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Why you should give more than you get

Ramit Sethi

One of my goals is to take the typical advice you hear, deconstruct it, and instead of telling you 25 things you “should” do, actually show you the one thing that works.

In other words, is anyone else tired of experts telling you to “add value” without showing you HOW to do it?

If your answer is HELL YES RAMIT, we’re on the same page. So below, I’m going to show you a couple emails I sent in the last 3 weeks that show you exactly how this works.

I don’t have anything to sell. I don’t want anything from you. I just want you to succeed in life — and it’s my treat to be able to share some of the cool things I’ve learned along the way.

As you read, notice 3 things:

  • THIS is how you build personal and professional relationships. These days, if I call up a journalist or CEO or friend, they’re happy to help me. It’s not because of some super-duper fancy technique…it’s because of simply being cool and helpful for years and years.

  • Anyone can do this. You don’t need an Ivy League degree or a published book. Stop disqualifying yourself.

  • I want you to INSIST that anyone you read be able to show you exactly how their “tips” work. Notice when you read IWT, I don’t just tell you 2-3 things to do…I show you the exact system. When I tell you how to interview better than 99% of people, I show you the exact words to say, the exact body language to use, and the exact tests I ran. Same with this email. EXPECT THE BEST. You’re worth it.

OK, now that this email sounds like a feminine hygiene product, let’s get on with it.

These are REAL emails.

Example #1: I introduce my friend to a TV producer

The situation: I have a friend who’s a producer on a TV show. She emailed me asking if I had any ideas for the show. I could have sent her 20 ideas and positioned myself to get on the show.

Instead, I have a friend who would be even better for the show. So I introduced her to the producer. Watch how I did it.

Email conversation.

I knew someone that would be perfect, so I added tremendous value for both people by setting up an introduction.

Email conversation.

Email conversation.

Denise knew that she would have a great guest, and Amanda got introduced to a producer on a national talk show. Win-win for both and I felt great introducing two friends.

And here’s the exact e-mail introduction I made:

Email conversation.

Important Note: You’ll see that I don’t expect anything from Denise or Amanda. There’s no “what do I get out of this?” If you provide real value to your network, it opens you up to serendipity and will pay off in ways you could never predict.

Example #2: How to show gratitude

Here’s an example of how my friend Derek Sivers gave my name to someone from The New Yorker.

Email conversation.

One thing I learned is THANK PEOPLE FOR DOING NICE THINGS. Duh, sounds obvious, but let me count the times people don’t say thanks when I’ve hooked them up.

  • A college acquaintance moved to NYC asked me to connect her to some CEO at a company. She ended up getting the job because of my connection! Two years later, she asked me for another introduction. I ignored her email

  • I gave a first-time entrepreneur advice on pricing. They quadrupled profits in less than 1 month doing what I said. I only heard about this because I have a mutual friend.

  • Etc etc etc kill me

This introduction that Derek set up was a huge benefit to me. I wanted to make sure that Derek knew that so I sent him this e-mail to let him know I would be following up and I appreciated his help:

Email conversation.

Note: The e-mail is brief, but sincere. I make sure he knows how much I appreciated it (“It means the world to me”), that he was right on (“It’s exactly the kind of thing I’m looking to do”), and that I would take action (“I’ll follow up with her.”)

How to use this in your own life

THIS is how you add value. It’s not some vague, generic thing that happens when you’re a millionaire. It’s just about listening to what people want, and if you can make an introduction or a connection — or even a simple thank-you — doing it.

For example, next time you’re hanging out with a friend, take a genuine interest in what’s going on with them.

  • “Hey, what are you working on?”

  • “How’s that new IM soccer team going?”

  • “Anything I can help with?”

I challenge you to reach out to one person today and provide them with something without the expectation of anything in return.

Send a thank you note to your high school teacher!

Send an article to someone who’s not expecting it…and take an extra couple minutes to tell them exactly how it can help them!

There are a million ways to add value. Today, I wanted to show you a couple ways you can do it with your own friends and professional contacts.

All part of living a Rich Life.

I’m curious: What ONE THING will you do in the next 48 hours to add value? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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  1. avatar

    I just found your blog about a week ago, and I already love it. Here, let me put theory to practice:

    Thank you for writing such a great blog! I really appreciate the direct and practical tips, since they are much more functional than the brain-dump lists on many other blogs. I’ve already been practicing your three “social skills” tips (smiling, talking slower, asking questions), and I will continue to be a faithful reader.

    (how am I doing so far?)

    I’m meeting with some friends on Friday for a monthly gathering. A friend suggested that I bring supper. I wasn’t going to… but now I feel compelled to do so. I already sent an email confirming that I would love to feed everyone. Giving: it’s what’s for dinner.

  2. avatar

    Right relationships provide HUGE leverage in life. Relationships are a currency. It is surprising how many people don’t realize this and take relationships for granted (I am guilty myself and have started paying attention to creating and nurturing relationships very recently).

    Saying thank you seems like the most easy thing but a lot of people don;t do it. Again, most of them are not doing it because they are not thankful but because they are just not aware.

  3. avatar
    Laura Yamin

    I appreciate that you are sharing the insights of what has worked for me when it comes to growing my network. The simple act of connecting has been a turning point not only giving value to others but also in the long term growth.

    What I appreciate more is the thank you reminder. Seriously! A thank you email or even a handwritten note goes a long way. It only takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get it done.

  4. avatar

    I have an older friend-of-a-friend who wants to become more tech-savvy. She didn’t have a wireless network, and her friends complained that they couldn’t use wifi on their smartphones at her house.

    I build computers as a hobby. By pure coincidence, I had just upgraded my wireless router. The old router was sitting in my basement collecting dust. Yesterday, I called her and told her I had a router that I’d happily donate. She was overjoyed.

    I drove to her house and set it up. She was genuinely interested in how the router worked, and asked a lot of specific questions. I explained the differences between her router and my new one (data rates, transmission frequencies, etc.) I showed her how to connect wirelessly using my laptop. We did speed tests in different rooms in her house.

    Without realizing it, I probably spent over an hour talking to her. It turns out she’s a really good cook who’s experimented with the paleo diet. Recently, I’ve become interested in paleo and slow-carb cooking. Now I have someone I can call for recipe advice. She’s also friends with a small business owner that I used to work for.

