Top 100 Adam Grant Quotes

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“The culture of a workplace – an organization’s values, norms and practices – has a huge impact on our happiness and success.”

― Adam Grant

“It’s ironic that when you go through a tragedy, you appreciate more. You realize how fragile life is and that there are so many things to still be thankful for.”

― Adam Grant

“The mark of higher education isn’t the knowledge you accumulate in your head. It’s the skills you gain about how to learn.”

― Adam Grant

“By admitting your inadequacies, you show that you’re self-aware enough to know your areas for improvement – and secure enough to be open about them.”

― Adam Grant

“Being a nice person is about courtesy: you’re friendly, polite, agreeable, and accommodating. When people believe they have to be nice in order to give, they fail to set boundaries, rarely say no, and become pushovers, letting others walk all over them.”

― Adam Grant

“When I think about voting, I can skip it and still see myself as a good citizen. But when I think about being a voter, now the choice reflects on my character. It casts a shadow.”

― Adam Grant

“When takers talk about mistakes, they’re usually quick to place the blame on other people. Givers are more likely to say ‘Here’s the mistake I made; I learned the following from it. Here are the steps I’m taking to make sure I don’t let people down in the future.’”

― Adam Grant

“Bragging about yourself violates norms of modesty and politeness – and if you were really competent, your work would speak for itself.”

― Adam Grant

“If you want to be a generous giver, you have to watch out for selfish takers.”

― Adam Grant

“The most promising ideas begin from novelty and then add familiarity.”

― Adam Grant

“I believe that the most meaningful way to succeed is to help other people succeed.”

― Adam Grant

“Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world.”

― Adam Grant

“For years, I believed that anything worth doing was worth doing early. In graduate school, I submitted my dissertation two years in advance. In college, I wrote my papers weeks early and finished my thesis four months before the due date. My roommates joked that I had a productive form of obsessive-compulsive disorder.”

― Adam Grant

“To get real diversity of thought, you need to find the people who genuinely hold different views and invite them into the conversation.”

― Adam Grant

“When it comes to landing a good job, many people focus on the role. Although finding the right title, position, and salary is important, there’s another consideration that matters just as much: culture.”

― Adam Grant

“Creativity may be hard to nurture, but it’s easy to thwart.”

― Adam Grant

“Successful givers secure their oxygen masks before coming to the assistance of others. Although their motives may be less purely altruistic, their actions prove more altruistic, because they give more.”

― Adam Grant

“From a motivation perspective, helping others enriches the meaning and purpose of our own lives, showing us that our contributions matter and energizing us to work harder, longer, and smarter.”

― Adam Grant

“We have many identities, and we can’t be authentic to them all. The best we can do is be sincere in our efforts to earn the values we claim.”

― Adam Grant

“When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns.”

― Adam Grant

“We all have thoughts and feelings that we believe are fundamental to our lives but that are better left unspoken.”

― Adam Grant

“When a salesperson truly cares about you, trust forms, and you’re more likely to buy, come back for repeat business, and refer new customers.”

― Adam Grant

“When you develop a reputation for being responsive and generous, an ever-expanding mountain of requests will come your way.”

― Adam Grant

“To make sense of bossiness, we need to tease apart two fundamental aspects of social hierarchy that are often lumped together: power and status. Power lies in holding a formal position of authority or controlling important resources. Status involves being respected or admired.”

― Adam Grant

“If an organization values innovation, you can assume it’s safe to speak up with new ideas, leaders will listen, and your voice matters.”

― Adam Grant

“Procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps.”

― Adam Grant

“Some people are selfish in all of their relationships. Those people are called sociopaths.”

― Adam Grant

“The opposite of an underminer is a supporter. When colleagues are supportive, they go out of their way to be givers rather than takers, working to enhance our productivity, make us look good, share ideas, and provide timely help.”

― Adam Grant

“Once people take ownership over the decision to receive feedback, they’re less defensive about it.”

― Adam Grant

“Some of the greatest moments in human history were fueled by emotional intelligence.”

― Adam Grant

“Agreeable people are warm and friendly. They’re nice; they’re polite. You find a lot of them in Canada.”

― Adam Grant

“When medical students focus on helping others, they’re able to weather the slings and arrows of long hours and devastating health outcomes: they know their colleagues and patients are depending on them.”

― Adam Grant

“Takers are self-serving in their interactions. It’s all about what can you do for me.”

― Adam Grant

“Takers believe in a zero-sum world, and they end up creating one where bosses, colleagues and clients don’t trust them. Givers build deeper and broader relationships – people are rooting for them instead of gunning for them.”

