The Go-Giver Leader

A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business

  • #1 on Forbes’s “8 Books Every Young Leader Should Read”
  • #3 on Entrepreneur’s “10 Books Every Leader Should Read”

A few years after The Go-Giver first appeared, an idea occurred to us. It felt like Pindar still had more to say.

Pindar, of course, is the mysterious mentor character from the first book, who introduces our struggling hero Joe to the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success, one of which says, Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first. We thought Pindar would want us to expand on that. That he and his friends would have something to say about leadership.

With so many great books and teachings on leadership already out there in the world, we asked ourselves, was there a compelling reason for us to add to the pile?

Well, what would Pindar say to that? Clearly, he would support those great books and teachings. And yet, Pindar being Pindar, he would also add his own perspective to the question of what makes great leadership, no doubt turning conventional thinking on its head and finding something paradoxical at its center.

Readers had also been asking us, “How do Go-Giver ideas work in the realm of leadership? What does a go-giver leader look like?”

This book is our effort to answer that question.

We wrote this story and published it in 2011 under the title, It’s Not About You, which we thought nicely echoed the core idea of The Go-Giver (that is, that shifting your emphasis from a me focus to an other focus leads to great and often unexpected returns). Made perfect sense to us. But that wasn’t how it was perceived. Many read the title It’s Not About You and thought, “Well, if it’s not about me, I guess there’s no point in my reading it.”

Its original title and jacket also didn’t make it clear that this was another book in the Go-Giver universe.

In short, readers couldn’t quite figure out exactly what this book was actually about.


So our incredibly supportive publishing partners at Portfolio / Penguin agreed to let us retitle the book, give it a new jacket, and revise/sharpen/clarify the text a bit (especially in its concluding chapters and in Ben’s fifth and final “Key to Legendary Leadership”) to better capture in words just what it was that Ben finally learned—what lies at the heart of Pindar’s leadership secret.

We are thrilled to be able to bring the true heart of the story to light and share it with you!


Foreign Language Editions

NOTE: Polish and Vietnamese editions of The Go-Giver Leader are available now; a Romanian edition is forthcoming. Meanwhile, these foreign-language editions of It’s Not About You (the earlier version of The Go-Giver Leader) are still available: Chinese (complex), Hungarian, IndonesianJapaneseSpanish, and Thai. (Click on the language to go to that edition.)

The Go-Giver Leader Reviews

“A fast read that reinforces leadership fundamentals … truly applicable to any manager, anywhere.” — Booklist

“Burg and Mann have written a compelling fable that succeeds as both a thought-provoking learning tool and, rather surprisingly, as a work of fiction with an unexpected plot twist at the end.” — Soundview Executive Book Summaries 

“Unties some of the knotty myths about what makes a good leader … Burg and Mann once again succeed in breathing new energy into the business parable.”
— The Daily Blog, 800-CEO-Read

“We should all seek to practice the message illustrated so elegantly in The Go-Giver Leader —great leaders don’t try to act like ‘leaders,’ they strive to be more human.”
—Simon Sinek, Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last

“Captures the essence of life and leadership.”
—John C. Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

“Carries an important message for leaders, parents, and all other humans.”
—Captain L. David Marquet, U.S. Navy (ret.), Turn the Ship Around!

“Burg and Mann have, once again, masterfully employed common sense and good judgment … I LUV this book.”
—Colleen Barrett, President Emerita of Southwest Airlines

“Gets to the heart of lasting business success.”
—Gary Keller, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

“A manifesto for twenty-first-century leadership.”
—Darren Hardy, publisher of Success

“Filled with pearls of wisdom … a real page-turner … extremely moving and motivating.”
—David Novak, executive chairman of YUM! Brands

“A fascinating story that touches my heart, elevates my leadership, and makes me want to be a better person.”
—Pastor Dan Rockwell, blogger at Leadership Freak

“A beautiful meditation on the foundations of business and leadership.”
—Nido Qubein, president of High Point University

“Reveals this same philosophy we use at Zappo’s: get out of the way, so your employees can lead the way.”
—Tony Hsieh, CEO of, Inc.

“A timeless message that truly matters.”
—Lolly Daskal, founder of Lead from Within

“Burg and Mann have broken new ground in management literature.”
—Subroto Bagchi, Chairman of MindTree Ltd.

The Go-Giver Leader will delight you, surprise you, and move you. More than that, it will change you.”
—Dondi Scumaci, Designed for Success and Career Moves

“Has a lesson for everyone.”
—Harvey Mackay, Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

“As powerful as their blockbuster, The Go-Giver, it will stay with you long after you finish the final page.”
—Skip Prichard, blogger at Leadership Insights

“John and Bob have nailed the core of genuine leadership … If you want to create positive change in your life, read this book.”
—Brandon Webb, former Navy SEAL, CEO of Force12 Media

“Read this book. You’ll enjoy the journey and become a better leader and a better person in the process.”
—Mark Sanborn, The Fred Factor

“Once again, Bob Burg and John David Mann have tapped into their collective wisdom, insight, and creativity to give us a priceless gift.”
—Bruce van Horn, blogger at Life Is a Marathon

“Captures the very essence of what leads to legacy success.”
—Frank McKinney, The Tap

“A superb little gem of a book.”
—Robin Sharma, The Leader Who Had No Title

The Go-Giver Leader reveals a new leadership style that just might revolutionize your organization and bottom line. Get this book today—it’s too good to ignore!”
— Don Hutson, The One Minute Entrepreneur, CEO of U.S. Learning

“When you’re ready to shine your light, lead the team, or create a legacy, The Go-Giver Leader is your go-to book!”
— Randy Gage, Risky Is the New Safe and Mad Genius

“The Go-Giver books are love manifest in a system.”
— Robert G. Allen, New York Times bestselling author, Multiple Streams of Income and The One Minute Millionaire

Excerpt from The Go-Giver Leader

He had the vague sense that there was something beyond the four points he had listed on his business card, something important. But he could not identify what it might be.

“It all makes sense,” he said out loud, to no one but himself. “Leaders hold a vision. Leaders care about their people. Leaders get their hands dirty and their boots muddy, do the work and make the tough decisions. And leaders stand for something.

“It’s about all those things. But . . .

He stopped walking.

But at the same time, somehow, it wasn’t about any of those things.

He looked around at where he stood. His walk had taken him to the little park by the river where he and Mel used to bring Robbie to play. His legs seemed to have brought him here on their own. He now found himself in the park’s center, facing a statue of an elephant surrounded by four blind men all touching different parts of the animal.

He knew the story: each of the four would describe the nature of the beast based on what he could feel of it. One felt a leg, the second the tail, the third the beast’s trunk, and the fourth a tusk—and, not surprisingly, they each concluded it was a completely different thing.

The statue had been commissioned and placed there years ago by the city fathers (as he thought about it, it seemed to Ben he remembered hearing that Pindar himself had had something to do with this) to remind the city’s inhabitants that when people held very different viewpoints on the same topic, chances were excellent that no one position was wholly right—nor wholly wrong.

The thought brought to mind a comment Karen had made a few days earlier. “They’re good guys,” she had said, speaking of Allen, Augustine, and Frank, “and they all see important aspects of the business. Aspects.”

He supposed that was exactly what these four blind men were “seeing”—aspects of the elephant. But wasn’t an elephant far more than the sum of its aspects?

Ben thought about that.

So what was he missing?

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