Cover Image: Undistracted


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Member Reviews

I love Bob Goff and his stories and this book brought that. It blows my mind how he continues to be able to share new stories with each book he writes. This was the first Bob Goff one I've listened to though and I really enjoyed hearing it in his voice.
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Bob Goff writes in such a hopeful, life-giving way that it makes you want to dream again. I’ve loved his other books for this, and Undistracted is fulfilling in the same way. Great advice, new ways of looking at things, and an engaging writing style make this a fun and impactful read!

I received this ebook free from NetGalley. My opinions are my own and given voluntarily.
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Undistracted is another breath of fresh air from Bob Goff. I spent a lot of time in seminary reading books about christian living, many of which were good but not what I would recommend to friends who were not in a similar academic context. Bob's writing has the same amount of depth as books I've read, but is absolutely accessible. His story telling is entertaining (if you have an opportunity to listen to the audiobook, he narrates it himself which makes it even better!) and his call to live a life free from distractions and centred around what is most important is articulated wonderfully. One critique may be that some of his points are supported in primarily an anecdotal way which may leave some readers wishing for more external references, but there are plenty of books that offer that. Others may find it a little disjointed, but if you approach it as less of a distinct, narrowly focused thesis, and more of a wise mentor talking broadly about a significant point, you'll be pleased.
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Bob Goff does it again. Another wonderful read… probably my second favorite after Love Does. I just want to meet Bob Goff for a cup of coffee!
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“Are you willing to do what it takes to uncover the wonder that already surrounds your life? Will you do the courageous work to identify what is distracting you from the better things? And finally, are you willing to do the difficult and selfless work of releasing the beauty you discover into the lives of others rather than keeping it for yourself?”

This book was a bit of a love bomb. Ironically, a distracted love bomb.

I read Goff’s book Everybody, Always, and contrary to popular opinion of it, I wasn’t really impressed.

I decided to give Goff another chance by reading his newest book before I heard any hype about it. A clean first impression.

And I felt about the same as when I read his other book.

In short, it just felt like a shallow, self-helpy book with dramatic anecdotes Goff wrangled into inspirational one-liners that sound great but feel a bit fluffy. Everything was all over the place and I’m not really sure it’s actually going to help anyone.

I can’t really think of a reason to read this book.

If you are feeling like you need a better philosophy on how you spend your time or use your phone, I would recommend one of these books instead:
- To Hell with the Hustle
- A Spacious Life (on my TBR)
- 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (on my TBR)

If you’re feeling like you want to be a ‘better version of yourself’ or figure out what to do with your life then there are plenty of other books that would be better than this one. Here are just a few off the top of my head:
- When Strivings Cease
- On the Road with Saint Augustine
- Sis, Take a Breath
- Just Do Something

In my review of Everybody, Always I said that maybe people should still read it. If it will help people love others better, then who am I to stand in the way, but now that I’ve seen the pattern of his books, I’m not so sure I can keep giving that counsel. I think there are better books for these things.

While reading this book I couldn’t stop thinking about this YouTube channel where these guys create videos making fun of Christian influencers. HERE is one of their videos. I think they could get some good material from Bob. He spends 3-4 pages telling this story that’s either elaborate or name-droppy and then turns it into an analogy that’s cringe or just a general stretch. Alllll of that lead-up just to say… that?

‘The other day… I was trying to eat noodles with a fork and they kept sliding between the tines and falling off… And so I have this question for you… What are the things falling between the tines of your life? If you live an undistracted life, you’ll start eating your noodles with a spoon and you won’t let important things fall away.’ (This is me trying to write like Bob Goff…)

For real though. Here are some examples from the book:

- The time he built something in shop class— which by the way his shop teacher only has 3 fingers— tells us that even if we fail (and lose fingers) we can still do our purpose.

- His VIP pass to the ‘mosh pit’ at Carrie Underwood’s concert because he’s besties with Carrie’s guitarist tells us we need to “live out our faith in the mosh pit.” We have an all-access pass to the world.

- The time he was hanging out with Jim Caveziel but didn’t know it until afterwards tells us that sometimes we “fail to recognize Jesus is in the room with us.”

- The time Keith Green wrote him a letter when he was younger tells us that we need to make someone else feel important because it’s a big deal.

