The first time you read Love Does, you might wonder if author Bob Goff is crazy.

The second time you read it, you’ll realize he’s not. And that he has some impactful things to share about purpose and intentionality. 

He’s entirely, fluently – and interestingly, alive.

Love Does is a series of vignettes by multi-hyphenate author and lawyer Bob Goff. In it, he uses true stories from his experiences to illustrate life lessons and eternal truths. Bob’s Christian faith is woven throughout the book in practical, hands-on ways. It is a nonfiction book but reads almost more like a novel.

Bob – by the end of the book, he feels far too much of a friend to call him “Mr. Goff” – talks about engaged living: full of intention, and energy. The stories range from how he got into law school – his grades weren’t good enough, so Bob sat on a bench outside the dean’s office until he was allowed to enroll – to how Bob ended up on the set of a major motion picture.

And if there’s a thesis that underpins the entire book, it comes in Chapter 3, “Ryan in Love.”

“Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. It’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be about – full of abandon, whimsy, and in love. I want to be engaged to life and with life.”

And then later in Chapter 29, “Memorizing Jesus,”

“I think of engagement as the time between hearing a truth and nodding our heads or making sincere mm-hms in agreement and when we do something about it.”

As Bob expounds on his theme of engagement, three points stand out:

People matter

The book’s title comes from Bob’s conviction that “love does.” When we love we don’t keep thinking or get stuck in planning, we move to action. Love sees a need and does something about it. This is true on the interpersonal level, and organizational as Bob develops in Chapter 26, “Jailbreak.”

“Organizations have programs. People have friends. Friends trump programs every time.”

Bob argues that more gets done when we build and invest in friendships and then partner together to achieve our goals.

Bob shares that when we keep the focus on helping and loving people our personal and professional lives begin to flourish.

Purpose matters

We have all been at a place where we’ve asked ourselves what we are meant to do with our lives. I know I’ve prayed for direction and sought wise counsel and input. Bob addresses those questions and gives some advice on what to do in Chapter 21, “Hearing Aid.”

“For those who resonate with formulas, here it is: add your whole life, your loves, your passions, and your interests together with what God said He wants us to be about, and that’s your answer. If you want to know the answer to the bigger question – what’s God’s plan for the whole world? – buckle up: it’s us.”

We start to drift when we lose sight of our purpose. When we engage in the world around us, keeping our personal and workplace purposes before us, we can have tremendous impact.

Drive matters

Bob mentions “whimsy” as a personal value throughout Love Does. It’s almost a jarring word, at first, that can feel out of place. Once he defines though, in Chapter 27, it begins to paint a fuller picture of what the book’s subtitle alludes to, discovering “a secretly incredible life in an ordinary world.”

What whimsy means to me is a combination of the “do” part of faith along with doing something worth doing. It’s whimsy that spreads hope like grass seed in the wind. Whimsy reminds me of the Bible too, when it talks about stuff being like an aroma. It is not an overpowering one, just something that has the scent of God’s love, an unmistakable scent that lingers.”

Bob may use whimsy to describe what he calls his “capers,” and it’s not a bad adjective once he describes it. But there’s a drive that is present behind all his stories. He is ready and alert, willing to wade in where he’s needed. He is able to do that because he has done the behind-the-scenes preparatory work to make his whimsy possible. He’s able to serve as the Ugandan consul because he’s put in the work to become a great lawyer. He has great stories to tell because he’s decided to say “yes” to opportunities. There is a relentless drive behind his stories that bolsters his theme of engagement.

When we do the work before us, we plant the possibility of future opportunities.

Published in 2012, Love Does might feel like an odd choice to be reviewed in a strategic marketing newsletter. But Bob’s points of engagement, people, purpose, and drive deeply resonate with us. 

Like Bob, we believe that these points matter. If you’re ready to grow the good in your on-mission marketplace business or nonprofit organization, drop us an email at