    I was happy to help her, and I didn’t expect anything in return. In a week, I’ll email her and ask if her friends are happy with the wifi. (I have a reminder in my phone, so I don’t forget.)

  5. avatar

    I often dine at a local chain resturant because it is close to work, has some great food and a happy and interesting server. Today I am going to take the time to write a letter the the servers employer praising them on their food and on their servers ability to consistantly entertain me while.running a busy section and always anticipating my needs before I need to express them. win. win for the resturant and.the server.

  6. avatar

    I’m separating bulbs and preparing to plants to donate to the local museum’s garden.

  7. avatar

    This is absolutely amazing Ramit. Really good stuff. In the next 48 hours, I’m going to find an interesting, value-adding article to send to a friend of mine who I know just recently got interested in meta-learning. Cheers!

  8. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    Thanks for the excellent advice as always. I have recently been using the email introduction tactics you have mentioned and have a meeting this Thursday because of someone my friend introduced me to! I will definitely thank her for introducing me after I can tell her how much value it added. 🙂

  9. avatar

    I wonder who will be the first to genuinely attest ‘but I don’t know any important people/TV personalities/etc’….

    Tonight, I am going to send a new acquaintance a link to a blog on how to create a successful photography business. She is new to the market and I know the advice will help her start.

    I’ve come to know her recently and there isn’t anything that I think she can help me with. No harm in helping her.

    Giving = fulfilment 100%

  10. avatar

    I value integrity, kindness and following through with your word…in the next 48, I’m sending out affiliate payments who I know won’t ever pay me a dime because they have poor money health and habits, and because it’s part of my philosophy to partners. I’m keeping my word when it comes to receiving referrals that make my business grow and in turn I keep my word and hopefully help them grow. You get what you give, man.

  11. avatar

    Speak of the devil; I saved an article I wanted to send out to a few people who work in the relevant area. I always thought “send an article to follow up” to be pretty useless because how often do you find an article that’s directly relevant and that they wouldn’t know about? But this time I found a very nice and useful article on an obscure site because I follow a bunch of LinkedIn groups. I’m hoping to add value with email that includes the article, a short update about me, and a NRN.

  12. avatar

    I’m going to pitch an entrepreneur I really believe in (who owns an incredible boutique in LA) to a writer I think will be interested in featuring her on the nationally-recognized site he writes for. Thanks, Ramit, for the reminder that paying it forward always pays off.

  13. avatar

    I have a friend who has been involved in successful startups, and his next project is in a new area for him. He was explaining his idea to me, and it sounded similar to a grad school aquaintance’s PhD dissertation. I made the introduction between them, which the startup friend will benefit from because he will get research and background information in this topic area, and PhD friend will get the chance to do something useful with his dissertation (which he does not frequently get the chance to do, having switched careers). Hopefully this is helpful for both of them, or they at least appreciate the effort.

  14. avatar

    I’m going to drive 50 miles to visit an old friend of mine who is dying. We haven’t seen each other in four or five years, haven’t spoken on the phone in a year or more. But if he is awake he will be thrilled to see me, I know.

  15. avatar
    Sean Mysel

    Two things I’m going to do to add value:

    1) introduce friend with new golf product to another friend who’s an editor at a UK golf magazine

    2) Offered to counsel grad students at Columbia U. to find jobs

  16. avatar
    Erin O

    Great post! The two things I’m going to do to add value in the next 48 hours:

    1. Send my uninsured friend a referral for an amazing low-cost health care provider in her neighborhood.

    2. Set up a free meet-up for my friends who are all struggling to navigate the new Affordable Care Act system in New York. I’ve done a lot of research on the system and want to share what I know by facilitating a meet-up where we can all navigate the system and enroll together.

  17. avatar

    I’ve started setting up a basic web page with collections/lists of some of the best articles I’ve collected and referenced over the years (saved in Instapaper so I have all if the links. )

    Quick and dirty, nothing dynamic, just a page that curates and that busy people would find valuable since I give the random links some context.

    I can send people there and also build a little credibility and trust while doing it.

    Done and done.

  18. avatar

    Thanks Ramit for reminding to do this simple thing. It make me cry and feel gratitude for all I receive from the world. Keep doing what you are doing and be blessed!)))

  19. avatar

    A CEO at a new startup reached out to me a little over a week ago about me doing a sponsored post for her new app, and site. She and I had never connected before her email landed in my box, so I was more than shocked that such a biggie would reach out to me. She wanted more info, and handed me off to her staff. I have no idea what’s going to happen next.

    Today, I thanked her again for even thinking about my little (but one day will be big) site. You never know who is looking at your web currency, so it pays to be polite, be thankful and grateful.

  20. avatar

    Ramit – Thanks for the this practical post! I’ll watch the kids so that my other hard-working family members may relax, I’ll teach yoga to my elder family members, and I’ll cover teaching a class for my teacher.
    All the Best!

  21. avatar

    I’m marketing director for a “haunted house” type attraction in North Georgia, and our graphic designer has really gone above and beyond to help me meet deadlines. Today, I’m going to send him a thank you present for all of his help. I hope that helps add value!

  22. avatar
    Kjerste Lee

    My life has gotten increasingly stressful and busy since having a baby 20 months ago. I feel like my “free time” (ha!) is spent doing things that aren’t exactly what anyone would consider fun, like doing the laundry or getting veggies chopped for dinner. Everything that’s non-essential has basically fallen off the face of the earth, being a working mom who cares a crapload about her work and her family is no joke. One thing that I haven’t skimped on? Reading your emails. I ALWAYS find them fascinating, helpful, interesting, entertaining, relevant, and awesome. So thanks for being a badass Ramit, I love hearing from you.

  23. avatar

    I signed up as a Kiva Zip Trustee. I’ll ask my entrepreneur friends about their businesses with my ear open for a person that might benefit from a zero interest micro loan.

  24. avatar

    I am sending a bunch of physical postcards saying thank you to those who introduced me to great people in PDX and SEA during my trip there last week.

  25. avatar

    I solved a problem for a coworker this morning and then followed up by showing her how I solved it by finding some information in a database we’re using so she would be empowered to be able to do the same in the future vs. having to ask me.

