What We Set Out to Find

In his book The Go Giver Bob Berg tells a story that relates back to positive ideas about business and the sales side of business.  It is often hard to picture positive things coming from a work and business environment, especially when companies and executives are portrayed as greedy and selfish.  In his book, Berg lays out a better platform for looking at and understanding business contexts. He talks about the importance of developing relationships of trust within our professional lives, and acting with integrity as a genuinely nice person to others.  His cornerstone idea rests with treating other people well, and providing more in value than you receive in payment. In other words, Berg is focused on giving more than asking and taking.  Hi book explores how the idea of giving can lead one to become very successful, especially at points where we need to rely on others for assistance.


Throughout his book he dives into multiple themes and ideas, and one idea that resonated with me was his thoughts on perspective.  Berg writes, “See the world as a dog-eat-dog place and you’ll always find a bigger dog looking at you as if you’re his next meal.  Go looking for the best in people, and you’ll be amazed at how much talent, ingenuity, empathy and good you will find.” What Berg is identifying her is the importance of what we are focusing on and trying to perceive.  Our perspective can be limited to only the negative aspects of any place that we are at, which will only lead to the continued flood of negative thoughts and perceptions. Berg continues, “Ultimately, the world treats you more or less the way you expect to be treated.” He is showing us how confirmation bias can affect our workplace, and how disastrous it can be if we are not aware of the thoughts that we build.


What Berg explains in his two quotes is the idea of perspective and expectations shaping our experiences.  Our presumptions and prejudices will change the way we interact with others, which will be noticeable to them, and in the end our attitude will shape the way we are treated by those with whom we interact.  A negative mindset will prevent us from connecting with those around us or in our community and will lead to others having negative thoughts about us. In his book, Berg explains that a positive perspective can help us become successful because it changes the expectations we have about our work, and allows us to reach for new possibilities.

Giving and Success

Bob Berg wrote the book The Go Giver as a story that opens up the importance of relationships and having a positive focus while trying to reach our goals and find the level of success that we desire.  Berg focuses his story on business and sales, but what he writes can be applied to many areas of our life, including areas outside of business.  One of the cornerstones to Berg’s book is a focus on giving and providing value for others that helps one build, in an almost oblique path, toward the success  they want to see.  In one section a character in Berg’s book states, “You can’t go in two directions at once.  Trying to be successful with making  money as your goal is like trying to travel a superhighway at seventy miles an hour with your eyes glued to the rearview mirror.”  Through this quote, Berg is addressing the idea that our goals are not always best served by simply diving in one direction after one idea.


For Berg, being a complete human being and thinking of others is of greater importance than anything else, especially when it comes to business. He argues throughout the book that those who reach the greatest level of financial success don’t just wake up and think how can I become super wealthy? Instead, they wake up thinking about how they can solve problems for others and provide greater value for others. By focusing outside of themselves they find solutions to help people, and they do so with the idea of assisting others and doing things that benefit them first, knowing that they will be able to find rewards afterwards.  Often times we seem to think it is impure to want to assist others for our own personal gain. I think, and I suspect that Berg would agree, it is ok if we have a motive related to ourselves in helping others. If we decide to spend the time clearing trash from a street because we don’t want to see it and we know that others will appreciate it, we are still doing a good thing for the community even if we were primarily motivated by our own gain in the end. Where Berg would say this mindset needs to end is when we are setting something up that benefits us far more than it benefits others.  Taking actions and presenting them as though they help all when truly they only marginally benefit anyone other than yourself misses the point, especially if you create an atmosphere around yourself in which your act as though your behaviors truly assist everyone.


Ultimately, the idea Berg shares in The Go Giver is the idea that we can drive toward huge successes and still be good people if we focus more on providing value to those around us as opposed to looking at the world for the value it can provide to us. When we focus first and foremost on others and helping them, we find ways in which we can grow, and we build relationships that will return something positive to us.  Through these relationships, and through an idea of giving, we find a path toward success that is well rounded and more enjoyable.