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Book Summary: The Go-Giver – A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

If you’ve ever felt like you’re working hard and getting nothing in return, it might be time to shift away from what you’re getting and focus more on what you have to give. “The Go-Giver” is a business parable that emphasizes how those who have experienced sustained success give back.

Learn to succeed by giving.


  • Are interested in knowing more about servant leadership
  • Want to be more generous
  • Need a fresh approach to wealth creation


In a culture that emphasizes scarcity and competition, it’s easy to believe that you have to look out for yourself first in both business and life. But truly successful people do just the opposite: They create loyalty and excitement by giving, build rich social and professional networks by being reliable and trustworthy, and gain influence by serving.

Book Summary: The Go-Giver - A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

Keep in mind the five laws of stratospheric success:

  1. The law of value. Your worth depends on how much more you give customers in value than you receive from them in dollars.
  2. The law of compensation. Your income depends on the number of people you serve and how well you serve them.
  3. The law of influence. Your influence depends on how much and how often you put other people’s interests first.
  4. The law of authenticity. The most valuable thing you can give others is yourself.
  5. The law of receptivity. To give effectively, you have to be open to receiving.

The Go-Getter

Joe started in a position you might identify with: He was a young go-getter at the Claron-Hill Trust Corp., a hard worker headed for the top — or so he would have been if he hadn’t missed his quotas for two quarters. He wasn’t about to miss a third. He needed to land a big account, one he’d nicknamed the Big Kahuna, but even calling in a favor from the Big Kahuna’s broker, Carl, didn’t work out. Instead, Carl told him that the Big Kahuna had taken a lower bid from a relative unknown who had more clout and leverage than Joe could offer.

In response, Joe asked his co-worker at Claron-Hill, Gus, to connect him with a consultant named Pindar who had clout and leverage galore. How Gus knew Pindar was a mystery. Gus had a reputation around the office for doing little work; everyone thought management kept him around out of loyalty. Regardless, Gus gave Joe a number to call.

When Joe reached Pindar’s secretary, he was surprised to learn that Pindar was open to meeting with him the very next day and sharing his “trade secret” — under certain conditions. Curious and stunned, Joe accepted.

The Secret

Joe met Pindar at the consultant’s enormous, beautiful stone mansion. When Joe expressed his surprise that Pindar was willing to share his trade secret, Pindar told him that in reality, successful people share their secrets all the time. This is true: Many of the most successful people in the world have had mentors. Warren Buffett mentored Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg. Michael Bloomberg took his first job as a trader at the firm Salomon Brothers & Hutzler, where he developed a relationship with Billy Salomon. Salomon taught Bloomberg by example by being the first one in the office every day, showing kindness and respect regardless of rank, and listening to everyone while being ruled by no one.

Pindar pointed out to Joe that they were coming from two very different perspectives about wealth creation. When Pindar said that his cook, Rachel, should start a company and share her amazing coffee with the world, Joe alluded to her opportunity to make a load of money from the endeavor. Pindar spoke in terms of giving; Joe spoke in terms of getting. And that was Pindar’s trade secret: giving.

Pindar agreed to mentor Joe over the next five business days, under the condition that Joe implement the lessons he learned the very same day he learned them.

The Law of Value

On the first day of mentoring, Pindar introduced Joe to Ernesto Iafrate, the owner of Iafrate’s Café, as well as an investor in a number of real estate properties surrounding the café. Ernesto had started out with just a hot dog cart, but businesspeople grew to love the cart and made it their go-to destination for lunch meetings. Ernesto particularly hit it off with families because he was always great to the kids.

Ernesto embodied the first law of stratospheric success: Your worth is determined by how much more value you give than what you receive in dollars. The first question you should ask when you’re figuring out what and how to sell isn’t whether your product can make money but whether your product serves and gives value to others. Take Zappos, for instance: The online shoe retailer built its reputation on customer service. When Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, took executives from a major shoe brand out to talk business, he called Zappos customer service to see if they could recommend a pizza place nearby. The agent initially asked whether Hsieh knew he was calling a shoe company but then immediately offered to help and gave a few suggestions for pizza parlors in the area. The brand was sold.

