Book Review: The Go-Giver

The Go Giver:  A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea, by Bob Burg and John David Mann

This book was loaned to me by an acquaintance of mine who I met in a strange way, when he saw me reading at the bar to a local restaurant while eating and drinking iced tea and figured I would make an interesting person to talk to–itself a rather uncommon gesture.  At any rate, this particular book has much the same feel of quirkiness and divine providence, the sort of work that celebrates having an interest in and attention to others, and many readers of the book whose blurbs take up the first few pages of the book are right to compare the book to others which tell a parable in the hope of encouraging those involved in business to think differently about the way they go about business [1].  Those readers who find the story to be too contrived will likely fail to enjoy the book as it was written, while those who recognize the authors took their own real life experiences and turned it into a parable will likely smile as they ponder the opportunities in their own life to be connectors and to provide value to others through being themselves as well as thinking about the well-being and interests of others.

This book is a short one and did not take me long to read at all.  After a foreword and introduction, the slightly more than 100 pages of this book are filled with fourteen short chapters that look at a driven and ambitious go-getter who is intrigued by the opportunity to learn from an older and somewhat mysterious mentor about the secrets of business success, only to learn and (surprisingly) apply five laws:  1.  The Law of Value, where one’s true worth is determined by how much more one gives than one takes in payment.  2.  The Law of Compensation, where one’s income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.  3.  The Law of Influence, where one’s influence depends on how abundantly you place the interests of others above oneself.  4. The Law of Authenticity, which states that the most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.  5.  The Law of Receptivity, which states that the key to effective giving is staying open to receiving.  Through the story the main character applies these laws and finds himself deeply successful once he pays attention to his wife and serves to utilize his own network of people to connect people with needs to those who can provide them and reaping the benefits thereof.

Obviously, this book is a parable that places a small set of straightforward principles with the assumption that there is enough plenty in the world to benefit those who operate with an open hand rather than a closed fist and who remain open to the needs and concerns of those around them with a look at how to fill those needs.  The story itself is full of interest as Joe meets various people and thinks of how they provide a worthwhile experience and begins to be a better person himself.  I am unsure of how many people find their own behaviors changed by books like this one, for while business writers enjoy writing parables about success following a change in attitude and focus, I am unsure of how much people really pay attention to such matters.  It is easy to imagine plenty of readers looking at a book like this seeking prosperity for themselves, but not being genuinely moved to look at the world and see the way that one can serve as a treasured and honorable node within it.  In the end, though, we only have power over yourselves, and influence mainly through our example.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Book Review: The Go-Giver

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Right Color, Wrong Culture | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Purposely Positive | Edge Induced Cohesion

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