― Adam Grant

“No one wants to hear everything that’s in your head. They just want you to live up to what comes out of your mouth.”

― Adam Grant

“Power frees us from the chains of conformity.”

― Adam Grant

“We all have original ideas. Even if we don’t see ourselves as supercreative or as wild nonconformists, we have insights every day about how the world around us could be better. It might be a better way of running meetings in your office that would be less mind-numbing. It might be a little twist on a product or a service.”

― Adam Grant

“Saying no frees you up to say yes when it matters most.”

― Adam Grant

“When writing ‘Give and Take’ and ‘Originals,’ the predominant emotion for me was curiosity.”

― Adam Grant

“In the workplace, many people become helicopter managers, hovering over their employees in a well-intentioned but ill-fated attempt to provide support. These are givers gone awry – people so desperate to help others that they develop a white knight complex and end up causing harm instead.”

― Adam Grant

“Being a giver is not about saying yes to all of the people all of the time to all of the requests.”

― Adam Grant

“If we want girls to receive positive reinforcement for early acts of leadership, let’s discourage bossy behavior along with banning bossy labels. That means teaching girls to engage in behaviors that earn admiration before they assert their authority.”

― Adam Grant

“You want people who choose to follow because they genuinely believe in ideas, not because they’re afraid to be punished if they don’t. For startups, there’s so much pivoting that’s required that if you have a bunch of sheep, you’re in bad shape.”

― Adam Grant

“Meditation isn’t snake oil. For some people, meditation might be the most efficient way to reduce stress and cultivate mindfulness. But it isn’t a panacea. If you don’t meditate, there’s no need to stress out about it.”

― Adam Grant

“To get important work done, most leaders organize people into teams. They believe that when people collaborate toward a common goal, great things can happen. Yet in reality, the whole is often much less than the sum of the parts.”

― Adam Grant

“Conformity is dangerous.”

― Adam Grant

“Creativity is generating ideas that are novel and useful. I define originals as people who go beyond dreaming up the ideas and take initiative to make their visions a reality.”

― Adam Grant

“Originals are nonconformists, people who not only have new ideas but take action to champion them. They are people who stand out and speak up. Originals drive creativity and change in the world. They’re the people you want to bet on.”

― Adam Grant

“Procrastinating is a vice when it comes to productivity, but it can be a virtue for creativity.”

― Adam Grant

“If we want people to vote, we need to make it a larger part of their self-image.”

― Adam Grant

“If you’ve ever had a coworker actively interfere with your productivity, try to make you look bad, steal your ideas, or give you false information, you’ve been the victim of undermining.”

― Adam Grant

“When people are depending on us, we end up finding strength we didn’t know we had.”

― Adam Grant

“For women to achieve equal representation in leadership roles, it’s important that they have the backing of men as well as women.”

― Adam Grant

“To grow, people need to be challenged.”

― Adam Grant

“I’m a precrastinator. Yes, that’s an actual term. You know that panic you feel a few hours before a big deadline when you haven’t done anything yet? I just feel that a few months ahead of time.”

― Adam Grant

“The great thing about a culture of givers is that’s not a delusion – it’s reality.”

― Adam Grant

“To generate creative ideas, it’s important to start from an unusual place. But to explain those ideas, they have to be connected to something familiar.”

― Adam Grant

“As more women ‘lean in’ and we collectively continue to fight sexism, there’s another barrier to progress that hasn’t been addressed: Many men who would like to see more women leaders are afraid to speak up about it.”

― Adam Grant

“In the conversation about women in leadership, male voices are noticeably absent.”

― Adam Grant

“As a man, it is true that I will never know what it is like to be a woman. As an organizational psychologist, though, I feel a responsibility to bring evidence to bear on dynamics of work life that affect all of us, not only half of us.”

― Adam Grant

“From a relationship perspective, givers build deeper and broader connections.”

― Adam Grant

“When you’re good at controlling your own emotions, you can disguise your true feelings. When you know what others are feeling, you can tug at their heartstrings and motivate them to act against their own best interests.”

― Adam Grant

“Leaders who master emotions can rob us of our capacities to reason. If their values are out of step with our own, the results can be devastating.”

― Adam Grant

“Instead of assuming that emotional intelligence is always useful, we need to think more carefully about where and when it matters.”

― Adam Grant

“If I had the day off and knew everyone else was voting, I wouldn’t miss it. It would become a routine part of my responsibility as a citizen – like paying taxes, only less soul crushing.”

― Adam Grant

“The more important argument against grade curves is that they create an atmosphere that’s toxic by pitting students against one another. At best, it creates a hypercompetitive culture, and at worst, it sends students the message that the world is a zero-sum game: Your success means my failure.”

