Book review · Inspiring Reads · Nonfiction · Things I'm Learning

A Review of Bob Goff’s “Dream Big”

It’s been a while since I read Bob Goff’s “Everybody, Always,” but I remember him for his storytelling, generous spirit, and loving heart for people. Having read his latest book, “Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going To Do About It,” I echoed my husband Dave’s response: I have to meet this guy! Goff is just as positive, just as quirky, but he’s also quite a daredevil. He’s held nothing back to live on the “edge of Yikes” and go for the dreams God’s placed in his heart.

When he was asked by Guideposts.org writer Alikay Wood why he wrote a book about dreams, Goff said, “I think a lot of people have, particularly with these events that have unfolded in the last several months, they just stopped dreaming. We’ve had our head down. We were scared. We were confused. We’ve had these ambitions ever since we were kids, but then we just bailed on them.

“It’s like we left them at the bus stop and drove away. And I wanted people to reconnect with some of those ambitions. It could have been a career ambition, it could be a relational ambition, but it needs to be a worthy ambition. [The book is about] dusting off old ambitions, looking at new ones, and then vetting them a little bit.”

To help readers discover their ambitions, Goff provided three questions: Who are you? where are you? and what do you want? Questions at the end of the book corresponded with each chapter to delve into what thoughts and motives may have had a hand in derailing us in the past. Where did that “stinkin’ thinkin’” come from? Did we hear it from a teacher, our parents, boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse, or friend? Bringing negative thinking into the light of day would allow us to see what Goff referred to as “limiting beliefs” that have held us back. We can replace lies the world told us with the truth of how God sees, of the gifts He gave us, and of the unique dreams He placed in our hearts. Ambitions that were meant to give life purpose and provide a lasting legacy.

Before he got into his own ambitions, Goff talked about how helping someone else with their ambitions can fuel our passion, give us new purpose and new vision for some of our own. He gave examples about Jesus’ “reverse economy” – You want to become rich? Give what you have away. You want to become a leader? Learn to follow. Do you have ambitions you want to achieve? Help others achieve theirs. I loved that last one. He said people could make that what they’re known for — they could make that their entire life’s business, it’s true. What a great legacy that would be!

Sharing some of his own ambitions served to show readers how he applied these questions. Things like learning how to ride a motorcycle cross country, fly a plane, skydive, and climb a mountain. Even greater ambitions included writing a book, fighting against human rights abuses, providing education to children in areas of great conflict, and building a school for girls in Mogadishu.

Goff wanted to make it clear that readers shouldn’t limit themselves to what they do at work or what degree they hold or don’t hold. A practicing lawyer for 25 years, he said his background and experience did help him with some of the red tape involved in working on his dreams. But he said our life experiences and abilities may have equipped us more than career and studies.

He also didn’t want people to limit themselves by playing the comparison game. We don’t need to compare ourselves with other people just because we share a similar dream. (I am guilty of that myself. I thought my life should look like others and I should want the same things, so I followed the wrong paths.) And he wanted readers to kick to the curb the idea that God shuts doors and opens windows, or vice versa. Using a baking metaphor at the end of chapter 25, Goff said:

“Hitting a couple of road bumps doesn’t always mean God is trying to send a secret, encrypted message. Maybe what you tried just didn’t work out the way you hoped. What you need to really believe in your gut is that, in God’s economy, nothing is ever wasted. Not your pain, nor your disappointments, nor your setbacks. These are your tools. They can be used later as a recipe for your best work. Quit throwing the batter away.”

He pointed out that God orders our steps, but it’s up to us whether we choose to act or not act.

I found myself reading parts of this book aloud to Dave on everything from Goff’s experience with thermometers, to paying for a Michigan man’s bumper (he was in California at the time), to calling the White House for his son who was sick, to winding up in the hospital then jail. Goff’s active and authentic faith shined through so much of the text, and I admire his willingness to make himself available to others; in fact, once again, he put his cell number at the end of this book!

“Dream Big” is available as a five-session video study and has a separate study guide you can purchase. And for a limited time (Aug. 19, 2020 is the last day), you can enter for a chance to win the book on Goodreads.com. Thanks to NetGalley.com and Thomas Nelson for the electronic copy of “Dream Big” by Bob Goff in exchange for an honest review.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. -- Psalm 37:23 (NKJV)

You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer. - Job 14:5 (NLT)

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