Book Review: Love Does by Bob Goff

By Sarah Anderson

Sometimes you read a book and you fall in love with the content—you want to keep reading to learn more. And sometimes you can’t put down a book because you are drawn to the author himself. The substance is great. But more than anything you want to know more about the individual because you know the gem isn’t simply in the words, but in the person behind the scenes writing it all.

This is the case with Love Does by Bob Goff. It’s a great book made better because of the authenticity of the man whose life you are invited into. By the end of the book you actually feel like you know the guy, like you could be friends. In a word, Love Does is accessible.

The content is accessible. The reading is light and informal. But its simplicity doesn’t make it fluff. Bob managed to make the profound feel less complicated. He tells stories effortlessly and with such ease you that don’t even realize he’s taking you anywhere until you get to the end of a chapter and see the poignant end he’s been leading toward the whole time. Most of the book feels like sitting down to get to know a guy with one of the most intriguing and surprising life-stories you’ve ever heard. That makes it fun. But what makes it worthwhile is knowing Bob has connected the dots between a “fun” life and made it purposeful.

The action points are accessible. Bob writes, “When we show up to participate with Jesus in the big life, we’re participating with the very being who made life in the first place.” Which makes anything possible—for any one of us. It’s tempting to read his unique perspective and experiences and think the influence he has been able to have is no where near what would be possible in our ordinary lives. But what you repeatedly read is what made his life impressive and noteworthy wasn’t in a few random big decisions, but in a daily “yes” to things that matter—a willingness to be available, to whatever happens next.

And maybe most fun of all is the accessibility of Bob Goff himself. Flip to the back of the book or click to the end of your e-reader and there you’ll find Bob Goff’s cell phone number. Seriously. And the real kicker is, when you call it, he actually picks up. These days influence and celebrity status seems directly related to someone’s inaccessibility. It’s kind of refreshing to find a guy who doesn’t take himself or his success too seriously. The fact that he concludes with offering his number brings the book full circle.

Early in Love Does we find the story of a Randy—a guy who had a profound impact in Bob’s life as a high school student and whose influence lasted much longer. What Randy did wasn’t all that extraordinary—unless you were Bob. In a whole spectrum of moments Randy was accessible. He was available. He was present with Bob through some big decisions and some bigger letdowns. In a way Love Does seems like Bob’s way of paying it forward. A way to be accessible to those who need what he needed from Randy so many years ago.

As those on the front lines of ministry, we know first hand that just being present in the lives of the students we are pouring into means more than almost anything else we teach. In the end, what makes our ministry great—maybe much like what makes a great book—isn’t always the content, but the heart of the person or people behind it.

Which is maybe why I loved the book as much as I did. It was a simple message from an extraordinary man who was able to do extraordinary things founded in simple belief. Which means, Bob’s story may be unique, but it doesn’t have to be. Bob believes what makes a life great is when love starts doing—and the best place to start doing, is by starting with being present and accessible to the people God has put in your world.

Orange Conference 2018