or harmful action)


Think about it

Answer the questions below. Pause at times indicated in brackets.

  • Are you a giver or a taker? (1:14)
  • Who are matchers? How common are they? (2:02)
  • Which of these groups generally performs the worst in life? Why? (3:20)
  • How come givers are also the best performers? (4:55)
  • Is being agreeable or disagreeable correlated with being a giver or a taker? How? (10:34)
  • How can you recognise a giver or a taker in an interview? (12:25)
  • What is “pronoia?”
  • How can we make sure that givers become successful?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the words in CAPITAL LETTERS.

And, ________ EXPECT, the worst performers in each of these jobs were the givers. The engineers who got the least work done were the ones who did more favors than they got back. They were so busy doing other people’s jobs, they ________ LITERAL ran out of time and energy to get their own work completed. In ________ MEDICINE  school, the lowest grades belong to the students who agree most ________ STRENGTH with statements like, “I love helping others,” which suggests the doctor you ought to trust is the one who came to med school with no ________ DESIRABLE to help anybody.


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

But actually, it turns ________ there’s a twist here, because givers are often sacrificing themselves, but they make their organizations better. We have a huge ________ of evidence — many, many studies looking at the frequency of giving behavior that exists in a team or an organization — and the more often people are helping and sharing their knowledge and providing mentoring, the better organizations do ________ every metric we can measure: higher profits, customer satisfaction, employee retention — even lower operating expenses. So givers spend a lot of time trying to help other people and improve the team, and then, unfortunately, they suffer ________ the way. I want to talk about what it takes to build cultures ________ givers actually get to succeed.


And my favorite way to catch these people in the interview process ________ to ask the question, “Can you give me the names ________ four people whose careers you have fundamentally improved?” The takers will give you four names, and they will all be more influential ________ them, because takers are great ________ kissing up and then kicking down. Givers are more likely to name people who are below them in a hierarchy, who don’t have as much power, ________ can do them no good. And let’s face it, you all know you can learn a lot about character by watching how someone treats ________ restaurant server or their Uber driver.

Answers here


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