• Dynamic...
  • Inspiring...
  • Entertaining...
  • Principle-Based...
  • Immediately, Effective...
  • Bob Burg

“Bob Burg is the greatest teacher of networking in the world ”

~ John Milton Fogg, author, The Greatest Networker in the World

My Favorite “Dad Story”…The Master of “GoodSpeak”

June 20th, 2009 by Bob Burg

As human beings, we have the ability, and the choice, to lift people up or to put them down. And we don’t even have to speak to them directly in order to do either. In this article (originally published in 2000), you’ll meet my Dad, Mike Burg. He’s always had the most amazing gift for making people feel good about themselves and, while I’ve tried to emulate that trait, I’ve never been able to do it to the degree he has (though…he’d tell me different). πŸ™‚

Here’s the article, with only one update, which is near the end, and noted in parenthesis:


The Master of GoodSpeak

Have you ever known of someone who sets an example you can learn from, emulate, and utilize for the rest of your life?

Such a person is my Dad.

Dad’s ability isn’t only finding the good in everyone, but also verbalizing it. He’s mastered building people both directly and to others. Most people gossip. Dad finds and speaks the good. When he must correct, it’s always with tact and kindness.

Most people relate to others the bad spoken of them, creating conflict. Dad always relates the good someone said about them, bringing people closer together.

Question: Have you ever heard husbands, when speaking to others, make unkind remarks about their wives? It’s one of those macho things, right? Sure, they’re “only kidding,” but words matter. Examples, good and bad, are set, especially for children.

Dad ALWAYS speaks of Mom in the most complimentary, glowing terms. As does she of him. They began poor and built a successful business. Although Dad was the one in the public eye and Mom more comfortable behind the scenes, Dad always made sure everyone knew who he considered to be the true driving force behind the business.

My favorite “Dad story” took place when I was 12. We were having carpet installed in our home. The crew boss was one of those stereotypical beer-guzzlin’, hard-livin’ guys, who would have probably belonged to Ralph Kramden’s Raccoon Lodge from the old Honeymooner’s TV show (nothing wrong with that – just painting a picture). πŸ™‚

For lunch, my folks bought pizza for the crew. Dad went to talk with the boss about the job. I was around the corner listening.

The boss said, “This is an expensive job. Women will really spend your money, won’t they?”

Dad responded, “Well, I’ll tell you, when they were right there with you before you had any money, it’s a pleasure to do anything for them you possibly can.”

This wasn’t the answer he expected. He was looking for negative talk about wives which, to him, was normal. And, Dad, with his natural “street way” that never fully left him as well as the type of personality to which everyone always feltΒ  they could relate, most likely seemed like someone with whom the crew boss could bond. He tried again, “But, gee, they’ll really play off that and spend all they can, won’t they?”

Dad replied, as I knew he would, “Hey, when they’re the reason you’re successful, you want them to do the things they enjoy. There’s no greater pleasure.” Strike two.

The crew boss tried one more time, sort of stumbling, “And…uhhh, they’ll take that as far as they can, huh?” Dad responded, “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I’d do anything to make her happy.”

I was trying not to laugh. I knew he wanted Dad to give in just a little bit and say, “Yeah, I guess that’s true.” But I knew that wouldn’t happen…not in a million years!

Please understand; my Dad did not in any way speak in a condescending manner. He was simply himself; a person who loved and respected his wife (my Mom) so much that there is no way he would give in and participate in that type of talk.

Finally, the boss gave up. Maybe he learned something about respecting one’s spouse. Maybe not. But it taught a young boy a lot about the power of respect and edification.

Mom and Dad recently celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary (updated since original article, of course) :-). They still hold hands, and are more in love than ever. In fact, they adore one another. Would there be any doubt?


{From Bob to his Dad}: Pa* I wish you a Very Happy Father’s Day and for you to know how much I love you; which, though you already know, I don’t feel I could ever say enough times.

