185 of 206 people found the following review helpful
Expected to like it more,
This review is from: Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World (Paperback)
I've had a hard time starting this post. When I requested a review copy of Love Does from BookSneeze, I fully expected to rhapsodize about this book.
Like many, I first encountered Bob Goff in the pages of Don Miller's fantastic book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He seemed larger than life, yet the kind of person everyone would want to befriend.
In fact, were Goff's path to cross with mine, I'd insist on buying him a drink simply so I could hear more of his stories.
I completely understand why so many people are singing the book's praises. Goff's life is naturally inspiring. I was completely mystified when I started the book and did not immediately join in on the chorus.
This is not to say I disliked the book. (This is also to say I respect what Goff has accomplished in writing a book and especially his decision to donate the proceeds to Uganda. I try to be mindful of the effort it takes to write a book whenever there is criticism to bestow.)
Love Does consists of 30 short chapters, each containing a story of some antic or experience and followed by a spiritual truth of sorts. At their best, they're contemporary parables. This does not always come across as intended.
Bob believes our lives should be fueled by love. An active love. This is a great model for us to have. Some of his stories better reveal this than others. For instance, were my car hit by an elderly lady to the point where I was ejected through the roof, I doubt I would walk over to her and thank her for hitting me and then consider it a cool story. But this is how Bob reacts and the elderly lady has quite a response. Love in action.
On the other hand, Bob also considers sticking his friend with a $400 room service bill to be a prank. Maybe those of a higher financial eschelon have different criteria for pranks. This might be the pitfall of reading instead of hearing certain stories. Were Bob to tell them to me, I might howl with laughter but in reading them, we don't get facial expressions, nuances, or intent aside from what we ascribe to it.
Bob advocates for a life of whimsey and it's hard not to be drawn to that. But what does whimsey look like in your life and mine? A book should be the starting point in getting us to apply lessons to our own lives. However, I had difficulty extracting meaning from several of Goff's experiences into application for my own life.
One of the main reasons for this is that so many of his amazing experiences are the result of money and privilege. Goff is a lawyer and has worked hard for what he has. I don't begrudge him that. However, we are not all so fortunate. I cannot take last minute plane rides to meet with important dignitaries, nor will my office ever reside in an amusement park. I will likely never be able to afford a sailboat and while it would be wonderful to be personally involved in an organization in Africa, I'm doubtful that's in the cards.
So what does Love Does look like in my life?
Goff doesn't hand his readers the answers but he does offer his phone number should anyone want to talk it out with him. I just might do that someday.
For now, I'm considering how to more actively love the people around me. I'm thinking about what a Bible Doing (my favorite chapter) might look like. I'm going to keep working on being the person God created me to be. One leap of faith at a time.
In this way, Love Does made its mark on me.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 9, 2013 5:38:55 AM PDT
Timoteo Velasco says:
Thank you for posting this review. I just started the first chapters and I am having a very difficult time relating to this man. My biggest question right now is: would Bob Goff love a religious, self-righteous, hypocrite like me? So far it does not sound like it...
But thank God Jesus does!
Posted on May 8, 2013 8:45:39 AM PDT
L. valle says:
thanks for this review. You said exactly what i wanted to say about this. He is in no way pretentious but he does seem to come from a more privileged background. As someone who has had (at different points in life) needed to struggle considerably to make ends meet, its a touch off putting.
But as you say, not a bad book by any means
Posted on Jun 7, 2013 3:09:23 AM PDT
Diane Brewer says:
I read your review of Love Does by Bob Goff and I was disappointed in your take on it. I think you probably went into it knowing too much about Bob. I didn't know Bob at all and had no idea it was about the proceeds going to anything etc. I had not even read the back of the book. My mother sent it to me on my birthday in February and I only just picked it up in May. I started looking forward to sitting down with Bob and seeing what adventure he was going to go on next. He obviously has more money than me but that didn't bother me. He would have! He is a lawyer and I'm a first grade teacher. It was almost like going to a movie I hadn't heard anything about and walking out pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Have you ever done that? It's too bad you knew too much going into it. The book is really very delightful and it pumped me up to jump into life, loving others.
Posted on Aug 6, 2013 4:02:53 PM PDT
Mike Elliott says:
While is it quite true that he has the resources to do things that most of us don't, look at the ideas he brings out. His point is to look around you and "do love". Just look for ways to do things that you would never actually do. We limit ourselves and our God way too much. As soon as the negative voices start to tell you that you can't do "that", say why not and work to make it happen. I found his book to be inspiring and it is making me look at life in a whole new way. I encourage everyone to not look at what you can't do, but rather what you can do in your sphere of influence.
Posted on Sep 28, 2013 6:50:38 AM PDT
Janet K Hawkins says:
Jesus came from a pretty wealthy background and look at what He did. Pretentious does not come to my mind considering His work or Bob's. If you have ever been in love, truly, in love, you do things that to others appear to be odd, dumb, even unbelievable. that is what love does.
Posted on Nov 10, 2013 5:25:35 AM PST
Thank you for a respectful review that points out some of the same problems I had with this book. It was so highly recommended to me that I felt guilty for not liking it. To tell the truth, if the author was appearing in my living room, I would lock myself in the bedroom til he left.
I guess I'm a terrible person, but my reaction to his so-called whimsical and over-the-top anecdotes is negative. Back to C S Lewis for me.
Posted on Nov 25, 2013 4:29:43 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2014 7:42:49 AM PDT
John R. Barker says:
Living in lack with an attachment to our stories of hard times and "we don't all get to live this way" is to live in the shadow of the adversary who would have us believe, jealously, that others were blessed with more than we are. I'm always struck by this perspective among Christians. Brothers and Sisters this man has lived the life he's enjoyed *because* of his approach; I suspect that's the point. Jesus told us to love and if we could learn to love everything that happens in our experience the outcome will be different - yes, that requires faith. See how this works?!
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2014 6:22:05 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 11, 2014 6:23:15 PM PST
Sarah Jane says:
In response to Janet Hawkins comments above: I respectfully disagree with your first sentence. Jesus did not come from a pretty wealthy background. He was born in a stable of some sort and his father was a carpenter. God sent his son into this world in the most humbling of circumstances--in a way no one would have expected for a King to be born and raised.
Posted on Feb 14, 2014 10:08:16 AM PST
Chester E. Hansen says:
Thank you for an honest and thoughtful commentary on the book. It takes time to put thoughts into words. It seems you took that time and offered something useful. I haven't read this book, yet, but am planning to. Maybe your insight will help me glean past the privileged world Goff lives in to where I live and interact.
Posted on Mar 18, 2014 12:14:27 PM PDT
Jonathan Neal says:
I am currently reading "Love Does" (a little over halfway through) and from what I can gather Goff didn't start out with money. He talks about his old Volkswagen, having to work as a busboy in a restaurant for a year to get a waiter's job, and hitching a ride from one town to another. He didn't have the means to buy his way in to law school but pestered the dean until he let him in. The description of his wedding was not one of means either. I do not mean to be antagonistic toward anyone and I find myself wondering about Goff and his approach to his walk with Christ. However, in the end it is "his" walk described in the book and what I am getting from it is that maybe I should look at "my" walk in a different light, be more willing to do instead of think about love.