#1 Book Summary: The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John D. Mann

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1-Page Summary of The Go-Giver


The Go-Giver is a book that explores the idea of giving and how it can help people succeed. The book follows Joe, who’s having trouble meeting his company’s sales quota. He turns to an older, wealthy man for advice on how he can improve himself in order to increase his chances of succeeding at work. These two authors use this story as a way to share their five principles for success: give more than you get, be generous with your time and resources, give before you get back, always go first when sharing something valuable with someone else (give them value before asking anything in return), and finally make sure that what you’re offering has real value (don’t just say “yes” or agree with others).

One Friday, a week before the end of his company’s third quarter, Joe finds himself in trouble. A large account he hopes to secure turns him down and goes with a competitor instead. He resolves not to fall short of his quota for the third time that year by winning back this client with help from someone who knows how to win deals – Pindar. After talking to an experienced employee, Joe gets Pindar’s contact information and sets up a meeting for Saturday morning.

The next morning, Joe drives to a magnificent mansion. He meets Pindar, who is in his early sixties but actually in his eighties. Pindar tells him that he will divulge the secrets of success if Joe comes back for lunch every day during the week and puts what he learns into practice before the end of each day.

Joe arrives on Monday for his meeting with Pindar and they go to a cafe to meet Ernesto Iafrate, who is also a successful real estate mogul. He explains that success can be measured by how much value you provide compared to what you earn. Joe puts this into practice when he provides a referral to a lawyer who informs him that his client will not be renewing its contract with Joe’s company.

The next day, Joe and Pindar meet with Nicole Martin, the founder of an educational software company. She tells them that a professional’s earning potential is determined by how many people she helps and at what level. They both put this lesson into practice by serving coffee to their coworkers and preparing for their meeting on Wednesday with Sam Rosen, who became legendary among colleagues because he was so influential. He teaches Joe the third law—a professional’s stature will be determined by her ability to place others’ needs before her own. Joe puts this lesson into practice by listening to his wife complain about him not being home enough lately.

On Thursday, Joe and Pindar attend a speech given by Debra Davenport. She tells them that an entrepreneur’s most important asset is his personality. He also learns the fourth law from Pindar: authenticity. This means that you should be yourself when presenting your idea to others so they can connect with it better. Another hint he gets is that on Friday, there will be another guest at their meeting—himself! By applying these lessons in the past week, Joe has grown as a person and as a professional who knows how to share ideas well enough for people to understand him intuitively.

Joe learns the last law from Pindar, who says that a professional can only profit when he is willing to accept gifts from others. Joe does this by building a company with one of Pindar’s proteges and becoming wildly successful. He earns his success by serving others and accepting gifts from those who return his generosity.

Key Point 1: The more successful professionals are, the more likely they are to practice kindness in their daily routine.

Joe visits Pindar at his home and is amazed by the old man’s kindness. He opens up to Joe about how he became successful, even though he doesn’t have to. This generosity is common among those who are famous and wealthy. The more people become famous or wealthy, the more generous they are with others.

It might be a good idea to be kind and caring in business, but it could also hurt you. For example, people who are nice to everyone they meet will get taken advantage of by those who are not so nice. That’s because the meaner person will use the nicer one for their own ends. If you’re going to try being kind in your professional life, don’t associate with negative people. Instead of trying to change them, find mentors and colleagues who are more like-minded than selfish ones. By creating an environment where kindness is valued over greediness, new employees will learn that it’s better for everyone if they act nicely rather than selfishly.

Key Point 2: To become prosperous, an entrepreneur must focus on something greater than making money.

Making money is not a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be the primary goal of entrepreneurs. If you focus on making money when starting a business, you won’t create something that people want to buy. To become profitable, one must first have an idea for something that will benefit a lot of people.

In some cases, it’s best to focus on improving employees’ talent and happiness rather than increasing profit margins. If you do that, you’ll be able to generate loyalty among your team members while also ensuring financial success. This is what one business mogul did with his research and development team at one of his early companies. The seven-person team was given the freedom to create new products, which brought in millions for Smith after he put them into practice. He rewarded each member of the R&D group with generous stock options as well as those for the company itself -– if Smith sold a company created by this R&D group, he didn’t keep all of its profits; instead, he gave bonuses to everyone involved (including all other employees).

Key Point 3: Innovators and leaders often have unconventional appearances and take unusual routes to success.

