Adam Grant: Give me feedback

Rachel Botsman's Trust Issues: Episode 06


Adam Grant’s career is an ongoing success story.

Switching from Junior Olympic diving to organisational psychology, Adam became the youngest tenured professor at Wharton and has received multiple teaching awards. He also has four New York Times bestsellers under his belt and currently hosts the chart-topping TED podcast, WorkLife.

Adam GrantBut as he reveals to Rachel in this two-part episode, Adam is never quite satisfied. He’s on a constant quest for self-improvement.

The question is: do we earn people’s trust by impressing them – or should we sometimes show (and accept) our imperfections?

Adam’s mind is a trove of fascinating psychology research. Here is a list of the theorists he recommends on trust:

  • Professor Alison Fragale’s paper on the Power of Powerless Speech
  • Eliot Aronson’s paper on the pratfall and increasing our attractiveness to others
  • Daniel Coyle’s book The Culture Code details ‘the vulnerability loop’
  • Jonathan Evans and colleagues article on how self-deprecating humour helps men and hurts women.
  • Adam regularly shares new research on Twitter, or for weekly insights into organisational psychology, subscribe to his newsletter Granted.
  • To find out what happened to the Italian, the American and the Russian astronaut – listen to the WorkLife podcast episode on How Astronauts Build Trust.


“Intuition is a source of information, it’s a data point we should learn from but it shouldn’t drive our decision making, we should incorporate it.”