Ardent Audible listener with a long commute!
My first reaction to Andrew M. Grant’s “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Management” was “You’ve got to be kidding! Are you really telling me that if we hold hands, sing ‘Kumbaya’, and share our shovels in the sandbox, everything will be okay at the office?”
That’s not what Grant was saying - at all – but it took an uncomfortably long time for him to get to that point.
Grant advances the position that those who give generously, both professionally and personally, are more likely to be successful than “takers” (about 15% of people) or “matchers” ( about 70%). It’s a compelling argument, and Grant backs up his position with widely regarded studies and valid statistics. According to Grant, a business organization is well served by finding and developing givers (sharers), whose collaborative work with other givers often returns far more than the work of takers or matchers.
Grant also points out an important fault of givers: Statistically, givers are also more likely to be low achievers or failures, if they become “doormats.” Grant has some valuable tips for doormats to recognize takers, and extract themselves from “no sum” or “negative sum” relationships.
I listened to “Give and Take” on the heels of Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” I wondered until halfway through the book if Grant was even considering women in the workplace. Many of the “giver” techniques he recommends are the very techniques that, when used by women leaders, erode whatever leadership foundation they have.
Grant eventually points out that the communication techniques he is recommending will not work for anyone presenting in a leadership role (at a board meeting, for example), although they will work for a leader as a team member.
Grant has some invaluable tips for how women can effectively negotiate higher salaries and gain respect in an organization, even while they are “givers” (or “sharers”, in my parlance).
This book didn’t have the impact “Lean In” did for me, but it had some invaluable suggestions I will incorporate into my life. I am now much more confident about being a “giver” and recognizing “takers”.
I had an unexpected issue with the narration of this book: Brian Keith Davis, the reader, is so smooth, he reminded me of Casey Kasem, the host of American Top 40. I listened to that radio show every Sunday night as a teenager, eagerly waiting to find out what the new Number 1 song was. Several times, after an especially positive anecdote in “Give and Take”, I expected to hear a current pop song. As I write this review, the Number 1 Billboard song Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop.” That is especially apropos for this book.
Last New Year's Day, as I was taking down Christmas decorations, I listened to Andrew Mellen's "Unstuff Your Life! Kick the Clutter Habit and Organize Your Life for Good" (2010). I had decided 2013 was the year I would work on organizing my home, starting with holiday lights, ornaments, and decorations. It ended up taking me a week to box it all, but at the beginning of December, I knew it really worked. The house was festive, and thanks to the other tips in that book, it's well on the way to being uncluttered.
That was such a success, I decided to start 2014 out with another self help book, listening as I put decorations away (just a few hours this year). I chose M J Ryan's "This Year I Will: How To Finally Change A Habit, Keep A Resolution, Or Make A Dream Come True" (2006). I have some habits I'd like to shed, along with a few pounds; some habits I'd like to establish; and a dream or two that's been simmering on the back burner as I dedicated myself to raising kids who are finally old enough to make themselves dinner and get to and from practices.
"This Year I Will" is a really practical guide to looking at what you would like to do; establishing reachable goals; the methods for reaching those goals; and, most importantly for me, what to do if you fall out of the Keebler Elf Tree House and eat a cookie or five. Ryan talks about how to handle temporary setbacks without turning them into permanent failures. She also discusses different motivations, and why what works for some (a reward or treat) isn't necessarily going to work for people who are motivated by other factors, like the joy of competition.
I'm very hopeful that the techniques I learned listening to this book will work for me.
Ryan narrated the book, and I liked her voice. The production quality was a little rough and it could have used an audio proof listen - but it didn't distract from the message.
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One of the first books I listened to on Audible was Joe Mavarro and Marvin Karlins' "What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People" (2012). It was so long ago that I hadn't started writing reviews, but that was fortunate with this book. I've been using some of the techniques described in the book for 18 months, and they work. I wouldn't have known that when I finished the book.
I am a civil trial attorney, and I long relied on gut feeling and intuition when I picked a jury. In other words, just dumb look. This book gave me the ability to know, with some basis, whether a jury liked my client or the opposition, and whether I was effectively advocating my client's defense. Once, in a memory seared sharp, I completely torqued a juror off, which I realized by her flared nostrils and lips pursed together to nonexistence. I was able to dig out of that situation.
This isn't the key to picking a perfect jury, but it helps. It's like knowing a secret code.
I occasionally listen to the book to refresh my techniques. The book teaches how to speed read people, but learning the techniques takes a lot of time, patience, practice and feedback - when you can get it.
I'm giving the book an overall 4 because it is so useful, but it's a 3 on the story. Despite the exciting topic, it's pretty dry and academic. The narration is a three, too. It sounds more like a business seminar than a narration.
I want to mention that "What Every Body is Saying" and Pamela Meyer's "Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception" (2011) really builds on Navarro's techniques. Listen to them consecutively, and it's like a college psychology course.
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