*Dad’s name unofficially became “Pa” many years ago because his granddaughter, Samantha, could not say “Grandpa.” The name just sort of took. πŸ™‚

54 Responses to “My Favorite “Dad Story”…The Master of “GoodSpeak””
  1. Sean Woodruff said at 8:18 pm on

    One of my favorite Bob Burg articles. It doesn’t surprise me in the least as I know the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” in this world.

  2. Bob Burg said at 8:38 pm on

    Thank you, Bro Sean; that’s very kind of you. I wish you a very Happy Father’s Day; I always enjoy hearing your stories about your children. They are blessed indeed to have you as their Dad.

  3. Casey said at 8:58 pm on

    First time to read…Thanks for sharing! Happy Fathers Day to your Dad..and YOU!
    Your Dad is right..just celebrated 31 years and can tell you that it wasn’t me! Blessings!

  4. Bob Burg said at 9:21 pm on

    Thank you, Casey; I’m not a Dad myself but will pass on your kind words to my Dad tomorrow. Happy Father’s Day to you and congratulations to you and your wife on your 31 years. May you have another 62 years to go.

  5. Kirsty Hogg said at 3:05 am on

    Hi Bob, Man alive can you write! I know you always give John David Mann a lot of credit for his writing skills for The Gogiver, which is a very well-written book, so I wanted to point out that you are a seriously good writer too. Which is not an easy feat especially in the short story genre. You probably already know that and are just being the Gogiver that you are πŸ˜‰ This is a very poignant memory that brought tears to my eyes and passed on the important message about choosing to edify people, even when it is inconvenient to do so. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Bob Burg said at 6:56 am on

    Kirsty, thank you for your words that, just like you, are always sweet and kind (and, much appreciated!) πŸ™‚

    Believe me when I tell you that John was indeed, what I call the “storyteller extraordinaire” for The Go-Giver. When it comes to writing a fictional story…way out of my league. πŸ™‚

    I’m a “how-to” author and also feel comfortable writing a story where something actually happened as reported, such as the story about Dad.

    Thank you again, Kirsty. I always enjoy knowing that you read the articles and take time time to comment on them. Best wishes for a Happy Father’s Day to all the the Dad’s in your life.

  7. Bob, this brought a tear to my eye, also. Thank you for sharing such a great story. It is so nice to hear about someone edifying others, and such a good example for all of us. You have done your Dad proud, no doubt.

  8. Bob Burg said at 12:10 pm on

    Thank you, Heather. Pleae know how much I appreciate your kind comments. Means a LOT to me, my friend!

  9. Dianne Hanks said at 2:56 pm on

    I love that story of how your dad was a real man through and through, honestly living in an honouring way to himself and his wife. Would it be alright to share that in an upcoming tutorial on my “BlondesPRFRGentlemen” youtube channel? I would love to show what a real gentleman in action looks like. Credits of course, along with appropriate links. Thanks again, there is a shortage of real men on the planet, so it’s refreshing to see one in action! ZING, I caught you being a stud!

  10. Bob Burg said at 6:03 pm on

    Hi Dianne,

    Thank you. That’s very kind of you to say and, absolutely; please feel free to cite the story on your upcoming tutorial.

    {Note from Bob: Dianne’s website is http://www.youtube.com/BlondesPRFRGEntlemen}

  11. Al Kaznoon said at 6:36 pm on

    I enjoyed reading your article and picked up a couple of great lessons:

    1. Never speak ill of anyone behind his or her back because you never know who is listening or watching.

    2. Words do matter, even when spoken behind someone’s back. So be authentic, kind, respectful, and you never have to worry about affecting those around you, specially loved ones, in a negative way.

    Thank You for always sharing your great wisdom in such an eloquent way. It is always a pleasure reading your material.

  12. Bob Burg said at 6:56 pm on

    Thank you, Al. Sounds like your Father’s Day has been awesome. πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing the lessons you got out of the article. Of course, these are lessons I know you already know and are teaching through your own experience.

