The 5-Minute Takeaway: Adam Grant’s “Give and Take” (Audiobook)

Adam Grant’s “Give and Take” was recommended to me by the Executive Director of Branding. I had heard Adam Grant on NPR talking about his new book “Originals” and enjoyed it. So I picked up “Give And Take” to listen during a cross-country flight.

“Give and Take” is a good affirmation for those who in game theory terms are considered “cooperators.” It is ahead of the curve and fits with the ongoing shift to a digital economy one which is not defined by limits but rather is exponential in nature.

Grant’s central thesis is that “givers” produce better results and he provides numerous detailed case studies on why this is the case. The book is a bit long, however, given that his thesis is counter-intuitive for so many – I can understand why he felt the need to err on the side of example overkill.

There is a lot of good information but right now what really resonates with me are tricks for cultivating talent, including setting high expectations, assuming the best in others, and guiding people to paths that interest them.

In the early days of the data & analytics center of excellence I helped start-up, I found the best determinant of success was whether the project was interesting. Selfishly I didn’t want to work on boring projects and I was always thinking forward to the next client pitch. I also I didn’t want to pitch projects to super talented data scientists who could be working at Google. It seemed obvious to me that this would be an important criterion, and I was proud to see that the business cases I submitted not only received funding but were used as best in class case studies.

I read recently that nearly any problem can be overcome with hustle and grit. After I left that role, I saw too many projects, selected only on financial metrics. Inevitably those projects lose focus, precisely because the team did not have a clear vision, interest, and determination to succeed. Generous leaders INSPIRE, they coach, they tell the stories to their team to help them connect, find purpose, and meaning in their work.

Useful links:



The “exponential” economy is the confluence of multiple on-going shifts in our economy. It includes a shift in focus from manufacturing to service through to digital & information economies.

Successful companies and entrepreneurs understand Digital transformation is not simply a way to replicate old business models – it is an opportunity to completely redesign them.

The internet makes it possible to share your services at zero marginal cost. The open-source ethos of computer programming makes a powerful and compelling case for cooperation, sharing, and generosity. It is the driving force behind disruptive trends that break down limits and overcome scarcity through information and connection.

To take advantage of exponential tools requires 4 fundamental components:

  • Story-telling. Know your audience, what they want, and help them get it.
  • Community. Help people connect in authentic meaningful ways.
  • Generosity. Invest in your community for the long term.
  • Smart execution. Tell your story through the channels that work for you and figure out how polished you need to be. Remember done can be better than perfect.

Excited? You should be. This is cool stuff.

Matagi is here to help you be brave and do amazing work, by offering you strategic guidance, templates, and tutorials. It is also here to provide you with inspiration to help you grow your business based on the latest thinking, case studies of folks who are doing it, and mind and energy tools to help you focus, maintain your courage, and be awesome.



Just do it – Nike Slogan

All the good ideas in the world don’t mean a hill of beans if they only live in your head. “Tutorials” includes tips and templates for pulling together and executing your strategy.

Every week I’ll add templates and instructions to help you with:

  • Getting your Story down
  • Finding and developing your Community
  • Ideas to help you deliver value and practice Generosity.
  • Tips to align your Tactics,  increase your efficiency, and have more fun.


If you’re not growing you’re dying

Check out “Inspiration” for an update on what I’m reading and thinking. I’ll provide you with case studies on the folks who are exponential (and those who want to be). I’ll also summarize and share with you interesting takeaways from the books, podcasts, and articles on my book shelf. Finally, I’ll also include my point-of-viewwhich is basically the Wild West and includes my thoughts about management, data, digital, design, and creativity.

I’m a writer, yoga, design, creativity, data junkie who reads a lot… I have no idea how much trouble I can get into. Let’s find out.