Reading Reflections: Give and Take

I did it!  I read my first book of the year!  I am trying to develop the very good habit of regularly reading again (reading additional to my time in the Bible and in studying in order to teach the Bible).  In the past (BEFORE A HOUSE FULL OF CHILDREN!), I read quite a bit.  I may never plow through the number of book per year as I did twenty years ago, but a modest goal of one per month is set before me in 2016.

The first book I read was Adam Grant’s Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success (Penguin Books, 2013).

Here are some thought-provoking quotes:

“‘When you meet people,’ says former Apple evangelist and Silicon Valley legend Guy Kawasaki, regardless of who they are, ‘you should be asking yourself, “How can I help the other person?”‘” (p.45)

“His [Adam Rifkin] giving 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.'” (p.54)

“[George] Meyer summarizes his code of honor as ‘(1) Show up. (2) Work hard. (3) Be kind. (4)  Take the high road.'” (p.75)

Grant coins the term “otherish behavior” (p.169)

Commenting upon a particular experiment by Northwestern psychologists Elizabeth Seely and Wendi Gardner, Grant wrote, “By consistently overriding their selfish impulses in order to help others, they had strengthened their psychological muscles, to the point where using willpower for painful tasks was no longer exhausting” (p.179)

“Most of the time that we give, it’s based on a cocktail of mixed motives to benefit others and ourselves” (p.223)

“New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt refers to this as elevation, the warm feeling of being moved by others’ acts of giving, which can ‘seem to push a mental reset button, wiping out feelings of cynicism and replacing them with…a sense of moral inspiration.'” (p.234)

“our behaviors leak traces of our motives” (p.258)

“We spend the majority of our waking hours at work. This means that what we do at work becomes a fundamental part of who we are. If we reserve giver values for our personal lives, what will be missing in our professional lives? By shifting ever so slightly in the giver direction, we might find out walking hours marked by greater success, richer meaning, and more lasting impact.” (p.259)

I guess you can clearly see why I enjoyed the book!

Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice and Practical Wisdom, wrote “Give and Take is a game changer. Reading Adam Grant’s compelling book will change the way doctors doctor, managers manage, teachers teach, and bosses boss. It will create a society in which people do better by being better. Read the book and change the way you live and work.” (p.iii)

As I continue to inch my way into 2016, my purpose in light remains in the forefront of my mind.  I am on a mission to glorify God, bless people and prepare for eternity.  This book focused on bless people.  May I do just that!


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