Nice guys finish ... first?

Why is this? Grant suggests that takers may temporarily succeed, but once found out they pay a hefty price. Most people are in fact eager to punish folks they perceive as takers: Studies show that we’ll choose to sacrifice our own gains if it means seeing justice meted out to someone we deem piggy.

Matchers don’t suffer in this way as a result of their attitudes. But they also don’t benefit. As Grant has written, “matchers often leave a transactional impression, as if they’re always keeping score.” We know where we stand with matchers, and for the most part we respect their moral code, but we grant them no particular credit for their behavior.

Meanwhile, givers construct valuable networks out of all the grateful colleagues who correctly perceive them as selfless and agenda-less. Givers share credit without demanding any in return, which spurs co-workers to flock to their projects. Their generosity earns them deep and lasting respect, which translates into potency. When a taker suggests an idea, others are naturally skeptical—what’s in it for her? But when a known giver has a notion, people are willing to get on board out of a sense that it must come from a place of genuine good will. What’s more, Grant argues, givers’ justified sense that they are contributing to a greater good helps keep them motivated and fulfilled in their work, which in turn improves their output.