Dec 16

Book Review: “The Go-Giver”: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

I purchased the book The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea after hearing two different business acquaintances mention how much they loved the book and its message. After hearing this twice, I just had to buy it and give it a read. Now, you know I'm a big reader, so buying a book is not exactly a hard thing for me to convince myself to do.

With just 129 pages, Bob Burg and John David Mann have managed to pack a powerful business idea into this little red book. As a business parable, the story itself is a bit stilted. But the message comes across that giving, rather than taking, is the better mode to be in when building a business and a career.

The authors' Five Laws of Stratospheric Success are the outline for the story of Joe, a young ambitious man intent on building a career in sales. While the plot is transparent, I didn't lose site of the fact that the message in the book was far more important than the fiction-writing skill of the authors.

I believe the message in this book is an important one to absorb in this age of information and social media. Those who give, are rising to the top. This is something I have observed and admired in many of the social media rockstars, such as Chris Brogan and Mari Smith. And it's an attitude I am thrilled to be able to adopt in my own business.

When I read a business book, if I walk away with just one nugget of useful information, I feel the book was worth the time it took to read. The Go-Giver offers several such gems. The biggest one for me was the Law of Compensation, which states “your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.” The story gives the simple illustration of Nicole Martin, a talented grade school teacher who developed a learning system for children so she could reach many children, not just her classroom. By scaling her system and related products, she was able to reach thousands of children, while turning a profit. Then she adapted the system to use with executive training in corporations, further building her profits to a new level. This concept is entrenched in giving, and yet has huge business repercussions as well. By thinking of scaling your business to reach more people, you are certainly going to be a growing business, pushing yourself to think bigger and bigger.

The customer reviews for this book at Amazon.com are mostly favorable. Overall, if you remember the book is meant to be a business parable, and overlook the unsophisticated and thinly veiled plot, you will be able to absorb the message and see how you can incorporate the idea into your own business. A world full of Go-Givers is a world I want to live in and work in.


  1. Carol Cei

    This idea was covered many years ago in the One Minute Salesperson…an even shorter volume. We all search for the magic bullet…but there really isn’t one. It is always about going back to basics, especially in tough markets. I think that we will find those who are most successful continue to do those basic things every day. All else is icing on the cake. Happy New Year!

  2. Deborah Richmond

    Yes, and it’s nice to revisit good foundational concepts like those in this book and “One Minute Salesperson.” I find reading these books reminds me of the things I’m doing right, and gives me more time to think about things I might do a little better.

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