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How to Be a Giver (Without Giving Away Too Much)

Wharton business professor Adam Grant explains the best strategy for being helpful without being exploited.

In Wharton professor Adam Grant's book "Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success," Grant explains why being a giver--with no strings attached--is the best strategy when it comes to being successful in business and in life.

Unlike takers and matchers, givers help those around them without asking for anything in return. Within this group, however, there are successful givers and what Grant refers to as failed givers. 

So what distinguishes between a successful and unsuccessful giver? Grant explained the difference during a conversation with Inc. president and editor-in-chief Eric Schurenberg.

"Typically the failed givers are the ones who try to help all the people all the time with all their requests, and that means they’re vulnerable to being exploited by takers," Grant says. "It means that they are constantly dropping everything and fall behind on their own work."  

Successful givers, on the other hand, are much more thoughtful about who, how, and when they help.

"They also will choose to be specialists rather than generalists when it comes to helping," Grant says. "They'll say, 'I'm going to focus in on one or two forms of giving that I enjoy and excel at and that way when I give it's going to be energizing and efficient rather than distracting and exhausting.'"

For more tips on how to be a giver without giving away too much, watch the video below.  


Why Nice Entrepreneurs Finish First

Wharton professor and author of bestseller Give and Take Adam Grant talks with Inc.'s Eric Schurenberg about the latest research on giving, taking, success, networking, and more.

Last updated: Jul 14, 2014


Graham Winfrey is a staff writer for He previously covered alternative investments at Private Equity International magazine, prior to which he worked at Business Insider and He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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