    I also brought in a book to the office to share with another coworker regarding salary negotiation.

    In the next 48 hours (since the first two already happened/were planned before I read Ramit’s email) I will review my personal and work emails and answer one or more with appropriate gratitude and/or reaching out to share information that may help the recipient or someone they referenced.

  26. avatar
    Chris Peden

    As always, great post, Ramit.

    One thing I have tried to do on a daily basis is to endorse contacts skills on LinkedIn. I know how frustrating it can be to prove that you know a subject area, as prospective employers/clients may not believe you. My goal is to make it easier for my contacts to get promoted/get a better job because I endorse them for their skills.

    I also write for the Go Daddy Bookkeeping Service blog, and my editor sends me questions from the list serve they have where customers submit questions. I try to answer these to help out small business owners, and to help them not be so nervous about doing the accounting in their business.

  27. avatar
    Kwame Som-Pimpong

    I’m constantly adding value through articles, introductions, etc. I built this practice with the help of Caroline Ceniza-Levine at Six Figure Start.

    I just sent a thank you note to a good friend who made a nice introduction last week.

    Nice post.

  28. avatar
    Kathleen Welin

    First I am writing to thank you for providing this great information for free. It was a real breath of fresh air to hear you speak about helping others without expecting a thing in return. Good karma practices make sense and a nicer world to live in. I appreciate your good manners and decency in dealing with others.
    It is a relief to hear I can be a good person and experience “wealth” on many levels. Thank you.

  29. avatar

    I’m going to hand write a thank you note to my senior English teacher. She made me fall in love with a subject I hated. That newfound love opened up opportunities I never would have had otherwise, even down to the friendships I have now.

  30. avatar

    I’m going to invite a friend to lunch who I know misses social interaction since he’s a telecommuter and also invite a mutual friend who has been going through some tough times recently to help cheer him up.

  31. avatar

    Thanks for the great material!
    I am going to write and send a thank you to my Persuasive Writing professor. She is also the Admissions Counselor at my school , and has been a source of encouragement and support as I navigate returning to college (after 30 year absence), working full time, and still parenting my young children.

  32. avatar

    I plan to nominate Salman Khan (of the SAlman Khan Academy) for the best teacher to win a prize by the Minerva Foundation. I do not know him. He does not know me. I know he does great work. It benefits a HUGE number of people. And I just want him to be recognized even more, for his inititative!
    I need a few people who know of his work and would be willing to vouch for his work, and I need to find them in 48 hours…. Am sure I will.

  33. avatar

    I have a friend who’s been tutoring mid level professionals in her field for some time now and she’s thinking of turning it into a business. we spoke a few weeks back about her doing a course outline so potential clients can understand what she can offer.

    I’ll draft & email her a sample outline for one of the subject areas she covers in the course to get her going, since I work in a related field.

  34. avatar

    Been wanting to start a soccer coaching blog centered on “coaching with presence” (teaching rather than telling, adopting a more relatable coaching style). I’m going to start it up on tumblr and then add one article I’ve been wanting to write about the changes happening at a favorite team of mine and how coaches can learn from it. going to send a link to my friend to introduce him to the subject matter (or see if he has thoughts on it)

  35. avatar

    Love this, Ramit! Here’s my story:

    Last fall I was offered a PT bookkeeping gig. I’m not a strong math person, and I had a friend with a finance degree not working in the field who could use the experience. I set up an introduction and my friend got the job.

    A few months later, the bookkeeper at my friend’s other, non-finance job passed away unexpectedly. My friend assumed her title immediately, along with a huge pay increase and benefits. When the store owners came to town for the funeral, they told my friend to hire someone to develop a store website. My friend recommended me.

    Since then, I further developed my web skills and made some good money. Nearly seven months later, and it’s become a recurring side gig for me.

  36. avatar
    Joe L.

    I accept the challenge! I have a friend who is retiring from the Army and wants to go into Homeland Security but doesn’t know where to start. I also have another friend who has been with the local Homeland Security branch for several years. Within the next 48 hours, in going to set up a lunch meeting for all of us, and get them both connected and add value to my network.

  37. avatar

    Hi Ramit

    Assume newsletter you sent, i couldn’t more agree.
    I will send a really interesting article about meditation to a journalist, who was mocking me the last weekend about it, saying that’s all BS.
    I told him about the article and he sounded interested to have a look.

  38. avatar

    I re-contacted the best child therapist in the city to tell her how thankful I am to her, and everything she has done for our family. In our conversation I refreshed my knowledge of what things a family can do when they first discover their child is in crisis. I asked if her waiting list can take another referral. I was granted permission to pass along her contact info. to another family who is at the beginning of a long hard road. Then, I passed along the whole info. package to the school counselor so that she could pass it on to the family. I also offered myself in whatever capacity might be helpful to all parties involved, when/if they are ready.

  39. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    Thanks for the concretes examples. I can see where I’ve been going wrong (not screening my recommendations enough, not sending instant thank yous). I will follow-up with a friend who gave me a contact immediately and follow-up with the contact.

  40. avatar

    1. Sent an email to a college friend asking what’s up and that it would be cool to talk soon and catch up.

    2. Posted a marketing positioning idea and an easy upsell idea for someone having challenges on an online marketing group.

    Time taken: less than a few minutes.

  41. avatar

    Ramit! Thank you again.

    I’m going to send a thank you card to 2 people who gave me informational interviews.

    The concrete email examples you provided are sooooo helpful.


  42. avatar

    To add value, I’m going to write one of my favorite former professors. She has since left our alma mater (she received her bachelors, masters, and 20yrs tenure at our school), but is building another incredible design program at her new university. Of all teachers, Dr. Sanders was my mentor and really took time to hone me as a designer. I’m thanking her to remind her how great of a teacher she is, and that I appreciate her.

  43. avatar

    On a completely different note, I love working w/other “creatives”. Sometimes literally side by side, but mostly as “community”. Their sales and success’ are good for all of us. I know some amazing painters, they each do incredible and unique work. At one point in my life I MAY have been able to do something similar to their work, but NOT today. I could try, but I’d hate it. I’d much rather connect the people I know who are a good fit–we all benefit.

  44. avatar
    BJ Koret

    Ramit, thanks again for both timely and practical guidance that’s a home run hit.