Joe meets Ernesto Iafrate and is amazed at how unassuming the chef seems to be. He’s even more surprised when he learns that Iafrate is a successful real estate investor. It turns out that many wealthy business owners are humble despite their successes in the financial world, which defies common stereotypes about them.

Even people who are successful in their chosen fields often have unlikely backgrounds. For example, one of the most famous and wealthy authors in the world was a single mother living off welfare. Few people would believe that she could become an author, but J.K. Rowling did just that with her Harry Potter series of books about young wizards. After her first marriage ended a year after it began, Rowling found herself living in dire conditions while dealing with grief from losing her mother to cancer and depression during which she considered suicide as an option for coping with those feelings. She struggled to make ends meet by working odd jobs before writing “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (1997), which became one of the most beloved franchises ever created and earned her hundreds of millions of dollars over time thanks to its popularity around the world among readers who related to Harry Potter’s story.

Key Point 4: Giving away knowledge for free generates profit.

It’s easy to assume that the wealthy keep their strategies a secret, and don’t share them with others. However, many successful professionals freely share their tactics with others without any fear of losing customers or money. When companies give away these secrets for free, they earn people’s trust, which makes those purchasers more likely to refer others and increase sales overall. This is true in business as well as personal relationships.

Entrepreneurs can give away their secrets on an individual basis, as Pindar did for Joe. However, some business owners may choose to distribute their methods to a broad number of people at one time. For example, Sujan Patel created a YouTube channel where he gives away his marketing strategy and answers questions about his process. The videos don’t generate large viewing numbers but they do attract customers to Patel’s business by presenting his methods in a transparent and free manner. In addition, the viewers ask him specific questions about problems with their own campaigns that he then helps them solve. This generates $100,000 in profits for Patel per year as well as helping those viewers progress toward achieving their goals faster than if they were doing it alone without any help from him or others like him who are generous enough to provide advice freely.

Key Point 5: To achieve more both professionally and personally, one must first figure out how to help more people.

Teachers can help students in their classroom, but if they do that for only a few people, they’ll make little money. If they figure out how to teach more students and have them pay for the service, then teachers will be more successful and earn more money. Therefore, ambitious workers should find ways to help as many consumers as possible so that they can earn a lot of money.

In The $100 Startup (2012), Chris Guillebeau argues that the best way to serve more customers is to look for areas of convergence in business and personal life. This means finding a place where your interests intersect with what people need or want. For example, if you love dogs, you might not be able to sell that directly but could use it as an opportunity to combine your knowledge about dog behavior with pet training. If you’re into meditation, maybe you can offer guided sessions based on your own experience while providing expertise in reducing stress levels. By using these skills and interests to help more customers, entrepreneurs can create careers they love while developing a devoted following and reputation for expertise.

Key Point 6: Mindsets generate wealth or poverty, and can shift over time to a person’s benefit or detriment.

People think that the rich only get rich by being selfish, but that’s not true. People who are cutthroat and greedy don’t succeed as much as those who have a positive attitude toward their future. An entrepreneur with a negative outlook on life is unlikely to ever become wealthy, while someone else with the right attitude can build his or her wealth again and again even if they lose it temporarily.

Successful business owners should continue to work hard and stay motivated. If they relax their focus, or become stagnant in any way, they can end up failing. It’s important for entrepreneurs to keep pushing themselves forward because there is always room for improvement with businesses, as well as individuals. Successful business people are constantly thinking about how to better their companies and themselves. They never stop striving towards success, even when it may not be convenient at the time. By working hard every day without complaining about the job at hand (even if it isn’t immediately fun), successful business owners will develop a positive mindset that allows them not only to keep moving forward but also enjoy what they’re doing throughout the process. They’ll set an example for everyone else on how things should be done — which will lead to higher overall productivity in their companies’ progressions over time.”

Key Point 7: Favors should be given without any expectation that they will be repaid in kind.

If you keep track of everything that people owe you, then they won’t trust you. This is because peers will be afraid to ask for your help because they know that something will be expected in return. If someone gives freely and without expectation, then those same colleagues are more likely to offer help without being asked. Generosity generates reciprocity, while demanding equal returns only encourages selfishness and breaks down relationships.

People should not be reluctant to ask for help from their colleagues, but they shouldn’t expect that asking will automatically mend a relationship. However, when people do favors for each other, the giver’s impression of the receiver improves immensely. This phenomenon is known as the Benjamin Franklin effect and was described in his autobiography where he wrote about how he turned an enemy into a friend by asking him to lend him a book. After finishing it, he returned it and wrote a letter expressing his gratitude which led to improved relations with the man who no longer hated Franklin and treated him like a friend for life. By being willing to ask for help even from unlikely allies, people can improve their standing at work while encouraging generous behavior among coworkers.

