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There are three types of people - who are you?
Last Updated November 18th, 2013

According to Adam Grant, the New York Times best-selling author of “Give and Take,” there are three types of people in the world.

Givers. Takers. And Matchers.

Which one are you?

And does it matter?

As you’ll soon see, the answer is YES.

The most successful people in the world are Givers. But some of the least successful people are also givers.

What separates the two?

A Discussion with Adam Grant, NYT Best-Selling Author of Give and Take

Adan Grant

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(If you can’t see the audio player, here’s the MP3 link).

If you dig this podcast, make sure you say hello to Adam Grant on Twitter. Here’s the link.

In addition to talking about these three types of people, we also cover:

  • Why some givers succeed while others fail
  • How using this one phrase will help you get more donations (this works for non profits and crowd-funding)
  • The ONE thing you should consider before you help anyone
  • And more.

When you’re done, share two separate stories in the comments:

1. Tell me about a time when you offered someone help – and it paid off for you and them.

2. Tell me about another time when you offered someone help – and it came back to bite you.

Leave a comment below.

Also – if you loved this discussion, I can be sure that you’ll love his book, Give and Take. Pick it up on Amazon right here: Give and Take(aff).

Do you dig this podcast? Leave a review on iTunes. More reviews helps us with our rankings. Help a brother out!

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33 comments Leave a comment
Emenike Emmanuel

Countless times I have offered people help and it came back to backfired me, but I don’t care. I will keep being good. But I have also been privileged to help people help and it came back to favour me.

J. R. Clark

But there are some people that they are fun of giving and take note they are expecting in return. So I prefer if you are a giver, this comes from your heart and do not ask something in return… Base on my experience I have a family she loves to give but in times that she ask favor from me then sad to say I cant do that favor, she made talks behind me and it really hurts when suddenly I knew from a friend all the lies she told to other people. Then I realize because of the things that she gave, she is expecting in return that I will do the same thing… Giving is not a will its a feeling or emotion that you love and like to give…

You have a nice article, I just express what I feel the experience of being a giver and a taker.

Thanks for sharing


Thank you so much Derek. This is truly insightful stuff.

Terry Chestnutt

I would say if you know you are a giver then don’t worry about it-about all that self doubt. You will do just fine. You know you are true, basically, after all. Someone else don’t think so, so what?


In my personal life it is about giving. And not expecting anything in return.

In my business life it is about mutually beneficial exchanges.
Every interaction has to benefit everyone involved. If something doesn’t benefit someone, they won’t participate.

Max Turner

As always you are amazing! Thanks for your post Derek. Not only did I love what you had to say but I loved your Blog that Converts course as well – Man talk about mind bending!

MJ Bush

You might be able to leverage the “even a penny helps” tradeoff.

I think I would try this:

1) Ask for donations from the email list.
2) Use the phrase in a social media post or two.
3) Use “This many people have donated, but we still have $$ to go” either in a post or email, possibly both.

If it were a charity, I’d drop the “we still have $$ to go.”


Hi. Really interesting artice. Never thought about givers/takers before, but your artice made me think who I am and I think I am: giver

I think I am quite successfull. Surely, I would like to be more successfull than I am right now but I can’t complain 🙂

I quite enjoy giving rather than taking but sometimes I take as well.

Once again- very interesting article 🙂


(1) One time my girlfriend’s parents needed a ride to the airport. Since I had the time, I was more than happy to give them a ride. Then a few months later, the timing belt went out on my vehicle. While it was in the shop, my girlfriend’s parents helped me get to and from work.

(2) After my grandfather passed away a few years ago, I was offered an opportunity to live with my handicapped uncle (who lived with my grandfather – his father – before passing away). I was under the impression that I would be responsible for running his errands, helping to keep the house clean, and other tasks he could not do due to him having to use crutches. However as time went on, he actually developed a sort of codependency on me. He would expect me to spend my days off work at home “babysitting” him and listening to his long winded pointless discussions. Since things got to a point where he was expecting way too much out of me (and I was feeling more like a prisoner), I had to move out.

Michael Belk

I consider myself to be a taker and a giver, mostly giver. I think you need to be able to take, not in an aggressive way, but accept what someone gives you out of their own generosity.

I have a giving heart because I have not always lived a “decent” life. I saw my loved ones give without respect to their own keepsake and I witnessed how good it made them feel.