The Condition

When Joe got back to his office, he received a call from a representative, Jim, from one of Joe’s bigger clients. Jim told him that the company wouldn’t be renewing its contract with Claron-Hill. Despite his disappointment, Joe quickly acted on the lesson he’d learned that day. If his job was to give, he’d give. He told Jim to go to Ed Barnes, a competitor of Joe’s who was well suited to handle the company’s business.

The Law of Compensation

On the second day, Joe went to meet Nicole, whom Pindar had nicknamed The CEO. Nicole was the head of a software company that made learning tools for kids. She had started out as a teacher, inventing games for her students, but the job was stifling and paid very little. She asked a parent who was a software developer if he could help her translate her games into software, and together they formed a company.

Although Nicole grew up believing that rich people got rich by exploiting others — that rich people by necessity couldn’t be moral — once she started working with Pindar, she realized that this belief was flawed. Her story embodies the second law of stratospheric success: Your income depends on how many people you serve and how well you serve them. With this belief, her income could be limitless, because she could always reach more kids.

Marriott International embraces a culture of servant leadership. Employees are encouraged to be enthusiastic about customers, and executives are encouraged to be enthusiastic about employees. In fact, the company sees excellent treatment of its employees as a survival strategy. This culture helped turn Marriott from a root beer stand to a multibillion-dollar international corporation, served by and serving the best people.

Serving Coffee

After their meeting with Nicole, Pindar sent Joe home with a bag of Rachel’s famous coffee. To serve others, Joe decided to share the wealth and serve coffee to his co-workers. At the end of the day, Gus stopped by to check in with Joe and ask how he felt while he was serving the coffee. Joe said he felt kind of foolish. Gus noted to Joe that sometimes you’re going to look and feel foolish, but you have to
do the right thing anyway.

The Law of Influence

On the third day, Pindar took Joe to meet Sam, the most profitable salesperson and adviser at the world’s leading financial services company and the state’s leading philanthropist. Starting out as an insurance salesman, Sam had spent a few years floundering as he pushed to make a profit off potential clients. Changing his mindset from getting to giving was how Sam started to turn his career around. But what really made it take off was his development of a network — not a network of fellow financial advisers only but a network of people who knew and trusted him. By being a trustworthy, reliable friend to many people, he built a network of ambassadors who kept Sam in mind and referred business to him.

His advice to Joe was to stop keeping score and start looking out for other people. Instead of focusing on what other people could give him, Sam said, Joe should start looking for ways to help other people win. And with that, Joe learned the third law of stratospheric success: Your influence depends on how much you place other people’s interests first. If you put other people’s interests first, you can have faith that in times of need, others will help you too.

This advice is embodied by the Giving Pledge. Through this program, wealthy people pledge to contribute the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. Perhaps the most prominent signatories are Bill and Melinda Gates. The couple has created a $50 billion endowment through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, focusing especially on funding grants in developing countries.


Joe got home late that night to his wife, Susan, who had already made dinner. Joe and Susan’s policy was that each of them got a half hour to complain about work each night. Susan was barely into her list of frustrations when her half hour was up, but Joe heard Sam’s advice in his head: Stop keeping score. Instead of counting the minutes, Joe listened as Susan aired all her grievances.

Then he held her as she went to sleep. In the morning, he awoke to a note Susan had left him, thanking him profusely for his generosity the previous night and telling him that she felt very heard and understood.

The Law of Authenticity

On the fourth day, Pindar took Joe to a speaking engagement with Debra Davenport, a leading local real estate agent. Debra’s career had started after her husband left her and their kids. She’d spent their marriage as a housewife. With little professional experience, she decided to get her real estate license. Like Sam, she spent the first year of her career floundering. She worried about how she presented herself to clients, learned every single close in the book, and tried to be the very epitome of what a real estate agent should be. But she didn’t make a single sale.

She decided to quit. On what was supposed to be her last day of work, she had a final appointment to get to. She decided to let loose at this appointment, thinking it wouldn’t matter anyway, since she was going to quit. She let her hair down, chitchatted and joked with the client, forgot her paperwork, and just acted like herself. And she made the sale.

The fourth law of stratospheric success is that the most valuable thing you can give other people is yourself. That’s authenticity.

