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Karma finds business school organizational psychology

Stashed in: Karma, Gratitude, #kindness, Business Advice, Compassion, Favors!, Psychology!, Give and Take

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Lengthy article talks about extreme givers, from the perspective of a Psychology professor teaching at the Wharton School, Adam Grant.  I think the headline misses the more subtle points in the article.  Clearly Professor Grant is a tad OCD himself, but is very clear-eyed and self-conscious about what he's doing.  

I think his approach offers some really interesting insight into the motivations of extreme givers in each community (you know who you are.)  “Givers motivate themselves to avoid complacency by focusing on the benefits to others if they succeed and worrying about disappointing them if they fail." Grant has a book coming out, “Give and Take,” which, no doubt at least in part motivates his participation in this NYTimes Sunday Magazine cover story.  

"Grant’s book, incorporating several decades of social-science research on reciprocity, divides the world into three categories: givers, matchers and takers. Givers give without expectation of immediate gain; they never seem too busy to help, share credit actively and mentor generously. Matchers go through life with a master chit list in mind, giving when they can see how they will get something of equal value back and to people who they think can help them. And takers seek to come out ahead in every exchange; they manage up and are defensive about their turf. Most people surveyed fall into the matcher category — but givers, Grant says, are overrepresented 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. (Grant incorporates his field’s findings into his own life with methodical rigor: one reason he meets with students four and a half hours in one day rather than spreading it out over the week is that a study found that consolidating giving yields more happiness.)"

Pretty interesting, eh? The 200+ comments on the NYTimes site seem to follow predictable threads.  I'd be interested in the PandaWhale community insights...

It probably does not surprise you that one of the chapters of Adam Grant's book is about me.

The main contribution of Adam Grant's work is to demonstrate that the most successful givers do not give randomly. It's the crossroads of giving and self-interest that leads to success.

Also, this philosophy of "giving is the secret to getting ahead" is the foundation of the values of 106 Miles.

Here are my notes from the NYT article.

Adam Grant's book "Give and Take" comes out on April 9:

Giving is the Secret to Getting Ahead: A New Strategy for Business Success by Wharton professor Adam Grant - PandaWhale

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