Review: Bob Goff and the Virtue of Whimsy (Enter to win a free book!)


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

“There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of completely engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn’t come in an envelope. It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live.” 
Bob Goff, Love Does

Bob Goff’s new book, Love Does, is an invitation. 

It’s an invitation to live with a little more playfulness, a little more whimsy, and to actually go out and do something with the teachings of Jesus. 

“I’ve come to understand more about faith as I’ve understood more about whimsy,” writes Goff. “What whimsy means to me is a combination of the ‘do’ part of faith along with doing something worth doing.” 

Through masterful storytelling, Goff—a successful lawyer, professor, Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States, and founder of Restore International—gives readers a glimpse into the life that has made him something of a legend among those who know him. He writes about the sixteen days he spent sailing the Pacific Ocean with five buddies and a crate of canned meat, the time he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state, his stubbornness in getting into law school by sitting on a bench outside the dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll, his “office” at Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland, the flowers he sent to the elderly woman who nearly killed him running a stop sign, the work he’s done to free Ugandan children from prison. 

But somehow, Goff manages to share these stories without showing off.  His writing style—no doubt influenced by his good friend Donald Miller—is down-to-earth and self-depreciating. He shares the spotlight with others who have influenced and inspired him, and he writes with an odd, but refreshing, combination of playfulness and urgency. He lives a big life, and he wants you to live a big life too. That's what the book is about. 

Now I confess that, occasionally, the cynic in me would pipe up and say, “Sure, Bob. I’d love to hop on plane and fly to London on a whim. Sounds like fun! But, unlike you, I don’t roll around in my money at night; I’m just barely paying the mortgage.” 

(Goff, as far as I know, does not in fact roll around in his money at night.) 

But, despite my cynicism, Goff’s message must have broken through, because ever since I finished reading Love Does, I’ve been acting a little weird. 

For example, yesterday, Dan and I were both at home working. It was a beautiful spring day, but we had a lot to do. Suddenly, I got the urge to go on a hike. But this time, instead of talking myself out of it, I urged Dan to come along on a mini-adventure. So we hopped into the Explorer and headed out to Pocket Wilderness. (I’ll take you there if you ever come to Dayton to visit. It’s beautiful!) We only stayed for about an hour, but we had a wonderful time together, taking pictures of flowers and bugs, and throwing sticks into the creek just to watch them float away. It seems like a small thing, but it was actually kind of big. We’d added a touch of whimsy to an ordinary day, and it helped us love one another better. 

“The language of love is laced with whimsy,” writes Goff. “It sometimes borders on the irrational. Like I’ve been saying, though, love is a do thing. It’s an energy that has to be dissipated.” 

So, if you want to start acting weird too, leave a comment with your first name and your hometown at the end of the post, (ex: “Carrie from Minneapolis!”), and you will automatically be entered to win a free copy of Love Does. (Be sure to log into DISQUS in such a way that I can find your email address if you’ve won.)

I’ve got two copies to give away, so there will be two winners!

To add a touch of whimsy to the whole experience, I’ll include a postcard from my hometown of Dayton, Tennessee (home of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925), and a note, in each package. I think it would be neat if we passed this book around a bit—each winner reading the book, and then mailing it to a friend with postcards from the previous owners included.  Obviously, if you win, you can do whatever you want with the book. But I suggest having some fun with it!

The contest will run for 24-hours. I’ll close the comment thread at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, April 21. 

If you don’t win, do yourself a favor and buy Love Does...or, I suppose you can wait and see if it mysteriously arrives in  your mailbox one day! :-) 

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