- The time he took his kids in their dinghy and parked between two pirate ships having a mock battle in the bay with cannons (which is super safe and recommended) reminds us that we need to stop firing shots with our words.

- The time he pinned medals on all the soldiers in the trenches of the Middle East that were about to try to liberate Mosul from ISIS rule— also where Bob was asked to check out their secret battle plans— tells us that we need to liberate ourselves from negative things.

- The time in 2018 when the guy hit the wrong button in Hawaii and alerted the whole country to a missile attack that wasn’t happening and they hid his identity but Bob found out who he was and called him to offer him a job tells us that we need to care about people who fail.

- The time Pavlov’s dogs got eaten in the siege of Leningrad tells us that sometimes bad things happen.

- The time someone just gave him a horse that was a descendant of Secretariat tells us that sometimes heaven surprises us.

- The time Bob hung out with the son of the man who started Holiday Inn hotels tells us that we can be distracted when we think we’re too important.

He did this in Everybody, Always too. The few good points are hidden in all of this EXTRA. Are those really the best ways to get the point across? Also, what IS the point?

Here’s the thing about Bob Goff.

I’ve never met him but I would venture to guess he’s a genuine guy who truly does love people and aims to help them however he can. I don’t doubt his sincerity. I don’t believe he writes books to make money. He writes because he really wants to inspire people in positive ways. With all the schools and wells and such that he’s built, he obviously practices what he preaches in terms of serving others.

And yes, he’s a good story teller and he’s funny (when he’s not trying too hard to be funny).

However, there is something ‘off’ here that I can’t quite put my finger on. I had the same feelings in Everybody, Always.

As I looked through my notes of this book I categorized them into groups: Good, Bad, Jesus, and True?.

There were a few good things we can take away. There were some questionable statements that felt like Moralistic Therapeutic Deism or prosperity gospel. There were times where he talks about Jesus and how he died for us and is doing a great work in our lives. And there were some statements that made me go- Is that really true? (I won’t take the space to delve into that last one much)

He mentions Jesus so everything must be good right?

“I’m not saying go light on sound doctrine. I am saying if we go big on Jesus, we’ll be living out some great theology.”

We can get on the Bob Goff train because he believes in Jesus!

Well. Let’s not make rash decisions just because he hangs out at Disney Land and carries balloons everywhere.

I was surprised when he came right out and said:

“Someone asked me if I was watering down the gospel in the books I write. “Actually,” I said, “I hope so.” Here’s why. I want to write books for thirsty people. There’s a lot of people who are full of opinions but parched in their own lives because they simply aren’t thirsty anymore.”

I don’t know what he means here but it’s a bit concerning. Maybe he’s just writing a ‘seeker-friendly’ type of book that just introduces the idea of Jesus?

I’ve heard the analogy of advising not to pour an entire pitcher of water if someone is only holding a dixie cup— meaning don’t overload someone; simplify, and work your way up to a bigger cup. But that’s not changing the substance that’s going in. It’s not changing the quality, it’s changing the quantity.

But he also says this:

“If you need a starting nudge, maybe the best first step is to find what you trust the most and put wheels on it. If you are a Jesus person, what you trust might be what you find in the books and letters compiled into the Bible—words that will give you more than a lifetime of ideas for how to live a more joyful and purposeful life. If faith isn’t your thing, then find something else you can put your trust in. Who knows? Perhaps the answer will come later.”

I can respect that he doesn’t want to shove the Bible down people’s throats, but as with other self-help books I’ve read (like Brene Brown) where they just encourage people to find out ‘whatever works for them’—even though they personally trust Jesus— just rubs me the wrong way.

If Jesus is the way then why would you approve of any other way? If that’s the path of truth, of true peace, true purpose, true belonging, then tell people that! And if you don’t tell people that, then do you not believe it is?

There are a lot of self-proclaimed Christians that just want you to be nice to everyone, follow your dreams, and be better versions of yourselves. Just find your purpose, put your head down and be you. Be your authentic self. It seems confusing to be opposed to this philosophy but these ideals are found in Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and it’s void of the gospel.

Here are things Bob says in his book that fits this philosophy:

- “Give yourself a pep talk about how it’s okay to be exactly who you are.”

- “You will only be as free as you actually believe you are.”

