Adam Grant

All Photos 12 hours ago
Bullies don't suffer from low self-esteem. Their self-esteem is typically high but unstable. Their egos are like balloons: inflated and fragile enough to pop at the slightest needle. Under threat, they lash out. This research explains a surprising amount of online behavior.
Many of the people who are most excited to learn about leadership are narcissists. Data: people with inflated egos are drawn to theories that glorify leader dominance and charisma. Great leaders view their roles as an act of service, not an avenue for authority and attention.
It isn't failure that holds you back. It's the emotional baggage you carry afterward. Self-doubt, regret, disappointment, and embarrassment are instruction manuals for learning. The goal isn't to dwell on what went wrong yesterday. It's to discover what you can do better today.
The ultimate test of success is not whether you're proud of what you've achieved. It's whether you're proud of who you've become. Accomplishments highlight your skills. Relationships reveal your values. If excellence is what you do, character is what you do for others.
When someone doesn't buy your idea, remember this: you might not either if you weren't selling it. Data: 57% of people rejected their own argument when they thought it was someone else's. Critical thinking is holding yourself to the same reasoning standards as you hold others.
At the root of our polarization problem is a deficit of intellectual humility. Too many people refuse to admit that they might be wrong. Diversity of thought opens minds. Intensity of conviction closes them. Knowing your knowledge is incomplete is a prerequisite for learning.
“Sorry for the slow reply” is a symptom of unrealistic demands in an always-on culture. If you didn’t commit to a response deadline, stop apologizing and drop the guilt—you’re not late. A healthier message is gratitude for reasonable expectations: “Thanks for your patience.”
Perfection isn’t just impossible. It’s a counterproductive goal. Perfectionists are more likely to burn out and less likely to embrace new challenges. Success depends on high standards, not being flawless. The target is not perfection—it's excellence.
If you're surprised by the feedback you get at a performance review, your boss has failed. Good managers don't wait for formal meetings to help you grow. They make it a daily priority. The sooner you get feedback, the sooner you can break bad habits and learn better ones.
The arrival fallacy is the illusion that joy lies at a destination ahead. Achieving a goal is not like walking through a portal. You don’t magically become happier when you graduate, get promoted, or win an award. The best way to improve your well-being is to change your path.
Authenticity is being who you are. You aim to make your identity visible to others. Integrity is becoming who you say you are. You strive to internalize the image you project to others. Self-expression depends on knowing yourself. Self-expansion comes from evolving yourself.
More than burnout and pay, the Great Resignation is driven by toxic cultures. What makes a culture toxic: disrespectful, noninclusive, unethical, cutthroat, and abusive behaviors. If leaders don't take toxicity at least as seriously as performance, Houston, we have a problem.
Acts of kindness shouldn't be described as random. They aren't arbitrary or unintentional. They stem from deeply held values or strongly felt emotions. Helping is an expression of care. It's a decision that someone's well-being matters to you—and an effort to matter to them.
We often underestimate introverts because they exude less confidence than extraverts. What matters is the competence they possess, not the conviction they express. Bet on the person who does the most preparation over the one who shows the most passion.
Free speech shouldn't be a license to troll. Study of 36,000 Reddit communities: -38% of all attacks are started by 0.1% of communities -74% are initiated by only 1% Toxic platforms let hostility run rampant. Healthy ones have moderators and penalties for repeated aggression.
It's official: @elonmusk is buying @Twitter. Serious question: how many complex companies can one person lead responsibly at the same time?
Happiness is not a function of what you achieve. It's a function of how you spend your time. Success is a temporary thrill. Happiness lies in doing daily activities that bring you joy. There's always a new mountain to climb. You don't have to anchor your emotions to the summit.
The saddest kind of cynicism is denying that people can change. You're not the exact same person as 10 years ago. Your opinions, habits, and values have evolved. Others have too. A vital part of believing in people is seeing their potential for growth.…
Interviewer: Why are you the best candidate for this job? Me: Isn't that your job to figure out?
Every workplace should have at least one day a week with no meetings—possibly more. 76 companies tested meeting-free days. Productivity & satisfaction increased, stress dropped, communication & cooperation improved. Blocking out time to focus is good for people and performance.
The highest compliment from someone who disagrees with you is not “You were right.” It’s “You made me think.” Good arguments help us recognize complexity where we once saw simplicity. The ultimate purpose of debate is not to produce consensus. It’s to promote critical thinking.
The flexibility people want most isn't remote work. It's to set their own hours. They want to control their time—to choose when and how much they work. Offering freedom sounds like a risk, but squashing it is also a risk. Stars are the first to leave.
Vacations and perks aren't cures for exhaustion. They're temporary bandages to stop the bleeding. The first principle of fighting burnout is to reduce demands. Stop overloading teams with stressful tasks and expecting one person to do multiple jobs.…
Compassion isn't a cause of burnout. It's a source of energy. Data: Being kind to others can reduce cynicism. Being kind to yourself can lessen exhaustion. Kindness restores belonging, control, & confidence. The times when you need a hand are often the best times to extend one.
Don’t mistake a lapse in judgment for a lack of character. We all have moments when we fail to live up to our principles. Humility is how quickly you recognize it, and integrity is how hard you work to rectify it. Character is striving to become the person you claim to be.
