thinkers50 ranked thinker

Adam Grant

Specialist in organizational psychology, focusing on originality, motivation, non-conformity, generosity, meaningful work, and success.

01. ranked thinker

Ranked #6 in 2021.

Previous positions: #10 (2019), #8 (2017) and #25 (2015).


Named an All-American springboard diver in 1999.


Named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2015.


Grant studies how we can find motivation and meaning and lead more generous and creative lives. He has identified three groups of people – givers, takers, and matchers. Givers are inclined to give their favours generously, while matchers look for a quid pro quo and takers help others only if there is something in it for them. Grant’s continuous research focuses on personality traits, leadership, collaboration, culture, and organizational change.




Grant was tenured at Wharton while still in his 20s, became Wharton’s youngest full professor, and has received the Excellence in Teaching award for every class he has taught. Before taking up a career in academia he was the advertising director at Let’s Go Publications and a professional magician. He earned his PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, completing it in less than three years.


Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy (with Sheryl Sandberg, Knopf, 2017); Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Penguin, 2017); Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (W&N, 2013); In the Company of Givers and Takers (Harvard Business Review, April 2013).




Media Picks


Adam Grant is one of the great social scientists of our time.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet