Bob Buford 1939 to 2018
Those who loved him, admired him,
worshiped alongside him and learned
from him knew — He Finished Well.

BOB BUFORD is known for being the voice of a generation, a prolific author, speaker, and philanthropist whose immense and widespread contribution to business leadership, personal transformation, and the growth of the modern church cannot be measured. Bob’s book Halftime began a movement of an entire generation of successful business professionals transitioning to a LIFE OF EVEN GREATER SIGNIFICANCE…

As for me, I have decided that just about all that will be left of me when I leave this earth is what I can let go of to invest in the lives of others. The fruit of my life and my work will grow on other people’s trees.

Bob’s Early Years and Personal Life

Bob Buford was born in 1939, the firstborn of Pat and Lucille Buford. He was born in Okulgee, Oklahoma, where he spent many of his childhood years. After the birth of his twin brothers, Geoffrey (Jeff) and Gerald (Jerry) the family moved to Texas, where Bob spent most of his life. Bob enjoyed backyard Bible stories with his family and played high school football.

Bob married the love of his life, Linda in 1961 and they had one son, Ross Buford.

Bob’s mother, Lucille Buford, founded their family business, Buford Television, Inc., but her untimely death (when Bob was just thirty-two years old) came as quite a shock and an adjustment for the family and the business. Bob says of that time, “As a young man, the full weight of managing a family business had descended on my shoulders in my early thirties… My objective, starting from a small base, was to outgrow in percentage terms all the public companies in this business.” And he did! Bob recalls, “Beginning in 1971, the year of my mother’s death, our company’s market value grew 25 percent annually for a dozen years – very heady times for a young CEO.” 

“When I think about heaven, that’s where I’m going…that’s where Ross is, that’s where my mom is…so many wonderful people…And it is going to be fabulous. We will be together for all of eternity.”

The Halftime Institute

In 1980 Bob Buford was serving as the Chairman and CEO of Buford Television, Inc., a successful, thriving cable television business in Tyler, Texas. He was 41 years old and had not only achieved but had exceeded the personal and financial goals he had set for himself. And then…Bob felt God calling him to something different.

As Bob has always done when facing tough business decisions, he began asking advice from close friends and advisors. Bob went to see Mike Kami, a strategic business consultant. Mike asked Bob one simple question, “What’s in the box?” He explained that before he could help Bob set the course for the second half of his life, Mike needed to know what was absolutely the most important thing in Bob’s life. He asked Bob to draw a box on a piece of paper. “I’ve been listening to you for two hours, and I can’t help you unless you put one thing in the box. It is either money or Jesus Christ.” One symbol, one passion – Bob had to choose. When Bob placed that little cross in the middle of the box, he felt he was saying to God, “I’m yours. From now on, nothing will be as important to me as You.” That decision launched Bob into his parallel career.

In 1995, Buford wrote Halftime, a best-selling book that came out of his mind and heart on how to find fulfillment in the second half of life.

We are wired for purposeful human engagement and contribution, and without it, we wither.”

Leadership Network: Equipping Churches for 21st Century Leadership

In 1984 Bob Buford founded  Leadership Network, which equips, connects, and resources leaders of innovative churches to even greater Kingdom effectiveness. Bob knew that the emerging new paradigm of the 21st century church called for the development of new tools and resources as well as the equipping of a new type of 21st century church leader, both clergy and laity. Leadership Network serves the leadership teams of large churches, as well as leaders in the areas of lay mobilization, denominational leadership at the middle and regional judicatory level and the next generation of emerging young leaders.

I have a vision to transform the latent energy in American Christianity into active energy.”

Bob’s Ongoing Influence

Bob Buford influenced the culture of the organizations he founded until his dying day. His favorite question, “What can we do to be more useful to you?” remains an oft-asked question and one reason why both the Halftime Institute and Leadership Network are still growing after all these years.

Bob was an incredibly devoted and focused philanthropist, investing all his philanthropic support in his vision of “transforming the latent energy of American Christianity into active energy.” He invested in Leadership Network to mobilize innovative church leadership toward this end, and he invested in the Halftime Institute to transform and mobilize individual Christian leaders to impact the Kingdom. Bob’s desire was never to completely fund the Halftime Institute or Leadership Network, rather his investments in these organizations served as the seed capital to build the two thriving nonprofit organizations. Bob gave generously and sacrificially, holding nothing back, desiring that his “last check would bounce.” His example of humble, focused, and sacrificial giving is an example to all. To invest in the Halftime Institute and extend Bob’s legacy, click here.

Lloyd Reeb, a mentee of Bob Buford and the Halftime Institute’s Primary Spokesperson, shares, “Bob Buford took his business expertise, innovative thinking and entrepreneurial talent to address two of the most leveraged opportunities in our culture for real transformation.

“The essential ingredient for success is a steady stream of innovation.”

Bob’s Books and Publications
Halftime: From Success to Significance (20th Anniversary Edition) – Click here to purchase on Amazon.com 

Are you ready to move into the second half of your life? Bob Buford believes the second half of your life can be better than the first. Much better. But first, you need time to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. In Halftime, Buford focuses on this important time of transition—the time when, as he says, a person moves beyond the first half of the game of life. It’s halftime, a time of revitalization and for catching a new vision for living the second half, the half where life can be lived at its most rewarding.

Finishing Well – Click here to purchase on Amazon.com 

Bob Buford called them “code breakers.” They are people age 40 and older who have pioneered the art of finishing well in these modern times, and who can teach us to do the same, starting today. Buford sought out 60 of these trailblazers―including Peter Drucker, Roger Staubach, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard, and Dallas Willard―and has recorded their lively conversations in these pages so that they can serve as “mentors in print” for all of us.

Drucker & MeClick here to purchase on Amazon.com 

The inspiring true story of two giants who would change the world. In the tradition of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Last Lecture, this is the inspiring true story of two men who decided to make a significant difference—and did. As Bob Buford and Peter Drucker discovered, when people share a common and compelling vision, anything can happen.

Beyond HalftimeClick here to purchase on Amazon.com

“This book is the result of fifteen years of answering questions about halftime,” writes Buford. “I’ve focused on the areas that seem to come up most from those who contact me, and I’ve answered them in much the same way I would answer you if we sat down together over coffee. So in a very real sense, this book allows me to be your companion as you negotiate the ups and downs of the whole halftime experience.” Beyond Halftime invites you to slow down and take time to listen—really listen—to the voice of your heart and the rhythms of your life. The discoveries you’re about to make during this vital phase of your life can’t be rushed. Enjoy this wise guidance on the things that matter most in moving from gaining success to leaving a legacy. Your most rewarding years lie ahead of you.

Game Plan – Click here to purchase on Amazon.com

In Game Plan, Buford gives you a practical way to move from success to significance and create an individual strategy that can get you where you want to be five . . . ten . . . twenty . . . thirty . . . or more years from now. If you sense it’s time for a positive change in your life, Game Plan gives you the tools to uncover your best self, aim for your highest dreams, and make your career and personal life more meaningful and fulfilling than ever.

Stuck In HalftimeClick here to purchase on Amazon.com

Stuck in Halftime coaches readers how to get past the barriers that stand in their way to maturity and fulfillment. It outlines eight “myths of halftime” and explains the new set of rules for this second half of life’s journey. Combining practical guidance with personal stories of people who have become “unstuck,” Stuck in Halftime renews the vision and determination of those who heard the “still, small voice of God” calling them to a life of significance.

Word’s of Wisdom from Bob



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My relationship with Bob evolved from stranger to icon to boss to mentor to friend. After being inspired by his book and attending Halftime Institute, I joined Bob and the rest of the team to continue the movement globally. One of the most impressive things about Bob is how he empowered others. Bob gave me and others opportunities that he knew would challenge us, invigorate us, and help us grow. Heck, he encouraged me when I was only 40 to lead men and women 15 years my senior and vastly more successful than I was. He believed in me and wanted the best for me. He also believed in my book and supported me emotionally and financially to launch it. I’ll be forever grateful. I’ll miss you, Bob. Thanks for sharing your life and wisdom with me.

I had the privilege of interviewing Bob 20 years ago for my first book, God is my CEO. I remember Bob sharing a quote from George Bernard Shaw "Life is no brief candle to me. It's sort of splendid torch which I've got for the moment and I want to burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." I, like countless second-half leaders have been inspired to see our work from an eternal perspective. Thanks Bob for lighting the way for so many!

One day at the Halftime Institute offices in Dallas while grappling with a mission statement, Bob came alongside me and in his amazing way clarified my thinking and encouraged me while also pointing out the risks associated. He was such an gracious man.

Bob's book, Halftime, was one of the key factors in motivating me to do something that made a difference. After attending a Halftime Institute, and with the encouragement of several other halftimers who've gone before me, I was moved to start Both Hands Foundation. We help families raise money for adoptions by doing a service project for widows. I don't know if there is a downline in heaven, but if there is, Bob's includes 916 kids who are no longer orphans and 872 widows who've been blessed by a Both Hands Project. Well done good and faithful servant!

The ways Bob Buford has impacted my life are too numerous to count. One of my favorite memories is when Bob would call me on Saturday morning to “talk my confusion out loud.” We would talk for a while, the whole time I'm wondering what I had to offer Bob Buford. Then he would end the call by saying… "you remember the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, ‘well, you just keep thinking, Butch, that’s what you’re good at.’” In light of Bob being in the presence of Jesus, I’ll just use Bob’s words, “yay God.”

From the moment I met Bob in 2012 as a client at the Halftime Institute, I was amazed at his wisdom, calm presence and insight. His questions he asked me and other participants were so penetrating and somehow were able to move past all the fluff and simply get to the main issue. Truly a skill I would love to emulate! As I came on staff in 2014, I was able to experience first-hand Bob’s gracious transition from founder to Board Member and Chief Encourager. He was so excited to empower Dean and his team so that the impact of Halftime would long outlast his own life. Not every founder can do that with such grace and intentionality, but Bob did and did it well. I’ve been amazed to see Bob’s impact every day in so many different ways.