“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
Full Title: The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
Author: Bob Burg & John David Mann
Publisher: Portfolio (2008)
Number of Pages: 132
How long it took me to read: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Where I bought this book: From Amazon
Like a Moth to a Flame
My inboxes are bulging at the seams (yes, that’s ‘inboxes’—plural). I suppose that I should be used to dealing with information overload by now, but for some reason, the sound of another new email arriving still manages to make me cringe. But this newest arrival came from my mom, and what better reason to take a break from what you’re doing then to read a message from mom?
She sent me an email with a free book chapter attached to it. The email talked about how this book could help anyone building a business learn new ways of looking at the process of becoming successful. I wanted to read the chapter, not only because I was interested in the concept, but more so because I wanted a break from ‘trying’ to write, and reading someone else’s words is usually therapeutic and often inspires my creative flow. So, instead of tightening my grip on a delusional sense of control, I decided to sit back, take the last sip of the second cup of cold coffee sitting on its coaster made of cork amidst towers of gleaming books awaiting to be courted, and opened up the attachment.
I maximized the window across my entire screen so that the font was the size you see in childrens’ books—this way, at least my eyes could pretend to rest while glued to the monitor. By the end of the chapter, I was hooked. Next thing I knew, I found myself on Amazon confirming a purchase for a copy of a used book discounted 40% (because you know that anything less than 20% off is just insulting to a bargain hunter!). Who says emails can’t be effective marketing tools? It all hinges on who the sender is!
It seems this little red book was meant to be one of my vacation reads, because I’m getting ready to open it now, 37,000 feet in the air, on a connecting flight from SFO to JFK.
Whittling 13 down to 5…I propose that the top 5 quotes from this book are:
5. “Most of us have grown up seeing the world as a place of limitation rather than as a place of inexhaustible treasures. A world of competition rather than one of co-creation.” (p.15)
4. “Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving….Then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.” (p.14)
3. “All the giving in the world won’t bring success, won’t create the results you want, unless you also make yourself willing and able to receive in like measure. Because if you don’t let yourself receive, you’re refusing the gifts of others—and you shut down the flow.” (p.108)
2. “SURVIVE, SAVE and SERVE. They are the three universal reasons for working. Survive—to meet your basic living needs. Save—to go beyond your basic needs and expand your life. And serve—to make a contribution to the world around you.” (p.59)
…and my pick for the No.1 quote is…
1. “As long as you’re trying to be someone else, or putting on some act or behavior someone else taught you, you have no possibility of truly reaching people. The most valuable thing you have to give people is yourself. No matter what you think you’re selling, what you’re really offering is you.” (p.92)
Conversation with the Reader
While I read, I write, and as I write, I read. Here’s some of what I wrote while I read this book:
“I’m on a plane. I’m running on 4 hours of sleep and 12 hours of packing. I’m on email hiatus. I’m finally off of ‘trip planning’ mode. All the tickets are printed. The notes and memos and reminders are tucked away in pockets and sleeves and folders within bags. Now, I’m on vacation. Now, things happen.
“This should be a time to rest, to take a breather and to absorb the moment in all its pregnant emptiness. Instead, I find myself wanting to read—to engage my mind in someone else’s words. Even though my contacts are threatening to dry out soon, and even though I’m sleep deprived and somehow have managed to start feeling jet-lagged just two hours into my first of many flights, I can’t wait to crack open this new book!
“I love this time—the moment right before you commit to starting a full-blown relationship with a new book. Up until now, we’ve been casually dating. The book’s been laying lazily on my desk for a few weeks, playing coy with me. I pretended I didn’t notice its subtle glances. And now, I’m facing that crucial moment when I’m about to take the plunge and tell iReaditNow that I’ve ‘Started’ reading it. I’m about to open the front cover and find the first page. It’s as exciting as a first kiss, only less messy. Ok, wish me luck!”
“I had a conversation with a girlfriend recently. She’s a new friend, so it was a ‘new friend’ conversation. We introduced our pasts, talked about how we met our husbands, what brought us to the city where our paths were now crossing, and essentially tried to sniff each other out while being polite and stylishly composed.
“At one point, she told me about a book her husband was gifted by someone with whom he used to work. The main thesis of the book was that a person’s value is directly proportional to the number of people he or she knows. In the spirit of new friendships, I restrained myself from screaming, ‘What bullshit!’. Yes, to a certain extent, the concept of interacting with society is an essential part of contributing to a community, but if we don’t have something of worth to give in the first place, the value of the network has little upon which to thrive and flourish.
“This brings me to the reason why this story came up while I was reading The Go-Giver. What I shared with her—my perception of the world—mirrors the message so neatly packaged in The Go-Giver.
“To me, the world is full of limitless abundance. We create prosperity and wealth in our lives and in the lives of those around us simply by being grateful for all these things, and anticipating prosperity around every corner we turn. Gratitude and faith are the most valuable currencies we can own. In my world, there is no need for greed or manipulation. There is more than enough for everyone. You can choose to see the world differently. I choose to see it this way.”
“Just imagine, only one hour a day for five days—a lunch hour, of all things—was enough to open a man’s mind to new possibilities and to expose him to worlds of abundance he hardly ever let himself imagine existed. Just a little time, and the willingness to be open to new experiences, and he welcomed empowerment and inspiration into his life. All it took was a little time…that reason why everything doesn’t happen at once…”
“I’m still in the air, flying over some place between New York and Milan. I’m sitting in the center seat of the center row of a plane that’s transporting me back to my roots—the place where I was born, and for some reason, the place I left a big part of myself. I’m about to revisit this special place after a two and a half year separation. I don’t know what awaits, but I do know that I’m more ready than ever to take on the role of giver, and wholeheartedly open to the world of receiving. Let the fortune flow!”
“I’ve become a book-giver. I gifted The Go-Giver to someone on the plane—someone who I hope it will inspire, someone who has inspired me. I spent hours talking to him about possibilities—about what life has to offer after graduation, and about how we have more untapped potential sitting idle in us then anyone could ever imagine and that only we can discover for ourselves. I told him stories and watched his eyes grow wider at the potential that he was starting to see within himself.
“I also gifted a book to a dear friend yesterday in celebration of her wedding day. I think what makes the giving of these books special, at least for me, is that they made a permanent footprint in the soil that lines my garden of potential, one that will influence the way my seeds will sprout into the eventual blossoms of my reality. These books have changed me, they have empowered me, and they have inspired the whole of me.
“The spreader of words…the giver of words…the ‘gifter’ of words…I like that…”
Note to reader: I thought it would be easier to express, in writing, the profound experience that came along with reading and sharing this book. Perhaps sometimes, words are too limited to fully express the possibilities.