- “People who accomplish a great deal in their lives are filled with joy and lasting ambitions; they choose a direction then take the steps and actions needed to stay the course. Be one of these people, and you will find your joy once again.”

- “You are only one generous act of availability away from being a better version of yourself.”

- “Go love people in extravagant, wildly inefficient ways by speaking words of beauty into their lives. Your words have that kind of power.”

- “We need to return to the most real versions of our faith and the most authentic versions of ourselves.”

- “You get to set the course for who you want to be.”

He runs a retreat center called The Oaks and when I searched for information about these retreats, these two statements are listed:

‘Explore what is holding you back and overcome barriers that are keeping you stuck.
Gain the confidence to turn your wishes, dreams and plans into reality.’

I’m sure he helps people, but this kind of rhetoric doesn’t resonate with me. It feels disingenuous and shallow. Just the term ‘self-help’ seems contrary to the gospel. You can’t find your purpose or joy apart from Christ, you just can’t. We were created to find purpose, joy, and meaning in worshiping him. It’s in our very design. Any other ‘solution’ is a mirage.

I also want to point out that I felt there were lots of contradictions in this book of what he was suggesting you do and what he was advising against.

One prominent example in his own life is that he wants to be unreasonably available to people. He puts his cell phone number in the back of all of his books and says he answers every call. He claims he has answered calls in the court room and speaking on stage to people.

But then later he says, “Think of phone use as cheating on your family.”

I like that he wants to be available to others but I find it hard to believe he’s honoring his family and those around him when he is taking every call. I would challenge that unreasonable availability is more of a distraction than a true purpose. And quite disrespectful to the people he’s with. He calls it cheating but he uses his phone excessively. Which is right?

What’s good?

To be fair… he does have some good thoughts. Unfortunately, he obscures them with his own illustrations, but I would be remiss if all I did was tell you the bad stuff. Here are some of the good snippets:

“Most of pride’s prisoners think they are the guards.”

“Every time a cynic hands you a dark invitation to join them on their journey, just hand it right back to them. They’re offering you a ride in a car with no tires that has been riding on the rims for years. That’s why they make so much noise and are surrounded by sparks. Take the bus. Walk if you must. Just don’t hitch a ride with cynics anymore. It’s a one-way trip to a life filled with distractions.”

“We can eliminate the distractions that have been obscuring our view of what God is doing in the world.”

“Don’t be too quick to self-identify as the victim when you are the student. Resist compiling a list of grievances and see how God has used these moments of desperation in your life to clear a path for some much needed grace.” [I was surprised to find such a counter-cultural statement, but I’m here for it. Victimhood as your identity and your excuse for not trying is not a right perspective.]

“When I tell God I want to have it all explained to me before I will obey, it makes faith sound like a negotiation—and it’s not.”

“The inevitability of a mistake doesn’t mean it is any less painful. It’s time we stopped acting like our failures somehow disqualify us from God’s love, when in reality these setbacks might lead to a keener awareness of it.”

“To live fully you need the whole truth about who you are because only truth will make you clear-eyed about where you’re going.”

“When an unreasonable amount of attention is given to a distraction, it can become an obsession.”

“What we do matters less than what we are working toward, who we’re working for, and why we are doing it.”

“It’s easy to spend so much time providing for your family that you’re no longer providing for your family. Do you get me? Don’t wait until later to connect with your families. It won’t happen. Choose your family over and over…”

In summation:

No, I would not recommend this book. I recommend the premise of the book and believe that we are living very distracted lives and some re-orientation is in order, but I don’t think Bob’s the guy to help you out.

He would make a good friend and would probably be a great choice for a dinner party guest but I don’t think this book will be effective in helping you identify problems or solutions that really matter.

It’s lacking in clarity and organization, and has some problematic philosophies he seems to promote, despite his clear belief in Jesus.

It’s easy to like a guy like Bob, but I think a lot of people have been taken in by his charms and stopped thinking critically about what he’s saying.

Really in general, my advice is to be wary of any self-help type of book. Some can be practically helpful, but real power to change your life is found in the work of the Holy Spirit. Find a gospel-oriented book. I’ve reviewed lots of them on my site.