Key Point 8: Good business strategies can improve any aspect of one’s life.

If a strategy helps a business succeed, then it will likely help an individual in their personal life as well. If entrepreneurs are finding success with a particular strategy, they should find ways to apply that same strategy to their personal life.

It can be difficult to see the benefits of a positive habit in the short term, especially if it’s one that improves your skills. However, if you stick with it and practice consistently over time, you’ll notice improvement. For example, when Jeff Olson started writing every day for 20 minutes as part of his morning routine, he didn’t see any results at first. But after doing this daily for almost a decade (and now writing every day for hours), he has become an author who writes several books per year!

Book Structure

Many business books use case studies and personal experiences to illustrate their points. However, The Go-Giver takes a different approach by using an allegorical story with simplistic characters and a straightforward plot to communicate its ideas. The author uses the main character’s job as an office worker to make it easier for readers to see how they can apply the book’s lessons in their own careers. Since many of the other characters are referred to only by titles such as “the real estate magnate” or “the CEO,” readers can connect with them more easily because these roles are familiar from everyday life. Burg and Mann also keep things simple by sticking mostly with narrative rather than getting too technical or theoretical about specific business strategies.

By using a story-based approach, Burg and Mann are able to highlight their main points. They even simplify this process by emphasizing some of the most important points in italics. The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success were introduced by Joe’s mentor, and then they are repeated at the end of each chapter (in bold text) along with all five laws again when Joe has learned them all. This book is only around 150 pages long, so it should be easy to finish in an afternoon or less.

About the Author

Everyone knows that you can’t make money unless you offer something of value. Bob Burg and John David Mann take this lesson one step further by arguing that the most successful entrepreneurs freely share their knowledge and expertise without expecting anything in return.

Burg and Mann are authors of The Go-Giver, a book about how to be successful in business. It became an international bestseller after its release in 2007. Several awards have been given to the book since then, including Forbes’ list of books that up-and-coming business leaders should read. Burg and Mann have also written several companion volumes to The Go-Giver, including Influencer: A Little Story About a Most Persuasive Idea (2018), which is about persuading others; Leader: A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business (2016), which explains how leaders can use positivity; and An Expanded Version of The Go-Giver (2012).

The authors use a worker in an office to demonstrate how one can be successful by being generous. The lessons of the book are applicable outside of the workplace as well, however.

Full Summary of The Go-Giver


Most people would say that you need to take advantage of any opportunities that come your way, and not worry about what others are getting. It’s all about yourself in business.

Most people think that to be successful, you need to do everything they want and not ask anything in return. For this reason there are tons of go-getter entrepreneurs out there who ask for nothing but hard work in the hopes of being rewarded at some point down the road. However, your business will succeed when you find out what other people want and try to satisfy their demands. Put concisely: Just treat others well because good things happen when you help them first! These key points show you why giving isn’t selfish; how a 50/50 relationship is really detrimental; how one man put his own success aside to start something great; and much more!

Big Idea #1: The best way to succeed is not to try and take everything from life for yourself, but to share it with others.

Success is important. However, you have to be prepared for it and know what you want in life. You can’t focus on gaining things; instead, focus on the bigger picture of what’s really important and how that will help your future self. For example, Joe was ambitious but he wasn’t making progress because he didn’t know where his goals were leading him or why they were so important to him.

Joe threw himself into his work and became successful. However, he stopped doing the kind of excellent work that he had done in the past. He was so focused on success that he lost sight of what was important to him.

The difference between Joe and people who were successful was that he only thought of gaining something for himself, while they thought about what they could give to others.

This is the go-giver mentality. It’s based on both the pleasure of giving and the idea that you get out of life what you are looking for. If you worry that people will take advantage of you, they eventually will. But if you look for good in other people, and expect to give more than receive from your business relationships, then there is a lot out there to be found.

We’ll learn the rules that will help us give more. We’ll see that success isn’t necessarily about how much we get, but rather what we manage to give away.

Big Idea #2: Make sure that you add value to the experience of every customer who comes to your business.

We’ve been introduced to the idea that giving will make you successful. But how does it actually work? Well, there are five laws of success: the five go-giver rules. The first one is about being a giver and not just a taker.

