The Go-Giver Influencer
A Little Story About a Most Persuasive Idea
Bookpal’s 2018 Outstanding Works of Literature Award (longlisted)
After publishing The Go-Giver back in 2007, Bob Burg and I had a rollicking good time applying the Go-Giver idea — the more you give, the more you have — to sales (Go-Givers Sell More), leadership (The Go-Giver Leader), and education (A Teacher’s Guide to The Go-Giver).
The natural question was, “What’s next?”
In these highly polarized times, we thought it might be helpful to explore a Go-Giver approach to influence — and specifically about the role influence plays in our capacity for empathy, civil discourse, and the ability to see another’s perspective. At its heart, The Go-Giver Influencer is a story about what it takes to bridge differences, to settle disputes and defang conflicts, to find common ground where there appear to be only irreconcilably polarized positions. (And, yes, even to negotiate business dealings.) It is also about what it takes to be the kind of person whom others come to trust, a person to whom others look for sound guidance, clear judgment, and, in times of challenge, evenhanded wisdom.
It seemed only natural that our “hero” would be not one person, with one set of circumstances and experiences and a singular point of view, but two very different people. This naturally led to the idea of two mentors and two sets of principles—different, but complementary.
And somewhere along the way, the story picked up a large dog named Solomon and a Russian Blue cat named — well, you’ll have to read the book to find out her name.
Foreign Language Editions
Also available now in Chinese (complex) and Vietnamese.
The Go-Giver Influencer Reviews
“This may be the most important Go-Giver book yet—and in today’s polarized world, it could not be more timely.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
“The Go-Giver Influencer is a brilliant and insightful book that teaches us how to see things from the other person’s point of view and add value to their life while honoring our own. Remarkable!”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager and Raving Fans
“As with The Go-Giver, I was sucked in and touched from the first page. This book is such a wonderful guide for those who truly care about adding value to the world! I had tears in my eyes at the end—and came away equipped with five powerful keys to being a more effective influencer.”
—Tiffany Hendra, star of The Real Housewives of Dallas
“Having the ability to influence others is a privilege that far exceeds any negotiation strategy or tactic. This wonderful book gives you the roadmap and the tools to make this happen!”
—Stephen M. R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust and coauthor of Smart Trust
“In a world that has become increasingly fractured and adversarial, Burg and Mann have given us a delightful story that also serves as a guidebook for creating common ground, reconciliation, and genuine influence.”
—Jon Gordon, author of The Energy Bus and The Carpenter
“The Go-Giver Influencer is a game-changer. Its principles apply whether you’re a business executive, sales professional, entrepreneur, volunteer, parent, or student. The entire Go-Giver series should have a place on everyone’s desk and be reread periodically to remind ourselves that there is a better way to connect in both our business and personal lives.”
—Nikki Woods, national radio producer and CEO of Nikki Woods Media
“More than ever, we need to bring people together in a world that’s emotionally falling apart at the seams. That’s why The Go-Giver Influencer is a must-read for you and your team. In this page-turner, Bob Burg and John David Mann share a story that will shift your perspective on what it takes today to be a highly influential leader.”
— Tim Sanders, author of Love Is the Killer App
“A timely reminder that influence depends less on what we get from others and more on what we give to others.”
—Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
“The Go-Giver Influencer is a simple story about two people struggling through a business negotiation, yet it is also a great deal more than that. It may just be the book that teaches us how to listen and talk to each other again.”
—David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire and Smart Women Finish Rich
“Filled with profoundly simple insights you can put into immediate action, The Go-Giver Influencer is a magical look at how you can transcend the win/lose mindset to find a powerful third way. Thank you, Burg and Mann, for yet another Go-Giver book that helps us see the ordinary in extraordinary new ways. I will be sharing this book with everyone in my company!”
—Traci Fenton, founder and CEO of WorldBlu
“If you do nothing more than read and follow the lesson of chapter 7 in The Go-Giver Influencer, you will have given yourself a gift that can be life-changing. Trust me, it is the essential element to great leadership as well as a great life.”
—Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, and author of Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family
“What a beautiful book! The Go-Giver Influencer delivers a message the world needs today more than ever, a message of empathy and insight. This may be the most masterful Go-Giver book yet—and the most important.”
— Nido Qubein, president of High Point University
“A must-read! The Go-Giver Influencer is a winner’s strategy.”
—Molly W. Fletcher, legendary sports agent, author of A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating, and CEO of The Molly Fletcher Company
“Bob Burg and John David Mann have hit it out of the park again. The Go-Giver Influencer enriches and extends the seminal ideas of their previous works to creating harmony in an increasingly polarized world and win-win outcomes in your personal and professional lives. This book will sit beside Dale Carnegie’s timeless How to Win Friends and Influence People on the short shelf of classic must-read success titles.”
