Book Review: The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea, by Bob Burg and John David Mann

The Go-GiverThe Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann is, simply put, twisted Prosperity Gospel propaganda. The authors call it a parable, meaning they don’t know what a parable is. Containing absolutely no depth and requiring no thought (if thought is given one will quickly see through the charade), this is a contrived, poorly written, forced narrative that promotes fantastical success and results based on an “if this, then that” lie of “giving = getting.” There’s just enough truth embedded within (yes, giving is good!) to cause a plethora of folks to buy into the enormity of its fallacy. If it has caused people to have a better attitude and give more, that’s wonderful; but let’s not also buy into the lie that the end justifies the means, nor vice versa. If it caused people to believe that giving always leads to getting, then the book has served its unfortunate purpose.

Without reading the book, one may simply turn to page 123 to get the gist in its totality…or just read it here:

The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success

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 and how well 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.

Burg and Mann make an admirable claim in the Q&A appendix: “What we’re saying is that success is the result of specific habits of action: creating value, touching people’s lives, putting others’ interests first, being real, and having the humility to stay open to receiving” (138, though page numbers are not marked in the Q&A section). What they are really saying, however, is that giving will always manifest itself in receiving more.

Since Mann is the professed Christian of the two, he took on, “Doesn’t the Bible say, ‘It’s better to give than to receive?’” His response is the result of poor exegesis and the very thing Health and Wealth Prosperity Gospel folk like to do: twist Scripture just enough to make it sound legit and yet mean something entirely different. Mann’s response:

What it says (in Acts of the Apostles) is that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” The Greek word makarios (blessed), which is the same word used in the Eight Beatitudes…, carries these meanings: fortunate, rewarded, prosperous, rich, happy. In other words, when you focus on giving you end up more abundantly rewarded than if you had focused on receiving.

At its root, makarios means “grow larger” (like macro). When you give, you become a bigger person, in every way—more successful, more influential, more fulfilled. (145)

No, Jesus never said anyone is guaranteed success and wealth in return for giving. The blessing and reward we look forward to is not of this world; otherwise, we are no different than the rest of the world.

I was given this book to read by someone who stopped me outside a coffee shop and wondered if I was interested in doing business with online tech and social media, with which I’m already familiar, but soon discovered was trying to rope me into the World Wipe Group (World Wide Dream Builders) and Amway pyramid scheme. I certainly do not recommend the book, but I do recommend steering clear of anyone who does. Don’t get sucked in!

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