  13. Lynn Sanders said at 10:12 pm on

    Bob – Loved your article — so beautiful and heartfelt. (Just like you!) Will share it with my siblings. Your father is lucky to have you as a son, just as you are blessed to have your dad. Thanks for sharing your stories and being an inspiration. Our world needs more of these good “vibes” to spread a loving ripple effect… πŸ™‚

  14. Bob Burg said at 6:16 am on

    Thank you, Lynn; your kind words always bring a smile to my face. Thank you.

  15. Steve Dorfman said at 1:42 pm on

    Wouldn’t be great if more people would speak kindness over others. Misery loves company and so does gratitude — I choose to keep company with the latter. What a great example, Bob. I’ll always remember meeting a couple from your hometown who had such wonderful things to say about your folks. You are truly blessed. Thanks for sharing this. All the best, Steve.

  16. Bob Burg said at 3:19 pm on

    Hi Steve, Thank you, my good brother. Very appreciated. You make a terrific point; choosing who to keep company with. We don’t *always* have the choice…but often, we absolutely have that choice.

  17. Amy Gauthier said at 9:49 pm on

    Hi Bob, Thanks for sharing another inspiring story! My Dad is a treasure to me as well — he’ll be 80 in Oct., and that sounds quite a bit how he treated my Mom. A great reminder for us all!

  18. Bob Burg said at 9:18 am on

    Thank you, Amy; sounds as though we have both been very, very blessed! And, Happy Upcoming Birthday to your Dad! πŸ™‚

  19. Bob,
    Thank you for this.
    We should all share this story as an example of both how thinking people (your parents) created a legacy of positivity and creativity.

    G-d Bless, and have a wonderful weekend,

  20. […] on “To Have A Body…”Osnat Bresler on “To Have A Body…”Jack Bresler on My Favorite “Dad Story”…The Master of “GoodSpeak”Edie Galley on “To Have A Body…”Shawn Phillips on “To Have A Body…” […]

  21. Bob Burg said at 12:28 pm on

    Thank you Jack. That’s very kind of you to say. G-d bless you and have a wonderful weekend, as well.

  22. David Johnson said at 10:52 pm on

    I found this article through a link somebody posted on their Facebook page and in the spirit of the moment I would like to give you my favorite “Bob Burg” moment.

    About 4 or 5 years ago I read Endless Referrals while working in a car dealership. Referrals have always been important to me, they are a thank you for a job well done and I always worked hard to gain them.

    After reading the book I sent Bob an email asking for advice about specific things a car salesman could do to generate endless referrals. Much to my surprise I got a phone call instead of an email. He spent about 30 minutes of his time with me, gave me his advice freely and never came across as if he was in a hurry to get off the phone.

    I said all that so I could echo Sean and say that the apple didn’t fall far from tree, in fact a few days later I received, in the mail, a card with Bobs picture on it (he talks about them in Endless Referrals) thanking me for my time!

    Bob, thank you for being an inspiration as well as a great fount of knowledge.

  23. Bob Burg said at 2:40 pm on

    WOW – David, words cannot express how much a letter such as yours means to me. Thank you very much!!

  24. You are most welcome!

  25. Esther Petitto said at 12:21 pm on

    Wow! Just legendary! Your publishing manner is pleasing and the way you dealt the subject with grace is admirably. I am intrigued, I presume you are an expert on this topic. I am subscribing to your future updates from now on.

  26. Bob Burg said at 3:51 pm on

    Hi Esther, thank you for your nice note and very, very kind words. Regarding your presuming me to be an expert, however…the only thing I’m an expert on is in realizing that I’m not an expert on anything. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much again!

  27. Elle said at 7:12 am on

    Your name for your “pa” made me remember the last time my dad was here with us in Australia, some 7 years ago now, my kids being that much younger then took my name for my dad (I called him Fayther) and added their take on it, and to this day – and bless him he died 2 years ago – called him GrannyFeather … and he loved it so much so he signed all… See more the cards from that day with the kids name for him … thanks for sharing your favorite dad story with us πŸ™‚ and love to your mum n dad from us down under

  28. Happy Father’s Day to your gentle and loving ‘Pa’.

  29. Sandy Harper said at 8:22 am on

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Bob. I am certain that your Pa made an impact on the Crew Boss, just as you are making an impact on so many lives. Your Pa must be very proud!

