Peeking Behind the Page

July 15, 2009

Yesterday in an interview with Glenn Garnes I was asked, were the characters in The Go-Giver based on real people, or wholly fictional?

“Half and half,” I told him. “Yes, it’s fiction, but there are bits and pieces of real people there—and also bits and pieces of real-life dialog and events.”

Glenn got such a kick out of some of these behind-the-scenes Go-Giver reality tidbits, I thought I’d share a few here:

In chapter 2, Pindar tells Joe about a conversation he once had with Larry King.

This conversation is a nearly verbatim account of an actual conversation Bob Burg had with the real Larry King, backstage in the green room, when they were both speaking at the same event.

A few pages later in chapter 2, Pindar tells Joe, “The majority of people operate with a mindset that says to the fireplace, ‘First give me some heat, then I’ll throw on some logs.’ Or says to the bank, ‘Give me interest on my money, then I’ll make a deposit.’ And of course, it just doesn’t work that way.”

The fireplace-and-logs image was something Bob Burg and I had both heard from Bob Proctor. After the book came out, I was poking around in the classics of the success literature (while writing John Assaraf’s The Vision Board Book) and discovered that Proctor had gotten it from his teacher, the great Earl Nightingale.

And what about Pindar himself?

The Chairman is in fact a thinly veiled Proctor. (See? The names are even similar!)

It was only after the book came out that I remembered this additional thread: when I was nineteen I studied composition in music school in New York with a wonderful man, now justly famous in choral music circles, named Peter Pindar Stearns.

I ask you, is this the face of a wise mentor, or what?



Many people have asked us, Is Debra Davenport a real person?

Sort of. She was based (very loosely) on a friend of Bob’s, the supersuccessful Realtor® Terri Murphy (Bob describes her in Endless Referrals as “the $14 million woman”) — although I hasten to assure you that Terri’s personal history is nothing like Debra’s.

Debra’s core message of authenticity, and the law that it embodies (the Law of Authenticity) were both inspired by the example of my sweet wife, Ana Gabriel Mann.

Her name I borrowed from two friends, Debra Hansen and Rita Davenport.

Or so I thought . . . until July 11, 2008, when I got an email from an Eva Petra, who works as executive assistant and publicist for a professional executive coach and motivational speaker named … (wait for it) … Debra Davenport.

Seriously. I kidding you not.

I work for Dr. Debra Davenport in Phoenix, Arizona [wrote Eva], and she speaks frequently about authenticity, self-empowerment, altruism, and a number of other powerful personal/professional development topics. I’m just wondering if this is the same Debra Davenport.

Um, no. At least, we don’t think so. But then, the lines between fiction and non- are perhaps a little blurrier than we thought.

Note: I posted this same information on The Go-Giver blog, and got this comment from a gentleman named Chris Cree:

I’ve had the opportunity to meet Debra Davenport several times. My wife was even a guest at her house once. She’s a great lady who embodies the Go-Giver spirit. A fitting example to borrow a name from. Good choice.

Okay: I’m sitting at my phone, waiting for the real Ernesto Iafrate to call.


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