The Law of Authenticity: Be Sincere

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Go-Giver" by Bob Burg and John D. Mann. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the Law of Authenticity from Bob Burg’s parable The Go-Giver? Why is being sincere so important?

The Law of Authenticity states that the most important thing you can offer is yourself. This means that when you sell a product or service, you’re selling yourself. You need to be sincere.

Keep reading to learn how Joe from The Go-Giver learned to be sincere.

The Law of Authenticity

The Law of Authenticity: The most important thing you can offer is yourself.

Joe’s next visit was to an annual sales conference to hear a speech by Debra Davenport, the city’s top Realtor in both the residential and commercial markets. However, as she explained in her speech, her career was a failure until she applied the Law of Authenticity.

Twelve years earlier, when her husband walked out on her, Debra earned a real estate license to support herself and her children. She was a good student and learned all the sales techniques but still couldn’t manage to sell any houses. She went to a sales conference (the same annual event she now addressed) where a business consultant (Pindar) spoke about adding value to what you sell. He told the audience: Regardless of what you’re selling, you can succeed by adding value.

Debra couldn’t think of any value she could add that would help her sell houses. She felt like a failure and planned to quit the next day after one final home-showing appointment. Since it was her last sales effort, she abandoned all her techniques and just chatted with the female client about her interests and experiences. And the woman bought the house.

Debra realized that the value she added was herself. She succeeded in selling the house by being a friend, by caring, and by making the client feel good about herself. She’d been sincere. Her client’s husband (who turned out to be “the Connector”) hooked her up with Ernesto and his investors, who were going into commercial real estate. Her career took off from there.

Be Sincere

Debra’s message to her conference audience was that the most important thing you can offer is to be sincere. This is because reaching a goal requires a small amount of knowledge or skill and a large amount of “people” skills. Your people skills have to be based on who you are. If you try to be someone else or put on an act, you won’t reach anyone because people will see you as insincere and won’t trust you. 

When you sell a product or service, you’re selling yourself. You need to be sincere.

Having now learned four laws of success, Joe had one more meeting the next day. Rather than revealing who they’d be meeting with, Pindar told Joe only that the meeting would feature the “Friday guest.”

Applying the Law of Authenticity

After Debra Davenport’s speech, Joe’s next task was to apply the Law of Authenticity—that is, to find a way to offer his most important asset: himself. He did it unconsciously by having an honest conversation with his colleague Gus.

As Joe and Gus were wrapping up work for the day, Joe confessed that he’d misjudged Gus in thinking that Gus wasn’t doing anything of value. Joe mentioned the office rumors that Gus was either a washout or was so wealthy that he didn’t have to work very hard.

But Gus always seemed to be around with a word of encouragement when Joe was struggling to apply one of the success laws—and it had finally occurred to Joe that Gus was familiar with all of Pindar’s laws and lessons.

Gus admitted to being “the Connector.” He’d met Pindar 35 years ago and introduced him to Sam Rosen. He bought both men hot dogs at Ernesto’s stand and they subsequently went into business with Ernesto. Gus also introduced Ernesto to Debra Davenport (who’d sold the house to Gus’s wife) and Debra helped Ernesto buy commercial real estate. When some of Gus’s friends, including Nicole Martin, wanted to start a software company, Gus introduced them to Sam Rosen for financial help.

Gus then suggested that Joe had just applied the Law of Authenticity by admitting he didn’t have all the answers and admitting to having been wrong about Gus. Joe had learned to be sincere.

The Law of Authenticity: Be Sincere

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Bob Burg and John D. Mann's "The Go-Giver" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Go-Giver summary:

  • Why giving will take you further than getting
  • The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success
  • How giving isn't the same thing as always being nice

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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