The Go-Giver: Summary & Review

the go giver book cover

The Go-Giver instructs readers to take a different approach to personal success. Such as, instead of focusing on getting more, people who want to succeed and take more, should give more. The rationale is that, by social exchange rule, giving allows you to collect social credit, and demand more back.

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 receiving: it’s the other side of the coin of giving

Full Summary

This is a quick overview of the laws:

  1. Law of Value — Your worth is determined by how much more you give compared to what you receive
  2. Law of Compensation — The number of people you serve determines your compensation
  3. Law of Influence — Your influence is in direct proportion to how much you place others’ interests first
  4. Law of Authenticity — The most valuable gift you can offer is your true self
  5. Law of Receptivity — Be open to receiving 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 be 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 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:

  • Survive: when you meet your basic needs
  • Save: the first step towards abundance
  • 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 worry about your interests because your interests will always be taken care of when you put others first.

My note: we don’t agree with this.
There are some people who will take and walk away, or try to cheat you. And you might be better off recognizing these takers 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

Refusing to receive is as 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 of sense :).

Full Circle: It’s About Who You Are

I 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:

Naive Self-Help: Giving Without Any Considerations Doesn’t Work

The mindset of giving is good.

But as for everything, it requires balance.
And, in this case, it also requires power intelligence and strategic thinking.

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” (plus the CEO who referred to sales as “the art of bullshiting”, so great to do sales for that guy…. NOT!).

We need some of that Go-Giver spirit for some people to understand that 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.

Read more here on naive self-help:

Giving Isn’t The Only Way to Success

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

The book seems to hint that the only way to be rich and successful is to give without caring for your own interests and that any other way won’t take you far.

Not true.
As Adam Grant shows, the givers who win in life are strategic givers.
Also read “enlightened cooperation” here:

Furthermore, it promotes the naive and untrue myth that taking, narcissism, or Machiavellianism can’t lead to success.
And as we know here, there’s plenty of Machiavellianism at the top:

Aggression, cheating and scheming also are possible routes to achieving many trappings of success.
Giving and giving without any strategy isn’t.
So, again, don’t be Pollyanna.


The Go-Giver is an interesting read that takes the good concept of giving to a dangerous extreme.

On the positive, it’s 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, we don’t advise on TPM to “give, give, give”, because you will meet ahole who will “take, take, take” without giving anything back and smiling all their way to the bank behind your back.
Please read this article on naive self-help:

Sometimes you need to put your foot down and demand what’s fair, or else some people may never give it to you.
And, generally speaking, it’s better to be more strategic about your giving in life because neither you nor the world will gain if all you do is waste and deplete resources and time with random giving.

Read more summaries or get the book on Amazon.

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