PRODUCT (Book)THE GO-GIVER:  A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

AUTHORS:  Bob Burg and John David Mann

PUBLISHER:  Portfolio/Penguin [2007, 2015]


Parables are a story-telling format used since ancient times to impart wisdoms for living.  It’s a cool way to present big concepts without lecturing.

Religious leaders and philosophers are not the only ones who have made use of parables to great effect.  In more recent times a number of scientists and business thought leaders have tapped into the power of the parable.

Some of the more noteworthy of the latter include:


One reviewer at “Retailing Insight” described THE GO-GIVER as a cross between JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL and THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE and went on to praise it as “an uplifting quick read of a book that will appeal to consumers who want to bring more heart and a holistic sense of mission to their livelihoods.”

Here’s a YouTube video, “A Quick and Really Fun Overview of the Go-Giver” by one of the authors, Bob Burg:

Mann and Burg present one simple, old idea:  “Give and you shall receive.”  In their parable, a frustrated up-and-coming go-getter named Joe seeks out a remarkable man named Pindar who agrees to tell Joe the “secret” to a successful life.  It will take five meetings spread over five consecutive days, he says.

The only condition Pindar imposes is that Joe has to apply this new knowledge to his own life in a practical way before meeting with Pindar for the next lesson.

After the book came out in 2007, the authors started hearing from people around the world who had enthusiastically embraced the concepts they presented in the book.  Book clubs read the book and pondered on the ideas.  Study groups and workshops organized by businesses, houses of worship and community groups sprang up.  Folks really liked the message.

The authors co-wrote a couple of companion books, GO-GIVERS SELL MORE and THE GO-GIVER LEADER.  They even started a website to answer questions and continue the still-ongoing discussions about all this.

THE GO-GIVER is now called “a classic,” and the latest edition is an expanded version.


Pindar’s “Laws of Stratospheric Success” are simple.  Their nuances and ramifications are large.

THE LAW OF VALUE.  Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

THE LAW OF COMPENSATION.  Your income is determined by how many people you serve them.

THE LAW OF INFLUENCE.  Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.

THE LAW OF AUTHENTICITY.  The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

THE LAW OF RECEPTIVITY.  The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

Reading those statements without the parable probably has you going, “Yeah…so?”  You know, gut-deep, that these “laws” are very old human truths.  You’ve probably even gotten a lecture or two on one or more of them in your life.

Maybe you dismissed them as idealistic gassing that melts like snow in the heat of the “real world.”  You are likely to agree they’re really good ideas, but somehow you doubt that they’re effective in modern life.

What you might want to look at more thoroughly are the premises on which these laws are based as well as the effects following the laws potentially might have.  That’s all in the story.

The authors and the people who’ve tried to practice these principles say the laws work in all the various facets of human interaction – in relationships (family, friends, and business dealings), in self-development and in developing businesses and community.


Go get THE GO-GIVER.  Read it.  Think on it.  Do it.  That plan has apparently worked for hundreds of thousands of other people.  Maybe they’ll work for you too.

Here’s a poem written for a brilliant young student of an old Hawaiian master musician who died. Listening to the young man evokes memories of the stylings of his old teacher and those of us who knew him can hear the old one playing along.  (The word “mana’o” is Hawaiian for “knowledge.”  “Mahalo” is Hawaiian for “thank you.”)



Of all the ones he ever touched,

Of all the ones he tried to reach,


You heard him.


The core of him was in his giving,

The mana’o that he had to share.


You heard him.


On his work, he poured his passion,

And with open hands he offered it

To any who would stop to listen.


You heard him.


In his heart he understood, he knew,

That love and knowledge, hoarded, dies.


You heard him.


Our people died, their gifts unopened

By uncaring ones who could not hear,

Who only saw the surface treasures

And not the Spirit-beauty there.


You heard him.


His heart was drowning in deepest sorrow

For the death and dying of our people

And the beauty they would have shared.


You heard him.


And you try now, in your own way,

To keep your hands out and open,

Full of love, full of reverence for the ways of the old ones,

And, willingly, you try to share.


You heard him.


The gift he had, his greatest treasure,

Because you heard, lives on in you.


You heard him.


by Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  (book) via



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20 thoughts on “REVIEW: THE GO-GIVER

  1. I’ve heard of this book and recall seeing some great reviews about it but it left my mind as I never saw a copy available here in Japan where I currently live. Why do you think parables are making a comeback? I love them myself because they say a lot in few words – perhaps perfect for the modern person with little time ?

    1. Hey Iain:

      Thanks for your visit and your comments. Personally, I don’t think the love of parables has ever left us! I think we tend to turn our own stories into wisdom-parables as ways to remember whatever important bits of information we’ve discovered as we make our way through the world and we call them up whenever we need to re-examine things. They’re sort of like shorthand for deeper thinking. Perhaps it’s just that some parables are more universal than others, resonating with many people.

      Poems work the same way, I think. Both poems and parables have to be unpacked.

      Please do come again.

  2. If you read to your children before they go to sleep, a short story with wisdom inside the story is a great idea. Parables were in the bible too, and so they have been around a long time….a short story with a message.
    Thanks for the review.