In toxic relationships, people ignore your boundaries. Their priorities trump yours. In healthy relationships, people respect your boundaries. They accept your agency. In caring relationships, people protect your boundaries. They help you keep your promises to yourself.
Quitting your job isn't being disloyal to your boss. Sometimes it's the only way to stay loyal to yourself. If work threatens your well-being, leaving is an act of self-preservation. If work violates your values, quitting is an expression of integrity.
Working from home 2 days a week is good for people and organizations. Experiment: 1600 people, 6 months. Being randomly assigned to 3 days onsite (vs. 5): -Quitting down 35%, sick days down 12% -Increased satisfaction -No cost to performance or promotions The future is hybrid.
Reducing your smartphone use is better for your well-being than stopping cold turkey. Experiment: 4 months after decreasing smartphone use by 1 hr/day, people were happier, less depressed & anxious, and led healthier lifestyles. Digital moderation beats digital abstinence.
The person who makes you smarter isn't always the smartest one in the room. Often it's the most curious one in the room. "Why do we do that?" leads you to question old assumptions. "What if?" opens your eyes to new possibilities. Inquisitive people are catalysts for learning.
Creativity begins to die when we fail to celebrate curiosity. We reward students for getting the right answer, but not for asking good questions. We promote managers for delivering results, but not for developing new ideas. Encouraging imagination is the mother of invention.
Many kids with so-called learning disabilities are probably just young for their grade. Study of 388k Finnish kids over 7 years: December birthdays had 77% higher rates of learning disorder diagnoses than January birthdays. We need to stop confusing maturity with ability.
It’s uncomfortable to end a friendship or pause a partnership. It’s unkind to stop responding. Ghosting is cowardice plus selfishness. It protects them from awkwardness and deprives you of closure. Silence doesn’t avoid conflict. It offloads it onto the person who’s ghosted.
Toxic positivity is pressuring people to look on the bright side. They have to suppress anxiety, anger, sadness, and grief. Healthy support is shielding people from the dark side. You invite them to express their pain, and show them they're not alone and won't feel it forever.
How to disagree without being disagreeable: 1. Show respect: Your views matter to me 2. Ask for permission to challenge: Can we dance? 3. Signal helping, not attacking: I'd love to pressure-test that 4. Express openness: Curious to hear your reactions. What should I rethink?
It's not your job to fix a toxic workplace from the bottom. If leaders at the top aren't committed to change, the best way to stay sane is to shield yourself and support your team. Your responsibility is to protect your well-being, your career, and the people you care about.
Restricting people from discussing significant events is a form of segregation. Denying entire groups the right to speak on social issues creates a culture of silence rather than voice. Disagree with what I say, not whether I have the right to say it.…
Leaders who put power above people make themselves weaker. Oppressed groups underachieve. Leaders who serve a higher purpose make people stronger. Empowered groups overachieve. David fighting for something can beat Goliath fighting for nothing.
Assault is not an expression of love. It's a symptom of what psychologists call precarious manhood. In cultures of honor, men rationalize aggression as a means of maintaining respect, and perpetuate cycles of violence. The best way to protect others is to break the cycle.
Big career decisions don’t come with a map, but all you need is a compass. The right next move is the one that brings you a step closer to living your core values. In an unpredictable world, you can’t make a master plan. You can only gauge whether you’re on a meaningful path.
Reaching your goals is not success if you compromise your values along the way. Getting ahead shouldn't force you to leave people behind. No accomplishment is worth sacrificing kindness or integrity. Ambition shapes what you achieve. Character is defined by how you achieve it.
You don’t need to be the smartest one in the room or the hardest worker on the team to prove your value. You just have to be more thoughtful than those who work harder and more dependable than those who think harder. We put our trust in people who are reliable and reflective.
The untold story of 2021: people became kinder. Global rates of helping strangers, volunteering, and giving to charity are nearly 25% above pre-pandemic levels. The dominant response to suffering is not selfishness. It's compassion. The worst of times bring out the best in us.
Many parents try to protect their kids by teaching them that the world is a dangerous place. 6 studies: people who believe the world is generally good and safe have better mental health and more success. Kids can learn to see most people as good and still guard against the bad.
We judge people too much by the opinions they give and too little by the values they live. You don't have to like their point to admire their courage in making it. Decency is avoiding disrespect, not avoiding disagreement. Integrity is trying to get it right, not being right.
For most of human history, ignorance was inevitable. There were limited channels for information to spread. As knowledge becomes more freely available, ignorance is increasingly a choice. Opening your mind to evidence that challenges your opinions opens the door to learning.
The highest form of debate isn't about one person declaring victory. It's about both people making a discovery. The goal isn't to defend your reasons and attack theirs. It's to sharpen your reasoning. Good arguments shift what you think. Great arguments change how you think.
It's depressing to ruminate about the doors that closed yesterday. It's liberating to look for the doors that are open today. You can't change who you've been. It's never too late to choose who you want to become. Identity is a decision, not a destiny.…
The most underrated tool of persuasion is curiosity. A natural response to disagreement is to attack what people think. A more inviting alternative is to be genuinely fascinated by how they think. Curiosity is contagious. When advocacy closes minds, inquiry can open them.
In toxic cultures, people get promoted for results even if they destroy relationships. Abuse is a price to pay for high performance. In healthy cultures, no level of individual excellence justifies undermining people. You’re not a high performer if you don't elevate others.
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