  45. avatar

    I love this idea, and your approach

  46. avatar
    Ntathu Allen

    Blessings and hugs Ramit….nice timely reminder. Thank you. One of my regular private yoga students recommended me to a friend of hers–who i meet today for her first yoga session –and the client has booked another lesson! Your blog post reminded me of the importance in formally saying thank you. So, I sent a “thank you text to my client for her recommendation and enjoyed reading her reply:). Hugs and thx

  47. avatar
    Guro Weich

    I made a great connection in my “outside of work” circle, and he expressed interest in visiting my work’s event. I am going to look into what I can do to help facilitate this event to happen.

    I have made a connection with my “work” and they want to know what I can do for them, without really telling me what they will do for my students. I will give them value that they can use and information that they need to help their job.

  48. avatar

    Ramit, I was really glad to read the email that you sent out about giving back and adding value. I am much older than the twenty something audience you have, but I enjoy reading your insights so that I can pass the information along to my twenty something daughters with a young/Ramit kind of perspective. I was raised to have manners and to be polite. I thought I had raised my girls to be that way too., and they are for the most point. My youngest daughter had been awarded a scholarship for her first year of college. I told her that she needed to write a thank you card and send it to the group that gave her the money. She was going to speak to them so she didn’t feel the need to do that, I was not aware of this. She went through the first semester and came home and I asked if she wrote them a thank you card, she said she hadn’t, but to make me happy she would. Long story short, she didn’t because she “forgot”. Well, I wrote it and sent it thanking them for helping with the cost of college and and what a wonderful experience they had helped her to have and how well she liked her studies. I signed it with my daughters name. A few weeks later she received a letter from the group that had given her the scholarship, saying that no one had ever taken the time to thank them for the monetary gifts they had passed out in previous years. They were moved by her sincerity. Because of this, they decided to help fund her education for the remaining years! They had never done this before, and all it took was a few minutes and some heart felt thoughtfulness. I know she learned a huge lesson from from this and takes every opportunity to thank people that help her along her journey.

  49. avatar
    Marc A.

    Just followed up with someone who connected me to someone within a company I’m interested in doing business with.


  50. avatar

    I already did it. I have a group of friends from high school days (we’re in our 40s now) and we get together for breakfast every couple of months. Usually one person sends out the call and those that can make it will respond. On this morning’s thread I specifically called out two friends that haven’t made it to breakfast in a long time and just let them know I’d like to see them and hear how the kids are doing at the new school, and how surgery went for the other.

  51. avatar

    Just did it:
    Sent a link to Derek Siver’s free ebook to a friend of a friend. He’s trying to become a pro musician and I believe this is an invaluable resource (to anyone, not just musicians).

  52. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    Thanks for everything you are posting. It’s always straight to the point, fun to read, just the right lenght and really informative.

    To take action after reading your post, I e-mailed one of my teachers from college. I gave him a couple news about the last 2 years and offered my help to motivate the students at my college.

    And btw, in the few next days, I’ll be taking action with some material Selena Soo sent throught your e-mail list. Thanks for introducing her to me (us)!

  53. avatar

    I think what I will do in the next 48 hours is have more AWARENESS of when I could add value. There are so many opportunities to do so, from a thank you, a smile to a harried clerk, an encouraging word to my son, etc. As I continue my awareness and my actions they will become habit. And I bet a side benefit is that I have more peace and health from the positive effects.

  54. avatar

    Thanks Ramit! I just sent an email offering to introduce a law student friend looking for a social justice internship to my aunt who is a lawyer at a reproductive justice organization.

  55. avatar

    Today, I got my butt in gear and created an EventBrite for the ‘Interesting People Party’ I’ve been thinking about ever since rewatching Michael Ellsberg’s video on the Brain Trust. Opening up the kimono so to speak and inviting everyone in my life I find interesting to hopefully make some connections with each other.

    Tonight’s task is writing the email template and customizing it for individuals. My goal is 30-40 people total. I’ll post a follow up after the event and send a thank you to both Ramit and Michael with a report of how it went.

  56. avatar
    MP Singh

    Hi Ramit
    A great article. Simple points – but critically important ones. Thanks for taking time from your crazy busy schedule (we know) to share these thoughts with us, without expecting anything in return.
    Love your great work.

  57. avatar
    Brice Morrison

    I realized that I got advice from a mentor that ended up helping me earn more money, but I never followed up to let him know. I’ll definitely do it tonight!

  58. avatar

    I have an awesome friend with an awesome dog, who is looking for an apartment referral in San Francisco. I work for a dodgeball league that he also plays in – so I’m going to announce (or let him announce) that he’s looking for a place at our next game. It’s a network of really amazing people, and helping someone find a happy living situation closer to people they like isn’t a waste of anybody’s time. I’ll spend 45 seconds to inform a social group of ~80-100 people we both know, in order to leverage the local network, and their friend networks.

  59. avatar

    In the next 48 hours, I’m going to write LinkedIn recommendations for my past interns!

  60. avatar

    Great information. I think that the most important thing to develop is the personality, to give value to people is what makes us rich.

  61. avatar

    I just made an introduction between two UX designers at two different prospective clients. They’re both cool people and they have the same new role at their respective companies, so I thought there might be some synergy there. I don’t have anything to get out of it other than hopefully making a connection between two like minds!

  62. avatar

    I took your advice and acknowledged a teacher from junior high school that I’m friends with on Facebook. A year ago, I asked him for advice regarding a lost friend. He replied the same day with a possible lead. I thanked him then, but today, it came from nowhere. Hopefully my note will bring a smile to his face. Thanks Ramit. You created a ripple today.

  63. avatar

    ” her friends complained that they couldn’t use wifi on their smartphones at her house.”

    Seriously? That’s… I don’t even have a word for that.

    The rest of the story is genius in action, though.

  64. avatar
    Jessica Mastors

    Hi Ramit,

    Over the years I’ve kept in touch with my high school Spanish teacher and at the beginning of the summer we met for a beer, over which I told him how passionately I feel about transforming education. He said I should talk with the new Head of School, who is incorporating creativity and design thinking into the curriculum. Long story short, we met and had idea chemistry and I got involved in a committee for the school’s upcoming Fall Festival – part of which is a TEDx event.