Take writer Lindy West as another example. During her time at the blog Jezebel, West revolutionized the way personal essayists talked about the news, feminism, and their lives. When she received complaints about using all caps for emphasis in her articles, she responded with a colorful essay titled “I LOVE ALL CAPS AND I AM NEVER GOING TO STOP USING THEM.” Her personality shone through in her writing and gave her an audience, which led to her contributing to The Guardian and writing a hit memoir that went on to inspire the web TV show Shrill.


That night, Joe caught up with Gus. To fulfill the condition for the day, Joe wanted to confess to participating in the rumors about Gus. In doing so, he learned not only that Gus had once benefited from Pindar’s mentorship but that he was also an instrumental part of Pindar’s network.

Pindar called him The Connector because he had a talent for linking talented people. Because of this, Gus had an astronomical net worth. He was “kept around” at Claron-Hill because he needed something to do with his time and figured that working was a good way to fill it — not because of management’s loyalty.

The Law of Receptivity

On the fifth and final day, Pindar told Joe he’d be meeting someone called the Friday Guest. Joe met Pindar at the stone mansion and enjoyed a charcuterie lunch. Joe confessed to Pindar that he still wasn’t quite convinced about the whole giving thing.

Pindar explained that everyone learns the phrase “It’s better to give than to receive” when they’re kids, but it’s not a workable proposition. After all, if you’re giving, someone else has to receive. If someone gives to you, you ought to receive. Who are you to refuse someone else’s giving? It’s nonsensical to say that one is better than the other when they’re one and the same.

The fifth law of stratospheric success is that to give effectively, you have to be open to receiving. Understanding this, Joe was finally able to reconcile the good of giving with the good of receiving.

Pindar revealed that Joe was the Friday Guest.

Full Circle

When Joe got back to work, he realized that he was finally at his deadline for the quarter and still dead in the water as far as business was concerned. He had gone to Pindar looking for clout and leverage and walked away with something else entirely. And while he was grateful for it, he couldn’t help but worry about his future at Claron-Hill. He stayed late, and just as he was getting ready to leave, he received a call from Ed Barnes, the competitor he’d referred his old client Jim to earlier in the week. Ed was looking for a referral for a hotel chain that needed very good gourmet coffee.

Joe knew that with her help, he and Rachel could make this client very happy.


The parable of The Go-Giver reflects the reality of success: To succeed, you must give, give, and give some more. Instead of worrying about competitors stealing your ideas or who owes you what, it’s crucial to look out for and give to other people. By so doing, you can create lasting success — as well as a good life.

Remember the five laws of stratospheric success:

  1. The law of value. Your worth depends on how much more you give customers in value than you receive from them in dollars.
  2. The law of compensation. Your income depends on the number of people you serve and how well you serve them.
  3. The law of influence. Your influence depends on how much and how often you put other people’s interests first.
  4. The law of authenticity. The most valuable thing you can give others is yourself.
  5. The law of receptivity. To give effectively, you have to be open to receiving.

About the author

Bob Burg is a former salesperson and television personality. He is The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Endless Referrals and has written various entries in the Go-Giver series. He was named one of the American Management Association’s 30 most influential thought leaders in 2014.

John David Mann is a concert cellist, prize-winning composer, writer, and publisher. In addition to co-authoring The Go-Giver series with Bob Burg, Mann is coauthor of The New York Times bestselling books Flash Foresight and The Red Circle.


Motivational, Nonfiction, Self Help, Personal Development, Leadership, Business Culture, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Inspirational, Career Success. Sales and Selling, Motivational Management and Leadership, Success Self-Help, Business Life, Self-Esteem, Relationships, Personal Growth

Table of Contents

Foreword Arianna Hiffington xiii
Introduction xv
1 The Go-Getter 1
2 The Secret 7
3 The Law of Value 19
4 The Condition 33
5 The Law of Compensation 37
6 Serving Coffee 49
7 Rachel 53
8 The Law of Influence 59
9 Susan 69
10 The Law of Authenticity 77
11 Gus 93
12 The Law of Receptivity 97
13 Full Circle 109
14 The Go-Giver 117
The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success 123
Acknowledgments 125
A Go-Giver Discussion Guide 129
Q&A with the Authors 135
About the Authors 149


“Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving. . . . Then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.”

