The Law of Value

Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

Courtesy of DanKennedy.com

“Value” is a buzzword in our culture.

Over the years, the word has been twisted to fit the whims of pitchmen offering the latest gadget for “three easy payments.” Then, we’re told “Wait! There’s more!” to pull us closer in the hopes another toy of questionable use (An egg slicer…FREE!) will make buying even easier.

In going through The Go-Giver, we begin our examination of the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success by discussing the worth of…well, anything. As stated above, the aim is to give more than we take. How can we know if we do?

“The receiver makes the determination” might be added for clarity’s sake.

To put it another way, how much stuff you can pile into a box for $19.95 or the percentage off regular price is irrelevant. What matters is the imprint made on the individual’s memory. If they grumble every time the egg slicer slides to the front of the junk drawer, have we made a worthwhile impression?

As author Simon Sinek says, “Value is a feeling, not a calculation.” The “great deal” is merely a parlor trick if the recipient considers the package useless.

Giving more than expected goes beyond tangible objects, it is about the emotion created.

Ernesto Iafrate, the owner of a bustling cafe (and several restaurants, plus quite a bit of real estate) in The Go-Giver, explains it this way:

A bad restaurant tries to give just enough food and service, both in quantity and quality, to justify the money it takes from the customer. A good restaurant strives to give the, most quantity and quality for the money it takes.
But a
great restaurant — ahh, a great restaurant strives to defy imagination! Its goal is to provide a higher quality of food and service than any amount of money could possibly pay for.

This is something everyone intuitively understands.

A few years ago, I visited Las Vegas for a conference. After several days sitting through hours of speakers and walking The Strip alone, I decided on dinner at Carnevino, Mario Batali’s offering in The Palazzo. From the moment I pulled up to the table, I was taken care of. The waiter, Geoffrey, and his staff filled my orders quickly, pairing a glass of wine with every course of the meal and ensuring each one followed the other seamlessly.

Days away from opening a business I’d spent more than a year working on, I was tired and stressed and lonely. For the hour or so I spent in the restaurant, all that washed away. I got to rest and enjoy a smattering of good conversation. In a strange way, I’d been invited to step out of my preoccupied mind and rejoin the social network called “humanity.”

When the check came, it was twice what I’ve paid for dinner on any date I’ve ever been on—and wholly worth it.

What we bring to someone’s life is the best measure of our work.

Almost all, at least 99.999%, of the transactions in this world occur without money changing hands. To focus on legal tender is to bend our minds around something inherently fleeting. Cash is cyclical, flowing to and from everyone in a constant stream.

Kindness and consideration ripple outward.

Service is a pursuit with exponential growth potential in more ways than we can count.

Inevitably, it flows back, too.

This is the first in a five-part series discussing the core principles of The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. If you’d like a preview of this wonderful book, download the first chapter here.

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2 Responses to “The Law of Value”


  1. 1 Jason Eichacker October 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I received an email from the ever-gracious Bob Burg and he points out a disconnect between what I wrote and what I meant. He phrases it better than I did, so I’ll let him explain.

    Only thing I’d question is that, where you write:

    As stated above, the aim is to give more than we take

    Actually, we never say that in the book. If you gave more than you took (or, received), you’d be operating at a loss. The key is to give more in value than you take (or receive) in payment. That way, not only do both people win, but both people win greatly! The first person (the buyer) receives much more in use value than what he/she paid in exchange. The second person (the seller) made a healthy profit. Neither gave more than they received. It’s just that the two gave in a way that was less important (to them) than what they received.


  1. 1 The Law of Receptivity « MeBuilding Trackback on October 11, 2010 at 5:52 am
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