    1. Hey Greg: Thanks for your visit and your comment. Please do come again….

  3. The Go-Giver sounds like a great addition to anyone’s library. I was not familiar with it before reading your review, nor was I familiar with the authors, Bob Burg and John David Mann. I am very familiar with the concepts…and, the use of parables is a great way to inspire people.

    Great review – I will add the Go-Giver to my “must read” list…thank you.

    1. Hey Paul:

      Thanks for your visit and your comments. Please do come again.

  4. This looks like interesting to read, I actually have collections of books at home some of it is similar to this one and I think this one can also be fun to read during past time although I haven’t heard about this the Go-Giver book not until I saw your review.

    1. Hey Sherly:

      Thanks for your visit.  I’m glad you found the review useful.

      Please do come again….

  5. Interesting how the poem relates to the book. The concept of leaving behind a legacy, passing on what you’ve learned, passing on those Laws of Stratospheric Success, basically. The overal message of the laws to me seems to be “you give some, you get some”. Guess that’s also what the title of the book is about. 

    One thing that bugs me with parables though is that oftentimes they aren’t used as an explanation, as much as they are pushed as examples and proofs. Anyway, since this book has gotten quite some attention and has success stories I figure that it’s probably not like that. 

    Thanks for sharing. I might check it out.

    1. Faheem, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  

      Yeah…you have hit on the problem with the heavy-handed use of parables.  There is this wiser-than-thou taste to them sometimes.  Maybe it’s ’cause it’s always kind of been a favorite way for old people to beat on youngsters and mostly pass on unasked-for advice.

      The Go-Giver parable’s not so bad.

      Oh…and the reason the poem matches the book is mostly ’cause I wrote the poem and saw the connection when I found the book.  (Sneaky, me….)

      Please do come again.

  6. Stories are powerful because they resonate with our humanity. Humans have been telling stories since the beginning of time. It’s an amazing way to get a point across. I like that within The Go-Giver’s story there are only 5 laws. It helps to keep them memorable. Also, I like that that Pindar required action before the next lesson. It doesn’t do any good to know something if you don’t use that knowledge. I have never heard of this book, but I am very familiar with all of the others you mentioned, so I might just have to check this out. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Chris.  If  you liked the others, it’s likely you’ll like the Go-Giver as well, I am thinking.  

      That is the deal with all of these books.  If you don’t do the actions, it doesn’t matter how many “laws” or whatever you collect.  They’ll just sit there…as long as you do.

      Please do come again.

  7. I have never heard of this book before but it’s definitely one I will be putting on my reading list.  I have read the Alchemist and LOVED it.  The premise sounds very similar to that book.  I tried to read the Secret but couldn’t get into it because I had too high of expectations after the Alchemist.  

    No matter how much we “know” that we should live our lives following these types of principles, I think it’s important to read a book with this sort of message to reinforce the ideas into our head of how to serve others and be more giving.  

    Lovely review!!

    1. Nicki, I’m glad you liked the post.  Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.

      I do agree that reinforcing the ideas about how to serve others and be more giving into our heads is important.  I think, though, that doing the principles sinks the ideas down into your bones and it gets automatic and a lot easier to do as well.

      Please do come again….


    The law of Influence was indeed one that caught my attention the most.
    Our materialistic world today is driven by the desires to satisfy oneself first. The law of influence says no, and that you should put the interests of others first.

    A perfect example would be a low value training resource for instance, that does nothing but charges upsells: the desire to enrich oneself, without really offereing something valuable in return.

    This all makes perfect sense.

    Great article. I loved reading this post.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Nsoh.  I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      The law of influence, like most of the laws in the Go-Giver book (and philosophy), is definitely what the world would call “counter-intuitive.”  

      It does seem to hold true, however, that when people feel that you are willing (and able) to foster and nurture their interests, they, in turn, will be a lot more willing to boost you up and help you get to yours.  

      “What goes around comes around,” and if you are generous and are willing to start the circle of giving spinning, and you keep on making more and more circles, an incredible amount of goodwill  can come your way.  Your way to yours gets a lot easier.  

      I like your example of the low-value training resource as a prime example of the other, more usual way of doing.  That was really right on.

      Please do come again. 

  9. Thank you for the great advice and wonderful review of the book. I’ve never heard of it, and you really made me want to read it. A parable is a fascinating form of narration and one of the most powerful for motivation.

    If a Go-Giver type supposed to be more successful than Go-Getter, then I am in! 🙂 Is this book available in Kindle edition?

    I loved the poem too!

    1. Hey Jewelia:  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad the post was interesting for you.

      The book does have a Kindle edition, I think.

      Please do come again.

  10. Some of these lines are very reminiscent of the Bible, I have never heard of this book but from your post I think it’s worth a read. 

    Having small children myself and passing on knowledge that I have learnt, this rings true to me. 

    However, one thing I very much believe to be true is you can pass on all your knowledge but they have to learn things and make mistakes themselves.  How else would you ever learn something new. 

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. 

    Thank you for the interesting read.

    1. Louisa, it is a truth that everyone has to make their own mistakes and each of us have their own lessons to learn.  Myself, I find it exciting to spend some time comparing notes.  

      Thanks for the visit and please do come again.  

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