Review: Give and Take

It is not exaggerate to say that this book changed my view of life. Mostly. And positively.

“Give and Take” is the first book in this year I read which is not my own but my university’s, so basically there is not any story of how I come to the decision of purchasing or came across it in a random bookstore. However, in another way, I did come across it while searching for some interesting books to read during my winter break, in terms of which I completely failed to do since I started reading it after the break a few days ( due to the unexpected length of “ This Must Be The Place” and the trip to Lapland combined ). What attracted me then is the slogan on the cover which said “Why helping others drives our success” and I suppose the author has succeeded in persuading people like me to give the book a chance – people who has never thought of that possibility, want to know the answer, and of course, most importantly, desire to be successful.

I would not list out all the lessons and brilliant examples that excited me through the book cause it is nearly the whole content itself and also it would take forever to explain in details each of it (since it is not fair to focus on one and neglect others). Instead of that, I am going to write down my own thoughts, review, feeling after reading the book ( like previous posts on this blog) and emphasize the reason why I said it changes my view of life positively.

As I did mention earlier in a post, I am not a fan of self-help books so my expectation for this one is not quite high and besides the curiosity mentioned above, I just thought of it as a break from all those novels I have read in those last few months of 2017. However, it unexpectedly turned out to be the most motivational book I have read until now. At the beginning, Grant provide a series of facts indicating that givers are both at the top and the bottom of success ladder, which arises a question in me that how come there is such a huge gap between people with the same reciprocity and why giving can lead us to the success but at the same time is able to crash us down to the bottom of it. Then, the more I read and reread those explanations and real-life cases, the more I understood the most important reason lies behind those differences.

You care for others, go out of your way to help them. However, you have to care also about yourself and help it too.

On one hand, I got to learn how giving can cause one’s happiness, motivation and purpose of living. It is good to help and care for people, but it is better to do that genuinely and expand it as much as possible. In the past, I rarely helped people without calculating it and always evaluating the situation itself if my giving gained back any benefit. If it was not, then I would only help them dutifully and reluctantly, then felt unfair later since they could not offer any help back. Until now did I realize how childish and selfish I used to be, let alone the regret of not offering help to people when I could just because of the fear that they might be better than me some days. Grant shows me that it is always a great thing to help people, regardless of the necessity or what kind of people they are. Once one decides to be a giving person genuinely, they feel happy and appreciated at least since they got to make positive change to people, make a better world. Also, helping others is also helping us since the circle of giving is unpredictable and who knows someday the help you receive is generated from your giving in the past.

Even though it is great to be a giver all the time, one does not need to stick with it in every situation. Sometimes, the takers can take advantage of givers’ generosity and benefit only themselves without forwarding and expanding it. At those times, it is totally find to be a matcher since the purpose here is to cause the takers to give as well.

As I evaluate myself, I was a matcher most of the time in the last few years and occasionally shifted to the giving side. Now after reading this book, there will be some changes about the frequency between those reciprocity. Of course it is not something that changes overnight and need time and effort to work on. Even when I know it is the right thing to do, there are times I still wondering if I should be a giver in those situations because sometimes I sense the recipient is a taker and in other cases because I already gave out the same help many times.

In a nutshell, understanding the principle of insight of giving is one thing; actually implementing those and be genuinely and comfortable about it is another. At the same time when helping somebody, it is essential to watch out for yourself and reach for the balance in life.


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