― Adam Grant

“If you want your children to bring original ideas into the world, you need to let them pursue their passions, not yours.”

― Adam Grant

“In college, my idea of a productive day was to start writing at 7 A.M. and not leave my chair until dinnertime.”

― Adam Grant

“I spend a lot of my time trying to help leaders build cultures of productive givers.”

― Adam Grant

“I have two rules for a great book: make me think and make me smile.”

― Adam Grant

“I’m not a fan of being inauthentic.”

― Adam Grant

“Authenticity is a virtue. But just as you can have too little authenticity, you can also have too much.”

― Adam Grant

“In life, there’s no such thing as an unmitigated good.”

― Adam Grant

“Negative feedback can make people feel inferior.”

― Adam Grant

“Perhaps gaining power doesn’t cause people to act like takers. It simply creates the opportunity for people who think like takers to express themselves.”

― Adam Grant

“One of the signs of a bad coworker is a pattern of persistent undermining – intentionally hindering a colleague’s success, reputation, or relationships.”

― Adam Grant

“Frenemies are worse than enemies, and it’s not just in the workplace.”

― Adam Grant

“Teams need the opportunity to learn about each other’s capabilities and develop productive routines. So once we get the right people on the bus, let’s make sure they spend some time driving together.”

― Adam Grant

“Tweeting has taught me the discipline to say more with fewer words.”

― Adam Grant

“I love discovering compelling new ideas and doing what I can to help spread the word about them.”

― Adam Grant

“When young women get called bossy, it’s often because they’re trying to exercise power without status. It’s not a problem that they’re being dominant; the backlash arises because they’re overstepping their status.”

― Adam Grant

“Productive givers focus on acting in the long-term best interests of others, even if it’s not pleasant. They have the courage to give the critical feedback we prefer not to hear, but truly need to hear. They offer tough love, knowing that we might like them less, but we’ll come to trust and respect them more.”

― Adam Grant

“In the eyes of many people, giving doesn’t count unless it’s completely selfless. In reality, though, giving isn’t sustainable when it’s completely selfless.”

― Adam Grant

“If you want to find out if someone’s a taker, it’s not actually that useful to know what they’ve accomplished. What you want to want to know is how they explain them.”

― Adam Grant

“If you don’t hire originals, you run the risk of people disagreeing but not voicing their dissent.”

― Adam Grant

“It’s true that every leader needs followers. We can’t all be nonconformists at every moment, but conformity is dangerous – especially for an entity in formation.”

― Adam Grant

“A resilient culture has a certain amount of resistance embedded in it. Not so much to capsize it, but enough so that it doesn’t atrophy.”

― Adam Grant

“Being a magician taught me how powerful the element of surprise can be. In each book, I’ve tried to work that in – an unexpected twist in a story that reveals an insight, a counter intuitive study that turns your beliefs upside-down.”

― Adam Grant

“I want my children to know that we often become resilient for others.”

― Adam Grant

“Kids who evolve into creative adults tend to have a strong moral compass.”

― Adam Grant

“I try to get as close as I can to cleaning out my inbox every night.”

― Adam Grant

“Complex tasks are often better handled in the back of our mind, and that’s often true of creative tasks – when you have something complex to deal with in writing or research or responding to an email. I’ll start working, put it aside, and sometimes I’ll wake up the next morning with a solution, or I’ll find one when I exercise.”

― Adam Grant

“I start a lot of things and purposely leave them unfinished. When I have a bunch of really long emails, and I need time to think about the response, I’ll actually start replying, leave them as drafts, and move onto something else mid-sentence.”

― Adam Grant

“I have lots of micro-goals of trying to get things done, whatever the amount of time available.”

― Adam Grant

“Geniuses don’t have better ideas than the rest of us. They just have more of them.”

― Adam Grant

“I can’t tell you that if you bring in a bunch of weird and different people, then a bunch of good things will happen. But I can tell you that if you hire a bunch of similar people and promote only the ones who are most similar, a bunch of bad things are likely to happen.”

― Adam Grant

“When trying to innovate, most people stop after 10-15 possibilities, failing to recognize that their first ideas are usually the most obvious ones.”

― Adam Grant

“When making decisions about people, stop confusing experience with evidence. Just as owning a car doesn’t make you an expert on engines, having a brain doesn’t mean you understand psychology.”

― Adam Grant

“Recognize that dissenting opinions are useful even when they’re wrong, and go out of your way to reward them.”

― Adam Grant

“People often believe that character causes action, but when it comes to producing moral children, we need to remember that action also shapes character.”

― Adam Grant
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