Of all the reviews, endorsements, responses and reader comments we’ve gotten on The Go-Giver to date, I think this one may be my favorite. Why? Because preaching to the choir is easy, but impressing someone who has a clear and unapologetic bias against this type of book . . . well, that’s mighty satisfying!
Justin McHenry, one of several regular columnists on the financial blog “Zen Personal Finances,” gave such an intelligent, incisive and complimentary (albeit in the left-handed sense) review yesterday, I think I’m going to go ahead and reproduce the whole darn thing right here:
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Book Review, Jan. 8, 2008
I’m generally not a fan of the business parable book—dumbed-down, poorly-written stories that equate cheese with change (for one obvious example), and are meant to spur us into new attitudes and actions. Mostly they inspire for a few minutes and then are forgotten. If I remember any for an extended period, it’s usually due to the awfulness of the writing. I read one recently that was so bad I didn’t know if I should feel worse for the book’s writer or the publisher that had decided to waste paper on it.
Which leads me to my review of The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea, by Bob Burg and John David Mann. While it may be faint praise, this book is decidedly better than most in its genre.
The story’s plot centers around ambitious young Joe, who is spinning his wheels professionally despite his hard-charging attitude and generally likable personality. In keeping with his bold spirit, he decides he’s going to meet a powerful local businessman, Pindar, and convince The Chairman (as he’s known) to help Joe land a big account. To Joe’s surprise, Pindar is easy to get a meeting with. However, Pindar’s goals for Joe are not necessarily the same as Joe’s goals for Joe, and thus this unlikely parable unfolds with Pindar taking Joe under his wing and teaching him a series of success lessons. Each lesson involves Joe meeting a new, successful person and learning what led to their successes.
(Spoiler: The root of success is giving, not getting—thus the title The Go-Giver instead of The Go-Getter.)
Each meeting teaches Joe one of the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success. There’s The Law of Value, The Law of Compensation, The Law of Influence, The Law of Authenticity and The Law of Receptivity. After learning each Law, Joe agrees to try to put it into practice before the next meeting with Pindar, where another Law will be unveiled. Despite my somewhat cynical nature, the book continually kept me curious as to the next law, the next person to meet, and how Joe would put it into practice. While the whole premise of the book is a bit corny, and the writing isn’t exactly Tolstoy, I read it quickly and eagerly.
I think my favorite of the laws, in terms of offering something new or fresh (and in terms of sticking with this blog’s money theme), is the Law of Compensation, which states: “Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.” The example used is a schoolteacher who invents a line of educational software, thus trading her schoolteacher salary for a much larger income due to the fact that her company’s software reaches so many more people than she ever could have as a teacher in a single school.
There’s nothing genius about this concept, but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard it stated that way, and it made me think. If you want to make more money, how can you get yourself on a bigger stage where you serve more people? I think any of us could come up with ideas on how to serve more people, whether it’s taking on more work responsibilities, adding new volunteer tasks, raising our entrepreneurial sites, or whatever. The benefits may not be immediate, but the more people you touch in a way that makes their lives better, the more you’re known for being that type of person, the more chance there is that money is eventually going to flow to you.
Anyway, despite my initial skepticism, I like this one. If you’re a go-getter, or would like to be, the concepts in The Go-Giver will help you ensure that your time is spent doing the right things with the right spirit.
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Amen! Besides . . . how could I not love a blog called “Zen Personal Finances”?
P.S. This summer, I’m going to have to re-read Tolstoy.