After all that, I will leave you on a positive note. I can get behind this quote from this book:

“It doesn’t matter what the work is; it is who we become in the process of doing our work that does, and the goal is to look and act more like Jesus while we do it.”

**Received an ARC via NetGalley**
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As always, Bob Goff delights and offers a unique perspective that is quirky, easy to read and easy to love. I thoroughly enjoyed this - Bob's stories are like no one else's. Nearly unbelievable, keeping you on the edge of your seat, this was a fresh and much-needed reminder that what is worth our time, attention, love and resources is often not what is really demanding our focus these days. 3.5 stars for a delightful read and a continued desire to be friends with Bob in real life. Perhaps without the stalker, gulp.
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In the way only Bob Goff can, Undistracted strikes a balance of soul searching, storytelling, humor, optimism, and purpose. This is the perfect book for anyone struggling with mid-life or looking for a more focused perspective.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
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This was incredibly insightful and helpful to get me thinking about how I manage my life.
I received access via netgalley, but my options are wholly my own.
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This is the second book by Bob Goff I've read. His easy and dynamic style is recognizable. Goff makes a good point about missing important life moments by being distracted. Watching screens, etc. ontributes to this. When I  finished the book, I  had learned an important lesson: what am I  missing by being distracted? What do I  purposely do in order to not deal with issues that I  should resolve? 
I do feel that this book qualifies as self-help and spiritual. Taking Goff's recommendation will lead to more awareness and centering. We live in a world where attention is a commodity.
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Bob Goff has done it again… written an incredibly read-able, easily understood, powerhouse of a book. 
I always read his books and think, “surely all these stories can’t be true, they can’t have happened to one man!” but I am able to enjoy them all the same! He seems like such an incredible man, full of zest for life and wanting the same for others. I was in a bit of a mental slump the past two weeks and as such,  I needed to be reminded of these insights. This book really encouraged me.

This book reminded me about the following things that really stood out to me personally and while I am sure that many other things would stand out to others, these were my biggest takeaways:
- We need to recognize the Minefields we don’t even realize we are in, “dangerous places when we think we are safe”
- Distractions happen to all of us, but we still need to address them in our own lives. Do I have the right blinders on?
- “We all have a heart condition. It just shows itself in different ways.”
- “What are you doing to remind yourself of who you want to be?”
- No matter what, don’t be a cynic!
- “Most disagreeable people out there don’t think they are mean. They think they are right. If you are a person of faith, at some point you’ll need to decide whether you want to be right or if you want to be Jesus.” Oh, so true. 
- “What will you believe about yourself after a failure?” - such an important question. 
- He tells a story on page 62 about a woman during World War II who determinately created duct  tape to help soldiers even though she kept being turned down… “ She wanted her sons to have what they needed And refused to get off knocked off course by the person who had authority over her job but not her life.” This is the kind of boldness I also desire. … “Don’t get distracted by the safety of the familiar or by the scripts and expectations everyone else has for your life.” Yes. This. 
- I love how he described when people have an agenda for you…  “They are looking at your life through the lens of their needs not yours” (pg 78) I love how he further described our need to be available to people… “you are only one generous act of availability away from being a better version of yourself.” (Pg 79)
- We can be right or we can be Jesus. (Pg 113)
- About our failures… “grace never seems fair until you need a little.” (Pg 124) 
- “ When we make up stories to explain what we don’t understand, We create further confusion For ourselves and the people around us.” (Pg 164)

I finished the book feeling as I always do when I have read Bob’s previous books… More optimistic about the life I am living and more rooted to the things that matter. Thank you, Bob!
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I am a huge fan of Bob Goff and absolutely loved this book! Definitely add this one to your shelf. I will definitely go back and read this one again,

You live with a massive amount of distraction:

desperate headlinessmartphone scrollingan endless to-do list
Not to mention the nagging questions of your heart:

Am I making the right decision? Am I with the right person? Will my past mistakes keep me from my best future?
Through the pithy and inspiring storytelling that has endeared him to millions, New York Times bestselling author Bob Goff invites you to laugh with more gusto, dream with more confidence, and love with more intention in this disarming call to live Undistracted.

Bob’s stories are like the rumble strips on the road that make you suddenly alert to how far you have drifted from your lane. From visiting friends in San Quentin to accidentally getting into a stalker’s car at the airport to establishing Uganda’s first space program, Bob shows you the way back to an audaciously attentive life.

