Give and Take
By Adam Grant, translated into Korean by Yoon Tae-jun
Published by Viking, 2013; Korean translation by Thinking-Lab, 2013
The first time I saw this book, I was struck not by its main title but by the subtitle that reads “Givers Succeed” in Korean. Aren’t givers usually treated as pushovers? I couldn’t understand how people who make concessions and consider others first could possibly succeed in this life that is full of such words as competition, achievement, and evaluation. So I picked up the book and began to read.
The book divides people into three groups: givers, takers, and matchers. Givers are the type of people who like to give more than they receive, and they willingly share their time, knowledge, and efforts with others. In contrast, takers want to receive more than they give away, and they value their own self-interest more than anything. Matchers are those who pursue a balance between giving and taking.
Adam Grant affirms that givers stand on the top of the success ladder, a statement he backs up with ample analysis and examples of people who succeeded through their giving mindset. He also offers advice and cautionary guidance as to how a person can live as a generous giver without becoming a pushover. The book is tremendously interesting in that it approaches such concepts as kindness, generosity, and concession as elements of success, unlike other books that often refer to them as elements of happiness.
I recommend this book because I think our society will become a better place if we strive to live with the heart of a giver, in the face of difficult relationships and situations at work and in our personal lives.
Written by Kim Soo-yeon, Assistant Director, KF Korean Studies Department
Next month’s “KF Culture Walk” will be written by Kim Joonseop, assistant director in the KF’s Arts and Culture Department.