I first met Bob Goff about seven years ago when he came over for afternoon tea and a chat. He parked his jacked-up red Jeep Wrangler at a funky angle in my office driveway and leapt out of the driver’s seat and into our offices with more energy than a rugby team. Bob oozed more ideas and verve for life in the hour we spent together than anyone I’d ever met. He wasn’t our typical office visitor. He was not a social entrepreneur or executive in need of a clear strategy, or asking for help to create a new product. Bob just came to share his story, be present in the moment and see where the conversation went.
Bob spoke passionately about his faith, fighting bad guys, and helping to save children in India and Uganda. He shared stories about whimsical capers, meetings with world leaders, his passion for building schools in developing nations and his utter disregard for the way things should be done. The sheer number of adventures that played out in Bob’s life were hard to keep up with, and as I sat there I thought Bob was either one of the most insane or incredible guys I’d ever come across. I think it’s the latter. Imagine pulling your children out of school for a year and taking them to interviews with major world leaders to understand what leaders care about, in an attempt to show we all care about the same things.
By now, you might be wondering what Bob Goff does for a living–a high-powered political leader or a selfless humanitarian? Perhaps you already Googled him and, if you did, you found Bob’s an average guy who has built a career as an attorney. But that’s not the whole story, because for Bob, being secretly incredible is not about your day job. It’s about how you live every moment of your life, every day. In his fantastically original book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World, Bob shares some of the amazing adventures that have unfolded in his life.
‘Love Does’ is a narrative of stories and ideas directly from Bob’s life of pranks and whimsical capers as an international crime fighter, lover of life, man of adventure, and father extraordinaire. Bob contends that love is not a passive or theoretical force, but a full contact emotion that can change every facet of your life. He will be the first to tell you that he doesn’t have it all together, but can guarantee you that he’s an active participant, enjoying the ride every step of the way. Bob brings joy and happiness to those he meets, and his book is overflowing with life and love lessons that are applicable to individuals, families, executives, employees and world leaders. He’s a wise, kind, brave, courageous, wild man who writes in a real, whimsical, inspiring, and entertaining style that doesn’t fit a formula. He’s the kind of man other men want to be like, and women want to hug.
Bob lives life, rather than talking about it or worrying about it. In every chapter of his book he shares the spontaneous, contagious and authentic power of love in action and the lessons from his incredibly unique life experiences, like what he learned from spontaneously picking up the phone and inviting Attorney General Ashcroft to go to Uganda with him, or sitting outside of a dean’s office for weeks begging his way into law school. Bob doesn’t do the expected; he advocates life like a pickup basketball game. If you’ve got a hook shot, bring it. If you’re not a good shooter, pass it. Either way, just bring all the game you’ve got. And while I won’t give away any more of the joy in reading his book, I thought I’d share my top ten favorite takeaways:
1. Your life is not defined by what you believe in, it’s about what you actively and deliberately participate in.
2. Don’t be afraid of failing at things that matter, be afraid of succeeding at things that don’t.
3. Stop thinking you shape circumstances and start letting them shape you.
4. Say yes, and see what happens.
5. Words don’t just describe who you are, they shape who you are.
6. Sharing your life with the right people is really important.
7. You can learn as much from a Jeep Wrangler as you can from a teacher, you just need to pay attention.
8. It’s more important to put your time into doing something, rather than putting it into trying to be someone.
9. Religion tastes awful, especially when you eat the fake stuff.
10. Don’t wait for every door to be opened for you, get ready to kick a few down.
This book will inspire you to actively start managing life in a new way. It will make you rethink how you’re living. It will make you laugh and maybe even cry. Lie in a hammock, on a beach, next to a river, in the grass, on the porch or on the couch, but make the time to read it.
Shawn Parr is the Guvner & CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego whose clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, Ideo, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, Heineken, Annie’s Homegrown, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, CleanWell, The Honest Kitchen, and World Vision. Follow the conversation at @BULLDOGDRUMMOND.