I do not know enough about matchers to comment.

maxwell ivey

Hi Derick; thanks for sending me the link to the podcast. It was an intense interview and i learned a lot about the whole subject of givers takers and matchers. I think i am a matcher but mainly because it seams like i am always having to ask for help. but when i can help people i go out of my way to do whatever i can for them. thanks again and take care, max

Igor Soyka

Hi Derek, thanks for an interview with ADAM. Twitted a Hello for both of you. I’m 100% a Matcher, but planning to be a successful Giver.

Carlos Ramirez

Derek. thank you for the integrated information in the podcast. and thanks to every one for their comments. Givers and Takers: I like to share a little story on this topic so interesting within our lives, I come from a large family to be exact 9 children and thanks to that I had the opportunity to see thought that we could provide some of the contrasts in the behavior of the human being, on the table for example at the time of the meal were able to see who was the giver and who was the taker, our parent’s obvious trying to correct this in the best possible way without neglecting the growth parameters, in the balance I tilt by the givers earned two things, one was that it felt so good to do so and the other the person was happy, and since there is a day in my life that made me without asking anything in return, in my personal and professional life.

Barbara McKinney

Thanks for sharing this podcast Derek. I always love to share my blessings because I know there are some people that needs my help.But there are times that they are taking advantage of it because they know that you can’t resist them.

Steve - Texfly

Awesome podcast Derek – AS ALWAYS.

You are definitely a giver, as you consistently give us fantastic content, time and time again for free!

The passion of both of you really comes across well, thanks again mate.


Oh man I’m totally a giver. Here are my entrepreneurial stories:

1. Landed myself a great corporate job after offering web development services for free (think sugary drinks). Go me!

2. Offered web development services free of charge to a non-profit… At the time it was a great opportunity because I was still in college. However, the people running the company were completely inept when it came to technology. They ended up deleting their entire website on accident after a few months… Unfortunately, my computer fried shortly after they launched their website and I didn’t have a backup. They expected me to do all of the work over again free of charge because of their mistake. Needless to say, I’ve learned to use a a cloud now.

Now, I’m getting back to the podcasts! Finishing the one about fascination – so interesting!


Mary Catherine George

I totally relate to being a giver…

1) for example, I gave away an idea about an app to a student of mine who developed it and provided it to a promotion for students. I was happy he added his own nuances and it felt like a win-win. An idea of mine was given legs and even made better with the students input. We are waiting to hear about what will happen with the app. If it doesn’t place in the competition then we will do something with it through my connections and I will keep him in the loop as a creator. It felt great.

2) hmm, giving away my ideas to my boss has not been useful for me. I have ended up regretting giving my creative ideas to my boss because I don’t get the credit, it doesn’t provide me any monetary value, and sometimes makes my job more difficult. In fact, I have had to stand my ground for one project that was almost 95% my idea. I continue to work for this person but slowly transition to a different relationship. I have garnered a great deal of autonomy in this position, but it has come at a very dear price, my creative giving.

Interesting discussion. I continue to think about this content because it is one that a forum could really be developed around and discussed on its relevance to business and entrepreneurs.

Thanks – HUGELY wonderful Derek… love the intelligence you bring


Tracey G

One instance where I offered help and it paid off relates to my decision to participate on the parents committee at my kids’ school. The school was at risk of closing down; parents wanted to save it, and we succeeded. That’s how it paid off for the school community. For me, it has paid off via word-of-mouth referrals, thanks to the networking aspects of my activities at the school.

There have been times when donating my time, services or advice has not worked. In every case the recipient either hasn’t understood or respected the value of what they’ve been given. That’s unfortunate, but occasionally it happens.

But more importantly, it’s never been a serious enough problem to override the net benefit of the act of giving.

Phyllis Kasper

1.) I’m a psychologist. Our clinic manager was fired with cause in 1990. A therapist suggested I call someone she had worked for as a possible new manager. I called BJ and helped him get hired. He turned out to be a great manager. Over the last 23 years we have helped one another in work situations. Since BJ is an Ojibwe elder, he brought me into Sweat Lodge ceremonies and we made two recordings together. I use the short one as a freebie on my website and would like to be able to sell the longer one.

2.) In trying to be helpful to my fellow therapists when our clinic was bought out by a large organization, I spoke well of a team mate to management. When he attended management meetings, he would name me as the author of all complaints he presented and attributed his own negativity to me. I ended up being downsized, released from the Borg Collective. He still works for them.