    Much Love ~

    Sandy Harper πŸ™‚

  30. Cloe Couturier said at 11:43 am on

    Thank you BB πŸ™‚ There is no father without the child and its relationship. Your love expressed for your father is always uplifting and inspiring. You both are blessed. I have been blessed with a great father too. Thank you for sharing about your Dad with us. Happy Father’s Day and Happy Child πŸ™‚

    Love Always. CC ~

  31. Marnee Masales said at 1:36 pm on

    Very well said. There should be more people like your dad. A very lucky person to have such a awesome dad.

  32. Joanne said at 1:48 pm on

    WOW and I’m not easily wow’d!! I’m single 9 years as I believe in my heart this kind of love and respect is out there….u just made my day!! Why be someones anything when u can be someones everything!! xx

  33. Bob Burg said at 3:49 pm on

    Elle, that’s a great story about your Dad. Sounds like he was a terrific Father and Grandfather. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Susan, thank you. Very kind of you, my friend.

    Sandy, I appreciate your saying that. One of the nicest things a son can hear.

    Cloe, That means a lot to me. Thank you.

    Marnee, thank you. I’m very lucky indeed. I lucked out incredibly well in the Parent Department. πŸ™‚

    Joanne, what a fantastic compliment. Thank you so much. And, your final sentence is awesome.

  34. Stacy Shelton said at 7:48 am on


    I have heard a few people speak of your father and everyone has the upmost respect and admiration for him. This story epitomizes why. You are a wise son because you learned from him and emmulate him. That is the greatest honor you can give a well deserving father. Thanks for the wonderful story and the wonderful example you are.

  35. Bob Burg said at 10:48 am on

    Stacy, very kind of you. Your entire note makes me feel great. Thank you, my friend!

  36. Geneva said at 12:10 pm on

    As I read this story, the scripture, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11” just kept going over in my head. Your dad re-framed a potentially negative view of this man’s obvious take on women into a priceless moment proving chivalry is not dead. He pattern interrupted stereotypical comments!
    Thanks for sharing a secret to relational longevity & living that legacy in your examples to us.

  37. Debbi Stumpf said at 11:33 am on

    That’s the kind of wife I strive to be.

  38. Saach said at 2:31 am on

    This is actually the very first time that I read your blog post. I just happened to come to this page from the link that was provided from one of the twitters and read about your dad. What an awesome dad you have. I respect your dad about the way he respects your mom and that he speaks of your mom in the most complimentary and glowing terms like you phrased. Your dad being the one in the public eye, and your mom being more comfortable behind the scenes, he always made sure people knew who he considered to be the true driving force behind the scenes.

    Recently, I’ve studied the life of John Lennon, known as the most influential songwriter in history and one of the Beatles, and Yoko Ono, and was so inspired by the way John and Yoko fought for peace in NYC. Although John was not a perfect man, like none of us are, he was a very vulnerable and nice man, being always kind and helping others.

    Your dad’s story sort of reminds me of John Lennon, and how he treated his wife, always making sure to bring her up, complimenting her, and letting her being part of every activity and things that he was involved in, instead of hiding her from the public eye or keeping her behind the scenes.

    I truly admire your father. I enjoyed reading this post. Thank you so much for sharing it. πŸ™‚

  39. Linda Ryan said at 8:13 am on

    Awwwwww, this is such beautiful story Bob. I think it takes a “real man” to NOT engage or agree with the conversation the carpet guy was trying to have. The nicest part (I think) is that, at the tender age of 12, you noticed your Dad’s behavior. I’m guessing your Dad (and Mom, let’s not forget Myrna!) is a big part of the reason you have become one of the…..let’s see…how do I want to say this? …….nicest people on the planet! πŸ™‚