If you want to be successful, focus on creating a great experience for your customers. If you make the product awesome, it can help but not everyone can do this. For example, if you sell hotdogs at a stand, how much better could you make them than other stands? Not much.

Instead of trying to be the cheapest, instead give your customers a positive feeling that they’ll remember. Consider the story of Ernesto who ran a hotdog stand and made it successful by remembering his customers’ names and favorite orders. In short, he made every customer feel special which paid off in the long run as he went on to own six restaurants.

Ernesto’s story shows us that when you give to others, they will return the favor. Even if your customer only has a small experience with you, it can be very important to them.

What else can we do to help people with our businesses? Keep reading to find out.

Big Idea #3: Your success depends on how many lives you touch with what you do.

Businesses are successful when they serve a large number of people. To understand how this works, let’s look at an example of the law of compensation in action.

Nicole Martin is a former teacher who developed games that encouraged children to be creative and curious. The games were so popular that they had the potential of touching millions of lives around the world.

It’s easier said than done to start a successful business. You’ll need the support of others, but how can you get them on board when you haven’t had any success yet? It’s often just a matter of showing your own conviction and passion for your ideas.

For example, Nicole tried out her ideas on family and friends. Not only did they support her business, but she also got in touch with a big investor who was willing to fund the educational software company. When you go in one direction, you’ll notice how many people are willing to help you start your business or idea.

Big Idea #4: Place other people’s interests first to achieve your own goals.

We’ve learned that thinking about others and putting them first will get you more success. You might be wondering if it’s true, but the law of influence shows us how profitable it is to put others’ interests above your own. Put someone else’s needs before yours, and they’ll go out of their way to make sure your needs are met too.

Sam Rosen struggled in his early career as an insurance salesman. However, he soon realized that putting others first would help him be more successful and enriching to those around him. He became a financial advisor who helped people use their money wisely.

A person who helped me a lot in my career is Sam. He now brings in three quarters of the revenue for his company. However, I am tempted to only enter into relationships where I get back exactly what I put out; therefore, it’s important to give 100 percent effort and both parties will be happier.

The author gives a touching example of how this principle works. He has a friend named Joe who made a deal with his wife that they wouldn’t complain about their jobs for more than 30 minutes at a time.

But one day his wife came home completely exhausted. The husband decided to listen to her without judging or interrupting. The next day, she found a note from him thanking her for sharing and that made the husband happy. Giving your all is better than keeping score on how much you’re giving versus what you’re getting back in return.

Big Idea #5: Your business will get nowhere without authenticity – it is the salt and pepper of success.

Nobody enjoys being accosted by a salesperson, who is trying to sell them something. It’s irritating and doesn’t make much sense. There are better ways of selling things, such as the go-giver principle.

The law of authenticity is important when it comes to selling. People don’t want to be sold, they want a genuine experience. The real estate agent Debra Davenport struggled in her career because she couldn’t sell houses no matter how hard she tried. Then one day, everything changed when she started talking about the client’s life and stopped trying to push them into buying a house. She went on to become successful by treating people as human beings rather than just potential customers.

We learn a lot from Debra’s story. It is crucial to be yourself when interacting with others, and you will only be truly successful if you show your uniqueness.

Debra was a salesperson, but she didn’t rely on her training alone to sell houses. She allowed herself to be authentic and struck up relationships with clients. This is because people want to buy from other people, not companies or brands. So if you’re going to market yourself for business success, don’t just be an extension of your brand; let the person behind the brand shine through so that you can build strong relationships with customers and colleagues alike.

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Big Idea #6: Learn how to give in order to receive.

We hear a lot about giving, but not much about what to expect in return. It’s hard to know exactly how your own success will come from it. You may still be unsure of that. Well, let me clear up that fear for you!

In every act of giving, you can expect to receive something in return. This is the fifth principle of go-giving – the law of receptivity. There are many theories that deal with this concept, such as karma and yin and yang. The natural movement from giving is receiving.

If you want to give, you need to be open. You have to accept the flow of giving and receiving. If you don’t do that, then you’ll miss out on opportunities for both. Instead, we should dream big and believe in ourselves so that we can be more receptive to the things we receive from others.

It’s vital to remember that no matter what profession you have, how skilled you are, or how much work you put in, the most successful way of approaching things is by thinking about what you can do for others. Use these laws to guide your business strategies and become more successful while touching those around you with your success.

#1 Book Summary: The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John D. Mann

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