I give because i get pleasure from making people happy / helping them.


Just wanted to thank you both for this one. What is special to me is listening to two genuine, intelligent guys who have heart and ambition. Wonderful!

David Bennett

Thank you for another very enjoyable and informative interview carrying on the spirit of those that have gone before – Jonah Berger, Charles Duhigg, Dan Pink, and the man who writes for Men’s Health magazines whose name I forget.

I tried to search your old articles to find his name, but you don’t have a search box as far as I can see. What is the thinking behind that decision?

Rod Jellison

Back in my life insurance sales days the one person whose quotes had the most impact on me was an individual by the name of Zig Ziglar.

The one I liked best was “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Zig Ziglar

Les Proctor

A friend of mine recently told me about a Kabbalistic concept called ‘Bread of Shame’, which is considered a fundamental fact and law of the universe. The basic concept is that nothing is free in this world. If you are a taker, and you take and you take, eventually you pay later with some form of chaos in our life. Any pain in your life right now — any chaos, any darkness, large or small, big or tiny — is because we did not pay for something in the past. It’s because we weren’t grateful for a gift, we didn’t work on maintaining our relationships, we didn’t share and treat others with kindness. It’s an interesting concept not unlike The Covey idea of seeking the win/win.

Alex Clifford

Thank you Derek and Adam. I really enjoyed this podcast! It’s helped me think about the people I want to help.

In my experience I think the giving mindset is very much ingrained into the American culture. Everyone seems to be helping each other out.

Whereas in the UK, where I’m based – people tend to be that much more reluctant to help without thinking.

Any other Brits notice that?

Ravi Peal-Shankar

Hi Derek

I suppose unconditional giving and unconditional receiving are two sides of the same coin. The Yin and Yang. Maintaining a balance could be the key!

Excellent interview Derek!

Kind Regards



1) I once snagged a great new job opportunity because I volunteered at a fundraiser event for an old teacher of mine and ended up making a crucial connection at the event.

2) On the flip side of the coin, I once went on a job interview, shared a bunch of information & ideas–and then didn’t get the job. But they ended up using my ideas anyway.


    Katie, you are not alone. This has happened with me at least ‘a million’ times ! List Includes some fortune 500 companies as well.

    A million is little sarcastic. I am not that bad candidate. I did not give those many interviews ! I was a brand consultant. The problem is when you work as a brand consultant, you got to pitch something cool to your client. If you don’ find it cool, they wont buy. Same goes for interviews etc. The best ploy make your idea so unique that only you can execute it.

    Now, I don’t utter words like hello, thank you etc without taking money 🙂 Top of it I do an agreement even before meeting my client.



1. Tell me about a time when you offered someone help – and it paid off for you and them.

I offered to help a friend with his job transition. He hated his job and wanted out. Sadly, he was in debt. So we created a plan. He sucked it up, got another gig on the weekends for extra money, saved like an animal, cut expenses, and was able to quit his crappy job within a year.

He was happy because he was liberated and I worked with him constantly. I was happy because I now had a case study for my blog. Win-win.

2. Tell me about another time when you offered someone help – and it came back to bite you.

I once offered to help someone with their working out. I didn’t realize that I was taking on the role of life coach. They came to me about every minor issue, all while forgetting about the training that I offered to help out on.


Its funny that this topic comes up. I was thinking about this the other day. But in s different light. When I see my customers am I acting a manner that portrays myself as s helpful insightful person that generates long term relationships? I think that sometimes we all need to step back a look at the big picture. I know that from time to time I do. Great stuff keep it going!! Andy

Melissa G Wilson

This goes back to “The Tipping Point” when Gladwell talked about Maven (those smart folks), Sales People and Connectors. In my research and training with quite a large number of Fortune 500 companies, I would add that there are Givers, Takers and Exchangers. To give is wonderful. To exchange is superb. Here you give but also request support. This exchange of connections with others that lead to great opportunities can then create a ripple of good outcomes, not just for you but for others (eg your community) and even the person who helped you in the first place.


These categories very similar to the blood group categorizations (universal donors, universal receivers and others)!

Some people just want to take advantage and cut corners. If they can seek help they will not do it themselves. So by not helping them in their task, you may actually helping them in the long run.


The mp3 link doesn’t open on an Android device. Or maybe it’s just my phone

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