Your undistracted life is an adventure waiting to happen. What stories will you live with undistracted purpose and unstoppable joy?
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This is the first Bob Goff book I've read, and I got glimpses of why people love him so much.  I"m a sucker for just about any book with the word "joy" in the title, and this one carried a good message for our times.  While I enjoyed some of his writing, some of it fell a little flat for me.  But it certainly won't keep me from going back and reading more of his older books.  Many thanks to NetGalley, Mr. Goff, and Thomas Nelson for the ARC of this title.
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Bob feels like a friend, a companion in the midst of your crazy. His work is filled with humor, light, and the most wholehearted love that I’ve ever found in a Christian book. If you are feeling overwhelmed, overworked, or just plain burnt out, let me point you towards Mr. Goff. His books are a delight.
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If I could have that hypothetical dinner with any guest of my choice, I’d choose Bob Goff. He is a master storyteller, endearing, entertaining, and so much fun! In keeping with his other books, he shares his personal experiences while tucking in timeless truths. From his title, the reader is encouraged to stop stalking Jesus, burn the ships, be alert and attentive, become assured of who God has designed me to be, and answer the question, “who has my back when I’m doing the important work?” As always, Bob Goff’s books are enjoyable to read!
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3 stars, barely

Perhaps, I’m the only one who decided to read this book who didn’t know who Bob Goff is. I have re-read the description provided and did not see any reference to Scripture or God. So I was quite surprised to see the frequent story-telling with Jesus. I am not opposed to a biblical lesson, but I often thought that the story provided by Goff was a far stretch to how it related to Jesus or God.
Yes, we can all use more focussed time and not be distracted by the frivolous and inconsequential but this book was not what I was expecting. Lots of the author’s stories went on and on and were difficult for me to follow for what I can imagine was the intended lesson he was driving at. His sense of humour was often at best corny and not to my taste and some of the stories were just plain silly.
I did finish the book to the end, but I feel that my time would have been better spent.
Thank you #NetGalley for this copy for my honest review.
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Check your pockets. Bob Goff reminds us that "It’s what we put in them or keep in them that can become distractions. Regrets, resentment, hurts, and misunderstandings are all things that can become huge distractions."

This book is a lesson in how to stay focused on the prize. Bob Goff tells stories--his own and about others--of times when he became distracted and what happened. 

Bob points out that it matters less what we are doing, and more why we are doing it.

"It doesn’t matter what the work is; it is who we become in the process of doing our work that does, and the goal is to look and act more like Jesus while we do it."

If you need to pay more attention to the things that matter most to you, this book is a good place to start.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Undistracted:

"Don’t be distracted by how different you are from everyone else. Our hearts were meant to beat together, not the same."

"Boundaries are good; barriers aren’t. If you build a wall, make sure you install a door or two."

"Don’t get distracted thinking about what your next move is or whether you will be acknowledged for your efforts. Go love people in extravagant, wildly inefficient ways by speaking words of beauty into their lives. Your words have that kind of power."

"It’s been said that there are two kinds of people. Humble people and those about to be. Be humble and you won’t be distracted trying to look important."

"I used to spend my time doing things that worked. Now I’m trying to do things that last. It’s a subtle difference but an important one."

My thanks to NetGalley and Nelson Books for the review copy of this book.
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I just could not get into this book.  I have read two other books by Bob Goff, and have found that they decline in impact with each new book that comes out.  This was really disappointing.  I ended up putting this book away before completely reading it to the end, which is why I gave this book 2 stars.
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I love Bob Goff and the stories he shares. He really connects well to readers in all of his work. It's so easy to be distracted today with our phones, social media, emails, work, etc. I love how Bob writes in such a bright and positive way! He really helps you figure out your focus and priorities. I recommend this book!
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As always, Bob Goff does it again!  Undistracted is a book for anyone and everyone who feels like they have lost focus and need to refocus their life on God and all He created you to be.  What a breath of fresh air and a book that I was able to truly take the principles and message and apply to my daily life.  Will always purchase books by Goff for the well-written words with easy application steps.
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I love Bob Goff’s outlook on life and loving others. He’s so full of wisdom and joy. This book feels like you’re having a conversation with your best friend!
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