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ISBN 9781591842330 Published Oct. 2008
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Posted Jan. 15, 2010 7:08 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Seth Godin has a high opinion of you. In his last book, Tribes, he told you that “We need you to lead us.” In his new offering, Linchpin, he asks, “Are you indispensable?” and fully expects that you can be.
In the past, it was safe and even profitable to be a “cog” in the machine. Today, to obtain any kind of security, to truly be valuable, you must try to become a “linchpin.” A linchpin is someone you can’t run the machine without. Though becoming indispensible is not easy, Godin explains why it’s necessary. He traces where our indoctrination into mediocrity comes from, and shows us how to break free of it… however uncomfortable that may be. Godin is ultimately trying to help you reverse that indoctrination and discover the artist you inherently are. If we can do that, we can begin “standing out” in our work rather than “sticking it out” at a job.
The business book genre is changing, allowing a space for titles that change not only the way we look at the workplace, but at the world. In Linchpin, Godin writes early on: “This book is about love and art and change and fear.” It’s an odd thing to read in a business book, but it fits. We spend most of our lives at work in some way or another, and accepting the reality Godin sees (full of opportunity as it may be) can be daunting. He’s asking us to abandon a way of thinking about ourselves, and the “factory model” of work that we were raised in.
It seems that some business authors have come to an epiphany that how we all go to work is how we build our society, that the building blocks of business are placed on the foundation of something larger. Here we have Godin telling us we need to abandon the factory model and mindset. Last year Douglas Rushkoff challenged the corporate model we define our very lives with in Life, Inc. The useful “nuts and bolts” business books that helps us focus on a specific problem at work aren’t going away, but there are more books than ever addressing the larger problem of work, and Seth Godin’s Linchpin is an important and delightful one. Oh, and did I mention it is filled with illustrations from Jessica Hagy and Hugh MacLeod? Great stuff.
Jack Covert Selects - Tribes
Posted Nov. 13, 2008 7:06 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin, Portfolio, 151 pages, $19.95, Hardcover, October 2008, ISBN 9781591842330
"We Need You To Lead Us." The call to action is clear and powerful, exactly what you would expect from marketer Seth Godin. But when is the last time a book's subtitle expected so much from you? Most business books are created to sell you something, some way you'll be improved or bettered. Think about how that simple statement turns all of the reader's expectations around.
In Tribes, Seth expands on his previous mantra: now, not only are we all marketers, but we are also now leaders. He says there are existing guilds, legions and platoons of people just waiting for someone to step forward, though fear will deter many from the call. "Fear of change is built into most organisms, because change is the first sign of risk." The irony is that change is exactly what tribes wants, but they need fearless crusaders leading the way.
There are differences between tribes and groups. Tribes are about connections and the communication that runs sideways between those connections. The members of a tribe share a vision and tell a story about who they are. And they do something, whether trading baseball cards or protesting a war. If any of the three conditions are lacking, the tribe becomes merely a group.
"What Do You Have to Lose?" Seth asks in one of his final riffs. He refers to Brad Garlinghouse and his Peanut Butter Memo, a missive imploring his bosses at Yahoo to change the direction of the company. His memo got leaked and ended up on the front page of The Wall Street Journal (imagine Brad's next week in Sunnyvale). That risk led to the firing of a CEO and Brad to a bigger role at Yahoo. Many people may find that kind of move too risky. But was it really a risk? Silicon Valley is full of companies looking for heretics like Brad. What Brad saw a tribe that needed leading.
I have reviewed every book Seth has written since I started this column in 2000. In Tribes, Seth certainly delivers his most important book since Purple Cow and quite possibly his most important book yet. It is time to look at Seth as more than a marketer. He too is a leader of tribes.