The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be. Desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by his many devotees sim­ply as the Chairman.

Over the next week, Pindar introduces Joe to a series of “go-givers”: a restaurateur, a CEO, a financial adviser, a real estate broker, and the “Connector” who brought them all together. Pindar’s friends teach Joe the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and help him open himself up to the power of giving.

Joe learns that changing his focus from getting to giving—putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives—ultimately leads to unexpected returns.

Imparted with wit and grace, The Go-Giver is a classic bestseller that brings to life the old proverb “Give and you shall receive.”

Nearly a decade since its original publication, the term “go-giver” has become shorthand for a defining set of values embraced by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Today this timeless story continues to help its readers find fulfillment and greater success in business, in their personal lives and in their communities.

This expanded edition includes the text of the original business parable, together with a foreword by Arianna Huffington, a new intro­duction, a discussion guide, and a Q&A with the authors.


“A quick read in the spirit of The Greatest Salesman in the World and The One Minute Manager. Burg and Mann write with a simple, informal style that offers a working-person’s interpretation of the old adage ‘give and you shall receive.’” —Publishers Weekly

“The powerful business idea referenced in the title is that ‘shifting the focus from getting to giving and putting the other person first is the key to business success and personal fulfillment.’ … Explanations of these concepts and how to employ them are clear and to the point.” —Booklist

“The world always needs a fresh approach to its most important messages. The Go-Giver is a great way to continue to spread a positive and enriching message.” —Soundview Executive Book Alert

“Similar to Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, providing wisdom and insight on how to be more successful.” —

“The Go-Giver has created such a buzz CEOs are buying it in bulk for their entire organizations.” —Huffington Post

“A cross between Jonathan Livingston Seagull and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People … an uplifting, quick read of a book that will appeal to customers who want to bring more heart and a holistic sense of mission to their livelihoods.” —Retailing Insight

“Deftly written and thoroughly reader-friendly … informed and informative as well as inspired and inspiring.” —Midwest Book Review

“The most important parable about business—and life—of our time.” — Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take

“A must-read for anyone who wants to change the world.” —Glenn Beck, talk show host and founder of TheBlaze

“A small book that packs a huge idea. As Burg and Mann show in their compelling tale, not only do givers prosper, they also change the world.” —Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

“The Go-Giver is one of my favorite books ever. It has made a huge difference in my life, and it aligns with everything I stand for. If you don’t have this book, you have to get yourself a copy now.” —Marie Forleo, founder of B-School and MarieTV

“Not since Who Moved My Cheese? have I enjoyed a parable as much as this. You owe it to yourself to read The Go-Giver and share its message with those who matter most to you. It is a beautiful book, one that will touch your soul and inspire your heart.” —David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire

“If you follow the principles in this fantastic little book—if you really strive to be a ‘go-giver’—you’ll find that Zig Ziglar was right: You really Can have everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what They want.” —Dave Ramsey, host of the Dave Ramsey Show

“There are very few books that make you want to buy a copy for every single person you know. The Go-Giver is one of those rare books that turn a reader into an evangelist.” —Lisa Earle McLeod, author of Selling with Noble Purpose

“The Go-Giver is filled with timeless truths practically presented that will positively transform every reader; it’s a brilliant and easily read guide to doing good and doing well.” —Rabbi Daniel Lapin, author, Business Secrets from the Bible and Thou Shall Prosper

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To Mike and Myrna Burg and Alfred and Carolyn Mann, who gave us everything.


Giving, touching others’ lives, expanding the circle of our concern to include others, being authentic, and being always open to receiving as well as giving. That’s not just a children’s fairy tale—it’s a good description of many of the most amazing people I’ve encountered.

And while they may live and work in different countries and in different fields, they all share the same core giving philosophy. This book captures that philosophy and shows that it is more than a fable, a parable, or a pipe dream. It’s real—a path that people can follow in their daily lives.

People want to believe that this is the way the world can work: that living with a focus on others isn’t just a nice goal but that it can be a way of life, and can lead to a life that is full, rich and fulfilling. But then, too often, we feel pressured by the voices (both external and internal) of cynicism and resignation, telling us, “It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there—you’ve got to look out for #1.”