—Adam Robinson, cofounder of The Princeton Review and author of An Invitation to the Great Game
“Don’t be fooled by this story’s simplicity: Bob and John have given us a sophisticated blueprint for masterful negotiation. Not the tired old strong-arm tactics you’ve read before, but genuine negotiation, the kind that helps you reach your goals and makes the world a better place in the process.”
—Brandon Webb, former Navy SEAL, CEO of Hurricane Media Group and coauthor of The Red Circle and Total Focus
“Forget about influence as a process of simply getting your name, products, and services in front of as many people as you can. As the authors powerfully demonstrate, genuine influence is the fine art of building trust, creating win-win scenarios, and providing first-class value. I LOVE this book!”
—Libby Gill, author of You Unstuck, executive coach, former SVP at Universal Studios Television, former VP at Sony Pictures Television and Turner Broadcasting
“The wisdom in The Go Giver Influencer sneaks up on you and, in the end, changes you. I loved the book and am the better for having read it.”
—Dan Rockwell, publisher of the Leadership Freak blog
“A wonderful story that shows why being kind, considerate, and respectful is not only the right way to be, but also the most influential, persuasive, and successful way to be, as well. In my real life, it’s everything I believe in. On a reality TV show, of course, that would be a producer’s worst nightmare—everyone would get along too well and be too happy!”
—Jacqueline Laurita, television personality (The Real Housewives of New Jersey)
“The Go-Giver Influencer is like having a seasoned mentor or wise grandparent help improve the way you negotiate, influence, and persuade—and most importantly, stop being a roadblock to your own success. You’ll want to buy copies for your all your valued colleagues!”
—Carol Roth, founder of the Future File® legacy planning system, television host and author of The Entrepreneur Equation
“A masterpiece—profound and vital. Thank you, Bob and John, for writing the perfect book at the perfect time with the most perfect message.”
— Lolly Daskal, author of The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
“The Go-Give Influencer is a beautiful story that redefines and reframes our notion of leadership, influence, and the legacy we want to leave. A true gift for all who want to make an impact.”
— Angela Maiers, author of Genius Matters and founder of Choose2Matter
“In The Go-Giver Influencer, Bob Burg and John David Mann provide incredibly wise counsel on how to communicate more successfully and more effectively. This entertaining parable reveals step-by-step how you can add value to every conversation you have, while achieving the greatest results for everyone involved.”
—Sharon Lechter, author of Think and Grow Rich for Women and coauthor of Outwitting the Devil and Rich Dad Poor Dad
“This is more than just another book about influence, it’s the owners manual. If influence is like the Force in Star Wars, then Bob Burg and John David Mann are twin Yodas. You know how people say, ‘If you read only one book this year…”? I’m saying, if you read only one book this decade, let it be this one.”
—Duane Cummings, CEO of Leadercast
“The next installment in the Go-Giver series, and the best yet. Burg and Mann deliver a brilliant book on how to expand your influence.”
—Randy Gage, author of Risky Is the New Safe and Mad Genius
“A beautiful and compelling story about the power of making a difference versus making a point. Bob Burg and John David Mann show how we can find the collaborative space in any discussion or debate, even when we can’t see one. In a world where the spoken word is too often used to vilify and defeat, this book brings us back to how we can take two differing perspectives and weave them into a tremendous thread that actually binds us closer together.”
—Tracey C. Jones, president of Tremendous Leadership
“If you do any type of selling, negotiating, delivering or receiving feedback—which is all of us—this book will immediately make your life better and your relationships more fruitful. An absolute gem of a read!”
—Rory Vaden, cofounder of Southwestern Consulting and author of Take the Stairs
“Bob Burg and John David Mann know what many people don’t: that the most effective negotiation isn’t about intimidation, it’s about listening.”
—Sheryl O’Loughlin, CEO of REBBL, former CEO of Clif Bar and cofounder of Plum, Inc.
“A wise and effective book. I will apply the lessons to my life.”
—Kamal Ravikant, author of Rebirth and Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
“An extraordinarily enjoyable read with a powerful, enduring message. If you desire to be a person of excellence and influence, start your journey by reading this book. Its wisdom will stay with you long after you finish.”
—Skip Prichard, president and CEO of OCLC, Inc., blogger at skipprichard.com, and author of The Book of Mistakes
“This small book contains big, life-changing, career-changing ideas. You’ll approach colleagues, friends, and even adversaries with a whole new lens. If you want to influence others with ease and grace, read it tonight, implement it tomorrow morning.”