    About a year ago, I wrote “Give a TED talk” on my list of dreams. Because of my teacher’s introduction, I’ll be fulfilling that dream in a little over 2 weeks – and I just realized after reading your email that I never formally thanked him! I just sent him an invitation to lunch.

    Funny story: I just scrolled through my sent email – I actually DID send him a heartfelt thank you, he just never wrote back because he was in Spain and probably I used too many words. Haha! Oh well, I’m sure there are others that have gotten the slip.

    Big thanks for all your readable and relatable advice! Your words make me chuckle often.

    (On the off chance you’ll be in Providence, RI on Oct 17th, the TEDx event is about Expeditions and there will be a bunch of adventurous people speaking alongside me at the evening session. Get free tickets here )

  65. avatar

    I have a coworker who is not a naturalized citizen who is being taken advantage of by my company. She needs a new job desperately, so I asked a good friend of mine who used to work in HR and in hiring to look at and comment on her resume. It isn’t much, but I hope that it can add value to my coworker’s job search.

  66. avatar

    The empower network sent an emal saying that the next new thing will be blogging and doing more business from your phone. The name is secret, but it seems it could be right up your alley

  67. avatar

    First of all, I totally agree that one should serve others by giving assistance without expectation of anything in return. However, a sincere “thank you” sure goes a long way and motivates me to desire to help that person again. And vice versa. I do not blame you for not helping that young woman again with another introduction when she failed to acknowledge and thank you for what you did for her two years prior. I want you to know that I really, really, appreciate everything you do for your subscribers, Ramit. I love reading your emails and I learn so much from reading them. The advice you give is so valuable. I cannot thank you enough for what you do to help us, so sincerely without any expectations. A trillion thanks and more.

  68. avatar

    I’m going to let a new contact know about a krypton college course my wife is running because i think this person would appreciate it.

  69. avatar

    I just forwarded your blog post to an old work collegue of mine to help him improve the quality of his LinkedIn network relationships. Thanks for sharing this, as I appreciate everything you write.

  70. avatar

    Wonderful encouragement Ramit. Two things: I have a friend in the wellness industry who’s going through a slow business period. I really love her services and have had a great experience with her so I am going to write a recommendation for her services, what needs they fulfill, and how they make one feel–and post it on the neighborhood elistserv. Secondly, another friend is going through a tough emotional time in all aspects of his life–I suggested someone who I think can help him. Are these really controlling–or am I doing good?

  71. avatar
    Dawn Williams-Harrison

    I am so grateful of Ramit information to me. I learned how to say thank you and be nice to people who have help me out.

  72. avatar

    Right after reading your article a referral was sent to me. I followed up on it promptly, but this time took the time to send a quick note of thanks to the sender. It immediately changed the dialogue and the tone of our interacción for the better.

    Simple effective advice, thank you

  73. avatar

    Thank you Ramit. This content is super

  74. avatar

    I will show my value by becoming trustworthy and reliable

  75. avatar

    Thank Ramit for giving me all of his awesome advice for free! It is very much appreciated!

  76. avatar
    Paul Back

    Hey Ramit

    I couldn’t agree with you more. This is how I try to carry myself through life, everything in life takes energy and effort and the way I see it, you might as well be using your energy for the positive and not the negative.

    I truly believe it pays off, and you feel great at the very worst. But I do not consider this to be a strategy or tactic – to me it is a mindset.

    I do it because it’s the right thing to do, and because it is how I want to carry myself, not to get some sort of reward.

    I want to make it clear that I don’t think this is some sort of secret or magical effect, I think it sets the precedent on how you want to be treated and others see it and reciprocate.

    Like you I will often make decisions about people based off their behaviour like
    your friend in the post who never thanked you for the job, I mean we choose the people around us and to me if someone is not willing to show you the same level of respect and work at the relationship as much as you do then people like that are usually not worth having around.

    I have been a reader for a while Ramit and I want to say thank you for the content you produce week after week.

    Paul Back

  77. avatar
    Why you should give more than you get | In-House HR

    […] Why you should give more than you get is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich. […]

  78. avatar
    Annika S

    In the next 48 hrs I will be reaching out to a whole lot of my friends that I know are struggling to find meaning and purpose in life (are in grad school and afraid to head out into the real world) and ask what they need help with. If i can’t help directly, I’ll send them to someone who can (I have a feeling a lot of them will end up here – your dream job & CV writing tips are invaluable!!

  79. avatar

    Hey dude, thanks for the article. You have given me a new perspective on adding value.

    I already go the extra mile to hook people up – if someone asks who to talk to I write them an introduction rather than just give them a name.

    I had never thought of the gratitude part of the loop – I will be sending a thank you to people who help me over the next 48hrs.

    Best wishes and thankyou for your help.

  80. avatar

    I will check-in with a mentor who recently gave me great advice (other than you Ramit!), express my appreciation again, and explain how I applied their advice and specifically how it worked. I would then remind them that I’d love to return the favour.

    I’m hoping that if I keep in contact, I will get that opportunity to help them out and maintain a good relationship that may benefit either of us again in the future. Win-win.

  81. avatar
    Chris Warner

    Ramit –

    The one thing that I am doing to add value is actually writing this message to you.

    I bought your book about a year-and-a-half ago and immediately read it – VERY, VERY helpful! I gradually, and somewhat begrudgingly, implemented your words-of-wisdom into my life (bad habits are hard-as-hell to break), but I did it! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

    Not only did you help me to understand, but actually showed me how and why I should understand the important, yet time-consuming tasks of financial security. I can honestly say that it was a paradigm-shifting experience. Now I spend that much needed freed-up time working on my dreams and goals – those things that add value to my life!

    Although I have YET to invest in your other programs, I do feel that I have a solid footing for my climb to the summit of financial independence!

    Thank you again for leading me step-by-step, down the path to financial righteousness! The value you have add to my life is immeasurable!

    Humbly Thankful,


  82. avatar

    Hi Ramit

    I have been reading updates from your blog with great interest. I am planning to do two things. One to call up a friend of mine , who is out of work and to find out if there’s anything I could do to help her. Secondly, I am going to call up my professor and update him with the latest things that I have been doing and also thank him for being there always.
    Thanks again..

