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.
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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According to Pamela Meyer each person, on average, is subject to 200 lies - a day. I was astounded – I don’t see 200 people a day. Some days, I only see my family and my co-workers in the small branch office I work at.
Where are the lies? I started thinking about it: it happens when several of my Facebook friends ask to “Add my birthday.” They’ve been duped by an advertiser seeking personal information, and it gets passed along. The lies are in the ads I get to enlarge a certain body part. The products can’t work – I don’t even have the requisite body part. The lies are on CNN, Fox News, during interviews of people later found guilty of horrible crimes. And there are white lies I hear, when I ask my son or daughter how school was, and they say “fine” to deflect me from asking about an Algebra or Physics test they may have tanked. Sometimes, I’ll never find out things weren’t really “fine” – the test turned out well, and I’ll chalk the crankiness caused by stress for teenage hormones.
People lie, and Meyer’s book is a great guideline for realizing when that happens. I am a litigator, and I learned a lot of the techniques she outlines by years of experience. For example, if someone uses the phrase “To tell you the truth,” what comes out next usually isn’t the truth. It might have a little bit of truth, someplace, but it might be a complete fabrication. If someone smirks while testifying, they are lying and expect a judge or jury is too stupid to catch it.
I wish this book had been available 20 years ago.