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The Go-Giver: A Book for Naive Collaborators? (4/10)

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann teaches readers that the best way of becoming successful -and taking- is to give.

Bullet Summary

  • The more you give, the more you get
  • The more you care about others, the more you'll influence people
  • Be open to receive: it's the other side of the coin of giving

The Go-Giver Summary

This is a quick overview of the laws:

  1. Law of Value — You worth is determined by how much more you give compared to what you receive
  2. Law of Compensation — The quantity of people you serve determine your compensation
  3. Law of Influence — Your influence is in direct proportion to how much you place others' interest first
  4. Law of Authenticity — The most valuable gift you can offer is your true self
  5. Law of Receptivity — Be open to receive because receiving is complementary to giving

The Law of Value

It's not about making your customers pay more but it's about giving them more.
It shouldn't be a strategy but it should a mindset. You must love giving.

The author says that the biggest fortunes of this world have been amassed by people who loved giving and were passionate about sharing their products and value.
And those same fortunes are squandered by people who focus on getting.

A key concept in this chapter is this: value comes first, and the money is simply a consequence and a direct result of the value you provide.

The Law of Compensation

How much you love giving is your potential. How many people you actually touch and serve, that's more directly related to your actual income.

It's all under your control: find more people to whom to give, and earn more as a consequence.


Burg & Mann say there are three different tiers to work:

  1. Survive: when you meet your basic needs
  2. Save: the first step towards abundance
  3. Serve: when you really make a contribution to the world

The Go Giver is tailored towards making you a server.

The Law of Influence

When you make it about others, you start building an army of ambassadors working for you.

They might not directly buy from you, but they have your best interest in mind because you have theirs.
These people will always refer to you when they're looking for someone selling your services.

Contrary to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the authors recommend you forget about win-win. Make your win 100% about the other person instead.
Burg & Mann say you need not to worry about your interests, because your interests will always be taken care of when you put others first. That's what someone would call "enlightened self interest".

My note:
I can't fully agree here. There are some people who will take and walk away, or try to cheat you. And you might better off recognizing these people before you give and give.

The Law of Authenticity

No matter what you sell, you are the most important part of your pitch.

The authors say that at most technical skills account for 10%, and the rest is people's skills and personality. And personality is even bigger than people's skills.

And what's the biggest factor of personality?
It's authenticity.

The Law of Receptivity

Avoiding to receive is equally bad as focusing on getting only.

Because if you don't equally appreciate receiving, you are basically denying the gift of others.

Finally, the authors say that all the giving in the world will not bring you success unless you open yourself up to receiving back in equal measures.
Which makes a lot sense :).

Full Circle

I particularly liked the last chapter of The Go Giver as it focuses on how you measure success.

It's not about whether or not you get the account you wanted or make the sale.
It's about who you are.

the go giver book cover


I have a few red flags to raise here:

  • Watch Out Who You Give, Give, Give

The mindset of giving is great.

And I say it as a former salesperson who couldn't take it anymore of people talking about sales as "going to war" and "being in the trenches" (even the great Crossing the Chasm is all about to war references).

We need more of The Go Giver so that people understand business is about providing value first.

But at the same time, don't be Pollyanna about it.
You will meet bad people on your path and you will meet ruthless people who will take, take take. And then come back to take more.

  • Only Way to Success?

As a website built on the idea that there are some dark people out there and you need to know how to play dirty with them, I need to state this point clear.

The book seems to hint that the only way to be rich and successful is to give and that any other way won't take you far.

I agree, that is one way to be successful. And it's a great way to approach success and possibly the healthiest.

But I'm afraid, it's not the only one.
Aggression, cheating and scheming also are ways to achieve many trappings of success. So, again, don't be Pollyanna.


The Go Giver is a great reminder that your success depends on how well you serve others (see: the law of social exchange and WIIFM).

As Peter Diamandis, author of Bold said: if you want to become a billionaire, help a billion people.

At the same time, I personally don't advise anyone to "give, give, give", because you will meet ahole who will "take, take, take" without giving anything back and smiling all their ways to the bank behind your back.

Sometimes you need to put your foot down and demand for what's fair.


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