  83. avatar

    Thanks a lot for the good point. Ramit.
    That is very important to thanks someone for the work they do for you.
    Actually is should be a habit for very one to give more then get.

    Again many thanks for sharing us very important points.


  84. avatar

    My one thing: I will give a recruiter some more insight onto what sort of people would be a good fit for a role he’s trying to fill. He contacted me initially and it’s actually in my industry but not something I wanted to take. Rather than doing what I normally do and leave it there, I’ll proactively go out and help him by putting him in touch with someone else OR at least giving him a breakdown of who I think would be good for the role (he indirectly asked me!).

    I also wanted to share an example of ‘helping people’ that my own father-in-law experienced and that stuck with me. My FIL is in business and his number one tip is to network and help others when you can. He was on a flight to London for work, where he met an elderly British man on the plane. They got to talking and he found out the man had a 7 hour transit in London. So my FIL offered him the opportunity to use facilities in his hotel room near the airport to shower, freshen up and just relax in that time. After a quick shower and a chat, the man was off to his next destination. YEARS later, my FIL was looking for a location in the Sydney City area to set up his business and saw a listing for office space in a building in a prime central location. Now getting a chance to set up in this particular area is one in a million and you find HOT competition trying to get a lease for the place. When my FIL went to meet the gentlemen who owned the place, the man immediately recognised him as the guy who let him use his hotel room to rest during his transit! He basically gave the space to my FIL for 50% of the advertised lease rate without any hesitation, where the serious competition could have allowed him to rent at a MUCH higher rate. Imagine the ripple effect – let a guy use your shower and years later save thousands on renting prime real estate space for your business. Ramit, you’re spot on – the love definitely comes back and, in a lot of those times, it’s much more than what you thought you gave.

    – Kash

  85. avatar

    Thanks Ramit!

    Let me just jump into it.
    I get asked a lot for advice on choosing a camera to buy.

    So I will follow up with people who I helped already and see how is it serving them, try to identify problems they faced in the process (just like you taught me to) and write an article about it to make it easier for more people to make a decision.

  86. avatar

    Thank you for the value of the post, Ramit. What I want to do is that I want to e-mail my aunt regarding the dangers of toxic chemicals in lipsticks. I also want to e-mail her about flaxseeds that kills cancer cells, as well as other health articles. She is in the Parish Health Ministry, and I feel as her nephew that I should do my due diligence to provide her with information that a lot of people don’t know about. It could help or even save someone’s life.

  87. avatar

    Sent a “thank you” email to a friend for an advise he gave me one week ago. Forwarded him the email I crafted based on his advise and the responce I got – so that my friend sees exactly how I implemented his recomendation.

  88. avatar

    First: Thanks, Ramit, for all of the awesome stuff! It’s greatly appreciated!

    In my social circle, I’m known for coming up with and creating really cool Halloween costumes. I have some friends who have helped me out this past year (and yes, I did say thank you!), and I’d like to return the favor. I know they’re up against the clock right now with getting themselves ready for our huge Halloween party at the end of the month. I’ll get in touch with them to ask what their ideas are and how I can help them. While I’m out shopping for my stuff, I’ll keep my eye out for things that might work for them, and give them a text/email/call to let them know or pick something up for them. The Halloween party is always a huge deal for them, and I know it would give them a great sense of relief to have a little bit of help.

  89. avatar

    WAO Ramit, giving. I have to change my attitude. I just realize that I thought that I deserved everything and that everyone have to help me just because I am me. WRONG!!! Today I called a good neighbor who helped me a lot even giving me food when I didn’t had any and told them to please count with me in anything they need. The son said that he notice that I know English very well so he asked me to help him prepare for an English test that he need to pass to get his dream job. Imaging I had no idea I could help them that way.

  90. avatar
    Elizabeth Grace Saunders

    Two things done:

    -Introduced a professional contact to my book agent.
    -Sent a coaching client a get well e-card.

    To your brilliance!

  91. avatar
    Bill Ravenscraft

    I am going to connect a neighbor who is on the board of the city marathon with a fraternity brother who has developed a sports nutrition product that may be a good sponsor for the event. Could be a win-win for both!

  92. avatar
    Sukhneet Singh

    Thanks for the specific, actionable advice Ramit.

    I sent this article to 3 friends, sent out thank you notes to 2 others, and asked 2 others how I can help with their projects.

    More than anything else, these small actions reinforce that I’m someone who has value to give to others. After reading your article and taking action, I easily think of more ways to add value.

    Thanks again!

  93. avatar

    The one thing I did was send my friend to khan academy because she was worried about her statistics class and I heard wonderful about that website.

  94. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    Thank you for your useful tipps!
    At the moment, I am eating the fruits of my help to others. We are moving from a flat to a house, and a lot of our friends are helping us out.
    Telling them about our move, was a good reason to talk also to some, I did not had contact with over several months.
    But even we are really busy now, I will think about how I could add value to them also!
    And of course I will thank them for their help!

    Thanks again – keep on with your practical advice 🙂


  95. avatar
    Kenny P

    I guess the law of karma plays a part here too.

    The e-mail templates were helpful too because without them, he tips would’ve seemed a bit sketchy.

  96. avatar

    Great points about adding value and saying “thank you” – as you said, the number of times when “thank you”s are missing is very frustrating!

    Action: send 5 thank you emails or articles of interest and follow up with phone calls and not ask for anything in return.

  97. avatar
    Dwayne Golden Jr.

    Very simple but most life principals are. Great stuff.

  98. avatar

    I just bought an info product from Nick Usborne, a guru in the copywriting space. I’m going to offer him a testimonial or case study, and since I haven’t started his product/guide yet, I’ll ask him how he’d like for me to position my experience.
    Thanks, Ramit.

  99. avatar

    I forwarded your email to three people, two of whom can connect the third to some people he should have in his network.

  100. avatar
    Valerie Francisco

    Awesome stuff as always, Ramit.