Too many people think, “Oh, sure, once you’ve achieved success and financial stability, then you can afford to be a giving person!” But in this book, Bob Burg and John David Mann—who, among other things, have given us the term go-giver—tell us that, in fact, being a giving person is how you achieve success in the first place, however you define success.

Too often people hear “be a giver” and think of charities and writing checks, of “giving back” once we have already done well for ourselves. But that’s only one very specific facet of giving. By “be a giver,” Bob and John mean be a giving person, period: one who gives thought, gives attention, gives care, gives focus, gives time and energy—gives value to others.

Not as a quid pro quo, not as a strategy to get ahead, but because it is, in and of itself, a satisfying and fulfilling way to be.

Arianna Huffington

Introduction to the Revised Edition

Not long after The Go-Giver first appeared, we got a letter from a man named Arlin Sorensen. The CEO of an Iowa IT firm, Arlin had organized a Go-Giver–themed summer retreat for more than two hundred peer-group companies. Inspired by the ideas in the book, several conference participants flew out to another state, on their own dime, to help brainstorm solutions for a colleague whose company was on the verge of closure. The firm pulled back from the brink and saw banner profits the following quarter—and the two men who’d done the consulting were surprised to find that what they learned in the process helped boost growth in their own companies, too.

All of which, Arlin told us, was a result of his reading our “little story about a powerful business idea.”

And Arlin wasn’t the only one sending us reports like this. People in all sorts of businesses started telling us that our story was changing the way they did things. Chambers of Commerce told us they were adopting Go-Giver precepts as part of their professional code and giving copies of the book to their members to help their businesses become more successful. A fitness club challenged its staff to continually come up with creative improvements in the business based on the book’s core principles. A legal firm reported using the book to help more effectively negotiate matrimonial disputes.

The Go-Giver started as a book but soon became a movement. Our hero Joe’s struggle to gain an advantage in his business (some “clout and leverage,” as he put it) and his encounters with his mentor’s counterintuitive principles describing how the world really works (“the more you give, the more you have”) seemed to strike a chord—and not only in the world of business. Before long we were hearing from parents, teachers, pastors and counselors who were using the book in their work, and in their lives, too.

• A high school teacher in Indiana told us he was taking his school’s senior class through the book because he found it “better equipped them to do well in the world.” He has done it with every graduating class since.

• An executive chef at an exclusive Houston country club started using it to train his management team to reach even higher levels of excellence and member satisfaction.

• A Lithuanian expat in London moved back to her homeland and started her own publishing company just so she could share the book with her compatriots in their own language. “Your book will change our country,” she told us.

From book clubs to executive councils, law firms to prayer groups, energy conglomerates to nursing homes, pizza shop managers to graduate school professors, people wrote to tell us how they were using the book. And it wasn’t that they were saying they liked it. They were saying something better than that.

They were saying it worked.

Business owners told us the book helped them make their businesses more successful. In some cases, struggling businesses experienced a complete turnaround after implementing the “Five Laws of Stratospheric Success” Joe learns in these pages. Companies large and small started using it to train their sales and customer service teams to generate both more sales and happier customers. People reported using the Five Laws to great effect in their marriages and approach to parenting.

All of the foregoing might seem to suggest that the “secrets” in The Go-Giver must be startlingly new and original. They aren’t, of course. The ideas here are as old as humanity. One of the messages we hear most often is some variation of “This is how I always thought (or always hoped) things worked. . . . I just never quite knew how to put it into words.” When these readers crack open the pages of Joe’s adventure, they tell us, they discover something they always knew somewhere inside themselves: that while the world may at times appear to be a dog-eat-dog place, there is actually a set of much kinder and vastly more powerful principles operating beneath the surface of casual appearances.

But don’t take our word for it.

After reading what Joe and his mentor Pindar have to say, we invite you to take the next step and explore it for yourself. Follow Pindar’s Condition: test every law you read here and see what happens. “Not by thinking about it,” as Pindar tells Joe in chapter 2, “not by talking about it, but by applying it in your life.”

Enjoy—and our best wishes for your stratospheric success.