—Lisa Earle McLeod, author of Selling with Noble Purpose
“Compelling reading for anyone who seeks to influence without manipulation and negotiate with integrity. The Go-Giver Influencer is as much a philosophy for living as it is for conducting business with honor and ethics. It will make you rethink everything you’ve learned about negotiation and influence, and help you to be better at both.”
—Gary Pittard, author of Why Winners Win and CEO of Pittard Real Estate Training
“Who do you want to be in the world? The Go-Giver Influencer shows us the path forward to become wiser, smarter, and more humane leaders, at a time when that’s needed more than ever.”
—Dorie Clark, author of Entrepreneurial You and adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
“A brilliant book that will help you influence and impact with the best.”
—Robin Sharma, author of The Leader Who Had No Title and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
“If we are paying attention, mentors will show up (with perfect timing). Sometimes they appear as people, helping us simplify what feels complicated … ‘untying the knots.’ Sometimes these mentors are wrapped in a powerful story; they ‘mentor the multitudes.’ Bob Burg and John David Mann, you’ve done it again! Reading this book is like unwrapping a lovely gift.”
—Dondi Scumaci, author of Designed for Success and Career Moves
“Leaders looking to improve their negotiation and communication skills will find very helpful insights in The Go-Giver Influencer.”
—Douglas Conant, founder & CEO, ConantLeadership; chairman, Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute at Northwestern University; former CEO, Campbell Soup Company; former chairman, Avon Products
Excerpt from The Go-Giver Influencer
“Tell me something,” said the Judge. “When was the last time someone cut you off in traffic?”
In fact, this had happened to Jackson barely twenty minutes earlier, on his way into town.
“And how did you respond?” she asked.
“Well,” said Jackson, “I called him something I’m not especially proud of and would rather not repeat.”
Her eyes danced with laughter. “Let me guess. At a respectable volume level?”
“Oh yes,” said Jackson. “Very respectable. I’m surprised it didn’t shatter my windshield.”
Now she laughed out loud. He grinned, too.
“All right,” she said. “Can you remember what you felt like at that moment?”
Jackson could, and vividly: clenched stomach, pounding heart, heat rising to his face. He described this to her, and as he did he felt an echo of the same feelings all over again.
“What if I told you,” she said, “that the other driver had just that moment learned that his child was on the way to the hospital in extremely grave condition, and he was trying to get there as fast as humanly possible?”
“But you don’t know that,” objected Jackson.
“No,” she agreed, “I don’t. Nor do you. In fact, you have no idea what was or wasn’t going on for that driver. Your reaction wasn’t based on the facts of what happened, but purely on your own feelings. Which are not always entirely trustworthy.”
“But he could have gotten us both killed!” said Jackson.
“But he didn’t,” countered the Judge. “He cut you off, and as far as the evidence is concerned, the facts stop there. More to the point is what you did.”
“What do you mean, what I did?”
“You shouted so loud you thought it might crack your windshield,” she said, smiling. “You shouted your feelings out loud, inside your car. In your meeting last Friday, you shouted them silently, inside your head. Either way, it’s still shouting. You were out of control. You could have gotten you both killed.”
Jackson was silent.
She put her hand on his arm. “It’s okay to have your feelings, Jackson. You don’t even have to change them. All the First Clause of Natural Negotiation says is, you just have to set them to the side. They can be along for the ride—but in the passenger’s seat. Because if you let your emotions drive the car, then you’re at the mercy of a drunk driver.”
The Judge poured herself more hot coffee from the carafe.
“When you go downtown at rush hour,” she said, “what do you hear? A grand cacophony of car horns—bleating, honking, blaring. It’s the quintessential urban sound signature, right?”
“All those feelings, driving all those cars.” She shook her head sadly. “It’s no wonder the world needs judges and mediators. Conflict is everywhere. Alas. And it’s entirely understandable. It’s how we’re wired. Fight, flight, or freeze.”
After a moment Jackson said, “So if that’s how we’re wired, what do we do?”
She smiled. “We rewire. Scientists call it neuroplasticity. I call it…well?” She raised her eyebrows at him as if to say, What would you call it?
“Mastering your emotions,” he said.
She smiled. “It takes time to retrain your default response. Time and repetition. Practice. But it works. Every time you’re successful at responding by unruffling your feelings, it strikes a chord inside. It’s like thrumming the low E string on a guitar, and you are a song in the key of E. You experience a sense of trueness, a sense that says, This is me, the real me. This is how I am in the world. And it changes your brain, a little bit at a time. It wires new connections, cuts new pathways.
“In time, you make calm your default setting. And as you do, you become more you.”