    A lot of content out there are so sugar-coated, vague, and just plain lame; yours has always been specific, realistic and actionable, giving me tangible results. You are the first personal dev/business blogger & entrepreneur I’ve found and actually stuck with, and you’ve exposed me to a number of other bloggers/entrepreneurs that I’ve enjoyed following as well. There is so much to write, but I’ll save the rest of my gratitude for a separate email. 🙂

    Here’s how I plan to add value in the next 2 days:

    I was at a conference and in a ‘creative freelance’ session, I openly asked the speakers some questions. Afterwards, a guy who took notice introduced himself to me, and we further discussed the topic I had brought up. He then showed me his projects and a start-up he was working on, and I expressed great interest. Right there and then, he wrote in my notebook links and resources of everything I wanted to know, and everything that’s helped him get to where he is.

    Since then, we’ve been in contact. I even messaged him a link to a seminar I thought he’d be interested in. He was thankful, and in turn, he forwarded me a link to a Design conference with a hidden link for the student discount! (It is a major discount). I’m still exploring the resources he’s given me, so I plan to email him again soon with my thoughts, and to express more thanks for sharing them with me. I also found a couple business/start-up blogs I know he’ll find interest in, so I’ll forward those to him. He is visiting/moving to SF soon to continue with his start-up, and I’ll be helping him find hotel deals/housing options as well.

    Fun thing on the side:

    My new housemate was complaining about her class where she has to analyze excerpts from Harry Potter. She previewed the first assignment, but can’t stay engaged (what…) I offered to help her better understand the readings and the underlying themes. Why? Because 1) I love Harry Potter; and 2) She was more than welcoming when I first moved in last week.

  101. avatar
    Tim Lowry

    I know as a husband that we are suppose to do something nice for our wives, but I don’t always do it and wanted make sure I express her importance to me publicly, hopefully it builds her up.

    Happy anniversary to perhaps the best thing that ever happened to me. Even if I hate to admit it. You have help me to achieve so much and I am very proud of everything that you do and plan to do. I know that we struggle and that we fight, but we are strong. I hope that I enrich your life as much as you have mine. It has been a great eight years so far and looking forward to many more.

  102. avatar

    Seriously? The obvious subtext of both of those examples is that you’re sooooo important. And according to you, also giving. Hey, blog fodder! CONGRATS on being a douche.

  103. avatar
    Chris Barrell

    Hi Ramit,

    Your blog post stuck a big chord with me, as I’ve been thinking about this kind of thing ever since I read this book by an I/O Psychologist about givers, takers, and matchers based on their interpersonal relationship style.

    The book is “Give and Take” by Adam Grant – I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, but considering the focus of your post I think you might have! The basic premise, is that the absolute top and bottom of the success ladder is made up of ‘givers’ while ‘matchers’ and ‘takers’ remain in the middle. The reason that ‘givers’ can do so well and so badly is because there is a type of giver that gets burnt out while the other type will reap the rewards of their giving through many immeasurable ways. An absolutely recommended read!

    Your example emails show exactly this point; that giving is the best thing you can do! Anyway, here’s an article on him

    Fyi I’m not Adam! I just thought you’d appreciate that your thoughts have been replicated!


  104. avatar
    Rachel B

    Yesterday I emailed a former colleague that I hadn’t contacted since he left the company. I realized it had been almost a year and I wanted to catch up with him and see how he was doing.

    Today I sent that thank you email I’d been meaning to send to my stepmom for my birthday gift.

  105. avatar

    The idea of just generally being nice and helping others is something very important to me. By doing this you are bettering your own life and making everyone happy in the process. This is an amazing thing. Also creating these good relationships with people makes them as inclined to help you as you are to help them. As a psychic reader I LIVE by this idea.

    Thank you for the wonderful article,

  106. avatar

    Great post today! As a school teacher who is also starting up a new business and putting 2 kids through college, I really appreciate the free advice and info you send everyday. You have helped me stay focused on my goals and my business is, slowly, staring to grow.
    I would love some posts about us baby boomers starting businesses and 2nd careers during the best years of our lives!

    Thank You!

  107. avatar

    This post put me in a very grateful frame of mind. I’m going to take a few minutes to text some people and tell them how much I appreciate them.

  108. avatar

    Months ago I found on the Internet a sales guide to the lengendary Aga Cooker, presented in 1935 to the sales people of the Standard Aga Cooker. It’s author is David Ogilvy (who founded the advertising company Ogilvy & Mather and inspired the TV series Mad Men). I happen to believe it’s a really good sales guide (and so did Fortune Magazine back in the 80’s). So I printed it and am going to offer as inspiration for a friend who is starting out as a salesman.

    And now I’m sharing with you too (

  109. avatar
    Justin Stowe

    Great stuff Ramit.

    Most of us tend to over-complicate this all the time. We get into this mindset of “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” with our business, relationships, etc.

    But the real riches come when we do something for someone out of love- NOT expecting anything back in return.

    It really doesn’t take much to make someone’s day better- we just have to make a conscious effort of it, and make sure we’re doing it for the right reason.

  110. avatar

    send a thank you for a recent reference. Almost slipped my mind!

  111. avatar
    Victor Wooten

    An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
    Benjamin Franklin

  112. avatar

    I am going to buy my ex-girlfriend’s Range Rover from her. I know she is dead broke and needs the cash. I will then take her out to dinner and tell her to hang in there.

    I wonder what I will say to her the morning after? Naw, better just leave before she wakes up.

  113. avatar
    Jacqueline // Upon Wild Stars

    I am currently approaching some amazing people to feature in interviews over on my teeny corner of the web and finding it really stretches me. One way I approached it was to find a genuine interest in something else that’s going on in their lives and use that as a segue into the request. Love your recommendation to ask what projects they are up to. Simple yet I haven’t done it before! Duh! Haha 🙂 Am going to use that to secure my next interview xo

  114. avatar
    John P

    Thanks for this, Ramit. Great post. If only everyone understood the value of connecting people, and thanking those that connected you. Earlier this week I learned a colleague was laid off. I’ve already reached out and asked if there is anyone from my network I can make an introduction to, or if there is anything else I can do to help. Definitely no “what’s in it for me” in mind. Appreciate your reminder to always look for ways to help!

  115. avatar

    Amazing post to read and SO true! If we would all live by this principle, we would all live in an even better world. I try to live by this principle as well, because: the only true measure of success…is how many people you bless!

  116. avatar
    Robert Preus

    Thanks for the great advice. I often get so focused on what I want to accomplish that I forget to nurture the relationships that make any of it possible.
    At work they have an opportunity to nominate people for recognition for great work and I have not taken the time to do that even though I have someone that really deserves it that I work with. I will get that done on Monday. and I will email mayself a note reight now to make sure that I don’t forget.

