“When you feel like you’re not productive, it’s not necessarily because you’re lazy or because you have bad habits, it’s because you’re not working on the right projects and you haven’t found the ones that are intrinsically motivating and meaningful to you.” — Adam Grant
Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) is an organizational psychologist at Wharton, where he has been the top-rated professor for seven straight years. He is an expert in how we can find motivation and meaning, and lead more generous and creative lives. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of four books that have sold over two million copies and been translated into 35 languages: Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His books have been recognized as among the year’s best by Amazon, The Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, and The Wall Street Journal and been praised by J.J. Abrams, Richard Branson, Bill and Melinda Gates, Malcolm Gladwell, and Malala Yousafzai.
Adam hosts the TED podcast WorkLife, and his TED talks have been viewed more than 20 million times. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NBA, and The Gates Foundation. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers, Fortune’s 40 under 40, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and received distinguished scientific achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation. Adam writes for The New York Times on work and psychology and serves on The Department of Defense Innovation Board.
He received his B.A. from Harvard and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and he is a former magician and junior Olympic springboard diver.
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Want to hear an episode with the author of one of Adam’s most-gifted books? — Listen to my conversation with Susan Cain about her love for minor key music and how she became a public speaking introvert. (Stream below or right-click here to download):
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Adam Grant:
- Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant
- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg
- Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
- Power Moves: Lessons from Davos by Adam Grant
- Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead? The New York Times
- The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
- Adam Grant Is (Not) Superman, Philadelphia Magazine
- Bridgewater Associates
- How to Love Criticism, WorkLife with Adam Grant
- The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers by Adam Grant, TED 2016
- A CV of Failures by Melanie Stefan, Nature
- The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
- OCD Types, OCD Institutes
- How Do Simple Positive Activities Increase Well-Being? by Sonja Lyubomirsky and Kristin Layous, APS
- Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management. by Adam Grant, The New York Times
- Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule by Paul Graham
- Who said, “Those Who Mind Don’t Matter, and Those Who Matter Don’t Mind?” Quote Investigator
- Research on Behavioral Integrity: A Promising Construct for Positive Organizational Scholarship, Cornell University
- No, You Can’t Ignore Email. It’s Rude. by Adam Grant, The New York Times
- A Case for Inbox Infinity, The Atlantic
- Yesterbox by Tony Hsieh
- Microsoft Outlook
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
- The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
- Career Advice by Scott Adams, Dilbert Blog
- The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life by Timothy Ferriss
- Tim Ferriss’s Deal with Amazon Is Both an Outlier and a Harbinger, The Idea Logical Company
- Nielsen BookScan, Wikipedia
- What About Bob?
- Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think by Tasha Eurich
- Your Hidden Personality, WorkLife with Adam Grant
- Bain & Company
- Reflected Best Self Exercise, Center for Positive Organizations, University of Michigan
- 360 Degree Feedback: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Balance Careers
- The Center for Creative Leadership
- Team USA Diving
Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.
- Adam began his career as a professor who was so nervous he made his students physically shake in their seats. What was he teaching, and how did soliciting feedback from these students help him improve his form?
- What is Adam’s challenge network, how did he assemble it, and what tips does he have for our listeners who want to not only survive criticism but grow from it?
- What kind of informal challenge network do I currently utilize — especially when I’m writing?
- What do the structure and frequency of Adam’s challenge network look like?
- How does Adam turn praise — faint or otherwise — into something he can actually use?
- Why does Adam keep a resume of his failures?
- How did Adam accidentally write his first book, why did he throw away the majority of its first draft, and what simple advice did his agent offer that made him a more engaging writer by the time he was ready to write a viable second draft?
- In spite of the fact that Adam doesn’t consider himself a wizard of time management, he still manages to get a lot done in a day. What does he manage well instead?
- The efficacy of chunking or sprinkling good deeds, how Adam minimizes the chance he’ll break a time commitment, and how he makes up for it when it does happen.
- How has the way I renegotiate broken commitments changed over time, and how has this changed the way I react when others have to break commitments to me?
- What’s proper email protocol: inbox zero, or inbox infinity?
- What are Adam’s processes for dealing with email?
- How does Adam prioritize who gets time out of his day? What correspondence earns a categorical no? What common lie does Adam refuse to tell?
- How does Adam ensure he’s not spending the majority of his life answering emails? What would prompt an intervention from his triage team, and where does an email go from there? Who makes up the triage team?
- How does Adam choose projects? What’s the appeal of writing a book over a series of articles?
- How does Adam determine if a project has succeeded or failed? For that matter, how do I?
- In what ways can projects that seem like failures lead to success — or pay unexpected dividends?
- What books does Adam recommend and gift most often?
- Other tools and questions that have helped Adam further seek out his own blind spots.
- Adam points out that not only do we have blind spots about our weaknesses, but we often have them about our strengths. He calls them bright spots. We compare how the Reflected Best Self Exercise and 360 interview process examine our blind and bright spots and guide us toward appropriate use of the information uncovered.
- I reveal the typical structure of my weekly routines, and Adam weighs in on routines he’s changed up lately — including a conscious attempt to become less routine-driven.
- What does Adam’s workout regimen look like, and what prompted the former junior Olympic springboard diver to recently revisit diving after a hiatus of more than a decade?
- What would Adam’s billboard say?
- A common productivity mistake Adam sees people make and how to navigate around it.
- Adam asks me what big projects are currently in my sights, and what dream guests would I love to interview in the not-too-distant future?
- Parting thoughts.
- J.J. Abrams
- Richard Branson
- Bill Gates
- Melinda Gates
- Malcolm Gladwell
- Malala Yousafzai
- Ray Dalio
- Melanie Stefan
- Barry Schwartz
- Richard Pine
- Sonja Lyubomirsky
- Paul Graham
- Tony Hsieh
- Dr. Seuss
- Warren Buffett
- George Lucas
- Chip Heath
- Dan Heath
- Daniel Coyle
- Scott Adams
- Marc Andreessen
- Joe Rogan
- Marc Maron
- Chris Hardwick
- Carol Tavris
- Elliot Aronson
- Susan Cain
- Tasha Eurich
- Or Skolnik
- Joe Gebbia
- Rick Price
- Jack Dorsey
- LeBron James
- Mike Mancias
- Oprah Winfrey
- Howard Stern
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.