  40. Peg Duchesne said at 9:13 am on

    Bob – what a pleasure to read this awesome story! You are much like your Dad and it’s fantastic to see the insights at your young age that you picked up on that made you who you are today. It’s on Father’s Day, more than any other, that I miss my Dad the most, having lost him 5-1/2 years ago. I know you cherish your parents and spend quality time with them each week. Treasure those times, as I’m sure you do. Thanks again for sharing stories of your life that have such impact! ~Peg

  41. Christie Ellis said at 11:06 am on

    Bob this is such a beautiful story…having had the pleasure of meeting your parents and seeing you with them, it is quite clear what a wonderful, supportive, kind family you have. I know what I am about to say is redundant after reading all of these posts but I think it stands repeating: they way you describe your dad and his kindness is the way I see you, a person who speaks kindly of others and truly cares about people. Please give Mike a big hug for me and tell him happy father’s day πŸ™‚ He did a phenomenal job as a dad to raise a son like you.

  42. Bob Burg said at 10:42 pm on

    Geneva, thank you. As always, you have spoken *your* words “fitly!”

    Debbi, I have no doubt that you are!

    Saach, welcome to our blog. Thank you for your very kind words. Means a LOT to me!

    Linda, WOW, now THAT is a nice compliment (though I suspect you’re giving me way too much credit) πŸ™‚

    Peg, thank you, my friend. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    Christie, so very kind of you to say. I’m indeed fortunate to have such great examples!

  43. […] as a kid of going to Red Sox games at Fenway Park (correctly pronounced “pahk”) with my Dad. Later, I remember often skipping school (shh!) early in the season, “thumbing a ride” […]

  44. Steve White said at 10:20 am on

    Yup bob. This story has stuck with me for about 20 years. See the sign on people that says “make me feel good today”. I was raised the same way And bob I think you for sharing those stories Because they have only strengthened that nature which in me.

  45. Bob Burg said at 10:55 am on

    Steve, thank you so much. What a kind and terrific compliment. Very appreciated!

  46. Bob, What a great role model you had….it’s easy to see that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree! Your story reminded me of my dad, always looking for the best in people and situations. Thank you so much for posting this!!

  47. Bob Burg said at 2:12 pm on

    Joyce, I appreciate that a lot. Thank you! Sounds like you had a pretty great role model yourself. Both of us blessed!

  48. Christie Ellis said at 3:04 pm on

    Since I would pretty much repeat what I posted last year I only have one message to leave here and it technically isn’t from me: Liberty asked me to pass on a message…she says Happy Father’s Day! She appreciates all you do to take care of her, but you know the way she is, she won’t tell you that to your face for fear you may find out how much she really loves you. πŸ™‚

  49. Bob Burg said at 5:43 pm on

    Christie: LOL. Thank you. Of course, that’s the difference between a cat and a dog. I’m sure Dallas has no problem telling you and Eddie how much he loves and appreciates you. And my dogs never had that problem. Liberty? I’m surprised she even told you to tell me ;-).

  50. Christie Ellis said at 7:26 pm on

    Well, technically what she said was she preferred I didn’t but if I absolutely HAD to let you know she wouldn’t bite me for it πŸ™‚

  51. Bob Burg said at 8:12 pm on

    Christie: LOLOL!

  52. […] *Inspired by my Dad. […]

  53. So truly blessed to have such an amazing relationship, loving bond and respect for a parent. I Love the stories you share about your parents. It is so refreshing and honestly rare these days. I am blessed to know you, learn from you and learn from your parents. Lots of Love and Blessings to You, and Your Mom and Dad… Please send them my regards and tell them they raised a “remarkable, witty, intelligent, great teacher, big hearted, young man” Yes YOUNG… LOL… Young of heart…
    Have a fabulous day. I am blessed to call you a friend, I sooo appreciate You… ~Lots of Love and Hugs, Carly

  54. Bob Burg said at 5:51 pm on

    Carly: Thank you. As always, your words are very sweet and kind. I appreciate you greatly. Yes, I am blessed indeed to have the Mom and Dad I have and extremely grateful for that amazing blessing. Also blessed to have friends like you!

Leave a Reply