Bob Burg and John David Mann

October 2015

1: The Go-Getter

If there was anyone at the Clason-Hill Trust Corporation who was a go-getter, it was Joe. He worked hard, worked fast, and was headed for the top. At least, that was his plan. Joe was an ambitious young man, aiming for the stars.

Still, sometimes it felt as if the harder and faster he worked, the further away his goals appeared. For such a dedicated go-getter, it seemed like he was doing a lot of going but not a lot of getting.

Work being as busy as it was, though, Joe didn’t have much time to think about that. Especially on a day like today—a Friday, with only a week left in the quarter and a critical deadline to meet. A deadline he couldn’t afford not to meet.

• • •

Today, in the waning hours of the afternoon, Joe decided it was time to call in a favor, so he placed a phone call—but the conversation wasn’t going well.

“Carl, tell me you’re not telling me this . . .” Joe took a breath to keep the desperation out of his voice. “Neil Hansen?! Who the heck is Neil Hansen? . . . Well I don’t care what he’s offering, we can meet those specs . . . wait—c’mon, Carl, you owe me one! You know you do! Hey, who saved your bacon on the Hodges account? Carl, hang on . . . Carl!”

Joe clicked off the TALK button on his cordless phone and made himself calmly set down the instrument. He took a deep breath.

Joe was desperately trying to land a large account, an account he felt he richly deserved—one he needed, if he wanted to make his third-quarter quota. Joe had just missed his quota in the first quarter, and again in the second. Two strikes . . . Joe didn’t even want to think about a third.

“Joe? You okay?” a voice asked. Joe looked up into the concerned face of his coworker Melanie Matthews. Melanie was a well-meaning, genuinely nice person. Which was exactly why Joe doubted she would survive long in a competitive environment like the seventh floor, where they both worked.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Was that Carl Kellerman on the phone? About the BK account?”

Joe sighed. “Yeah.”

He didn’t need to explain. Everyone on the floor knew who Carl Kellerman was. He was a corporate broker looking for the right firm to handle an account Joe had nicknamed the Big Kahuna, or BK for short.

According to Carl, the boss at Big Kahuna didn’t think Joe’s firm had the “clout and leverage” to put the deal together. Now some character he’d never heard of had underbid and outperformed him. Carl claimed there was nothing he could do about it.

“I just don’t get it,” Joe said.

“I’m so sorry, Joe,” said Melanie.

“Hey, sometimes you eat the bear . . .” He flashed a confident grin, but all he could think about was what Carl had said. As Melanie walked back to her desk, Joe sat lost in thought. Clout and leverage . . .

Moments later he leaped up and walked over to Melanie’s desk. “Hey, Mel?”

She looked up.

“Do you remember talking with Gus the other day, something about a big wheel consultant giving a talk somewhere next month? You called him the Captain or something?”

Melanie smiled. “Pindar. The Chairman.”

Joe snapped his fingers. “That’s it! That’s the guy. What’s his last name?”

Melanie frowned. “I don’t think . . .” She shrugged. “No, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it mentioned. Everyone calls him the Chairman, or just Pindar. Why? You want to go hear the talk?”

“Yeah . . . maybe.” But Joe was not interested in some lecture happening a month away. He was interested in only one thing—and that one thing needed to happen by the following Friday, when the third quarter came to an end.

“I was thinking, this guy is a real heavy hitter, right? Charges huge consulting fees, works only for the biggest and best firms? Major clout. I know we could handle the BK account, but I’m gonna need some big guns to win the deal back. I need leverage. Any idea how I can get a line to this Chairman guy’s office?”

Melanie looked at Joe as if he were proposing to wrestle a grizzly bear. “You’re just going to call him up?!”

Joe shrugged. “Sure. Why not?”

Melanie shook her head. “I have no idea how to contact him. Why don’t you ask Gus?”

• • •

As Joe headed back to his desk, he wondered how Gus had managed to survive this long at Clason-Hill Trust. He never saw him do any actual work. Yet Gus had an enclosed office, while Joe, Melanie and a dozen others shared the open space of the seventh floor. Some said Gus had gotten his office because of seniority. Others said he’d earned it on merit.