  117. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    Great post! Thank you. I agree with you that adding value to someone’s life pays more than you give.

    Unfortunately, many of us, myself included, don’t take as much time to think about others, especially those who’ve helped us in the past. Thank you for the reminder.

    In the next couple of days I’ll be contacting my former colleagues who have helped me a lot when I was just starting out to thank them for their support.

    I’ll also be contacting the experts who continue to support my magazine to find out what project they’re working on and offer my help. I’ve been guilty of taking all the time. It’s time to give back.

  118. avatar
    James D'Souza

    Great article. The thing I like the most is that you’re being authentic – you’re being real as you write and I feel as if you’re talking to me.

    I work as a teacher, and one thing I do is take the time to thank people. I was my birthday on 3rd October and brought in a ton of chocolate for all my colleagues to enjoy.

    But I took it a step further – I brought individual chocolates of different expense for those colleagues I wanted to thank for being great (and being friends too). I said to them to think of it as the equivalent of me buying them a drink.

    Their responses were interesting – some felt they should have been buying me stuff, some totally appreciated where I was coming from and others (mainly the guys) dodged the thank-you to avoid the sentiment.

    I’ve found a simple thing like buying a chocolate to say thanks to be incredibly effective.

    It also helps get things done with teachers.

    But I only think it works when I’m being real. I can’t fake it.

  119. avatar
    Jennifer Castillo

    Yesterday I saw I post for an Executive Coach with a firm and contact I have heard of. I forwarded it to a fellow coach who has been my mentor. This work is ideal for him. He asked me to write a reference for him as part of my introducing him to the firm.

    I wrote the reference and introduction of my mentor. The hiring contact emailed me back thanking me for the referral. A VP at the hiring firm reviewed his Linkedin profile late yesterday.

    The hiring contact said my mentor was just the right fit for what they are looking for. I thanked the hiring contact that I could be of help and am looking forward to hearing back from my mentor on how his conversation with the hiring manager goes on Monday.

    What a great feeling for me to help out my mentor!

  120. avatar
    Questions about self-publishing? We've got answers!

    […] When you ask someone a question or a favour, and they respond helpfully, SAY THANK YOU! We’ve talked about this before, but now we have backup from the highest authority in the land: Mr Ramit Sethi. In this blog post, he explains how to give more than you get, and the reason why showing gratitude is SO important. […]

  121. avatar

    That is amazing. I guess the younger years we can be more selfish.

  122. avatar

    Every time I cut corners or gave less than I could I experienced a misfortune. It must be karma or something but giving more makes you receive more. Recently I gave £50 to charity, days later I was awarded £275 compensation for a complaint I filed months ago, on the very same day I received a letter from my previous employee explaining that I had a pension over £10,000 which needed to be transferred as the company was winding down! It definitely pays to give more.

  123. avatar

    Wow! great testimonial. I am also a believer in giving more. I always give more in charity, give more to community in terms of time and money. Whilst I haven’t received compensation or found pension windfalls I am always happy and my family are always happy which is after all the most important thing. This is a great post and I’m beginning to really like this site. Thanks for sharing!

  124. avatar
    Conrad Deas

    Ramit, this a great post! Thanks for the actual practical value you give to us all. Have you read Michael J. Maher’s Seven Level’s of Communication? It’s basically about what you’re writing about here. This is my adding value to the people here now. Go check out Michael’s book, it’s all about being generous and giving to people and building great relationships. It’s also a good easy read.

    You can find it on Amazon or

  125. avatar
    David R Herz

    I am going to invite some people in my life to do the Landmark Forum, a program I have found to provide me great access to happiness and creating what I want in life, essentially by getting clear on what our “hidden scripts” are, and how not to let them have power over our lives.

    I thank you for your remarkable contribution to people living extraordinary lives.

  126. avatar
    Stephen Kemper

    Nice response…you will definitely fit in well with the IWTYTBR culture, for what that is worth to you.

    I’m an Earn1K student and it has helped me create a freelance business that I’m growing until I can leave my day-job.

  127. avatar
    Traffic Tip: How to Get Influencers to Share Your Content and More Tips

    […] 2. Always be thankful. These guys didn’t have to do anything for you. But they did. They went out of their way in their 14 hour work day life to do something for you. Here’s what Ramit (New York Times Best Selling Author) has to say about showing gratitiude: […]

  128. avatar
    Traffic Tip: How to Get Influencers to Share Your Content and More Tips | e business website design

    […] 2. Always be thankful. These guys didn’t have to do anything for you. But they did. They went out of their way in their 14 hour work day life to do something for you. Here’s what Ramit (New York Times Best Selling Author) has to say about showing gratitiude: […]

  129. avatar
    Jose I Lopez

    Hi Ramit, I really do not know how I found your blog and article, but it looks to me faboulous, the fact to know that on these competitive days still there are people out there that can think positively, it makes me stand up more on my thoughts that you can do something for people, just because you can, and it makes grow up everybody, even to those that cannot recognize it, because early or late they will understand.

    Very good article. This kind of things makes a better world community.


  130. avatar
    Tinnitus What Is It

    Nicely written, especially when you keep giving without anything in return. Big heart will come with big return. I’ll be following you for a long time. Continue to provide more, especially how we can make money online.

  131. avatar
    Kostas @ Finance Zone

    Building relationships is something that we all need to pay attention to in all aspects of life. It’s amazing how common courtesy and manners can go in work relationships. Take the ‘robot’ aspect out of a work relationship and things seem to flow better, production increases. Like you, I’ve learned to pay closer attention to relationships in all areas of my life.

  132. avatar
    Jeshan Babooa

    I jumped right away to my gmail account and went to thank Sarah Jones for what she’s doing.
    She’s doing a fantastic job helping introverted men at

  133. avatar

    Hello, Ramit! I just want to thank you for providing this great article about giving value. It’s exactly what I was looking for. I hope that you will continue to make more. 🙂
    I just found out your site today, and I will be reading more of your content as browse through here. Really great value you’ve given me. Hope to learn more from you. Thanks again. 🙂

  134. avatar
    FB Traffic Hack

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