Posts Tagged ‘linchpin’

Book Review: “Linchpin” Our Needed Wake-up Call

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Way back in December 2009, Seth Godin offered his blog readers a chance to get an advance copy of his new book, Linchpin. The first 3,000 folks who were willing to donate at least $30 to one of his favorite causes, the Acumen Fund, received a book. I jumped at the chance to do so, both because I enjoy Seth’s books and I wanted to participate in this novel form of meaningful book marketing.

Godin’s plan was to get a flood of positive reviews and word of mouth in time for Linchpin to hit bookstore shelves. He even followed up a few weeks later by sending an additional book to people who accepted the original offer. I’m a little more than a year late to the party with my own blog review of the book, but I would be doing my readers a disservice by ignoring the positive impact of reading Linchpin—and I hope Seth benefits from new long-tail sales.

Simply put, Linchpin is a motivational tool for businesspeople who are seeking a new path and need a loving kick in the pants. For years Seth Godin has given us books to help us think about marketing and business positioning in a different, evolved way. But this time he sets his sights on providing individuals with the mentality they need to become “linchpins” in whatever they do. Here are a few of the key points that I underlined in my copy of the book:

  • The “factory contract” of the economy is going away; we can no longer expect to plug into a job, follow the rules, and be taken care of. The future will belong to artists who create something original, interesting, and meaningful. “…History is now being written by the artists while the factory workers struggle. The future belongs to chefs, not to cooks or bottle washers.” “Art” can mean whatever you uniquely bring to the world—a skill, knowledge, experience. It can come to life in a painting, a business idea, or a blog like this one.
  • Education is ripe for an overhaul. “The launch of universal (public and free) education was a profound change in the way our society works…. We trained millions of factory workers.” We need to transform education to teach children two things: (1) Solve interesting problems; and (2) Lead.
  • We must think differently in how we look at success in the workplace or hunt for jobs. “The problem with meeting expectations is that it’s not remarkable…. A resume gives the employer everything she needs to reject you…. Having a resume begs for you to go into that big machine that looks for relevant keywords, and begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine.” It is your visible results that matter in today’s economy: “Projects are the new resumes.”
  • “Real artists ship.” (‘Nuff said.)
  • We must continually learn about the world and ourselves, and have strong opinions but be ready to shift them. “It’s not an accident that successful people read more books.
  • “One of the fascinating aspects of business and organized movements is that there’s some correlation between the passion and effort that people bring to a project and the outcome…. In great organizations, there’s a sense of mission.”
  • A new model for success is to create valuable art and share it broadly (especially thanks to the power of the Net), and if helps others they will repay you in many ways.

Even if everything here seems that it has been said somewhere before, it’s worth the time to read Linchpin. I know you will find something that inspires you, gets you out of bed in the morning, or refocuses your best efforts. I personally was most moved by Godin’s ability to distill the work I have done around the concept of Marketing with Meaning for nearly three years. It is my passion to help others succeed, and by giving  knowledge and assistance away as much as possible, I have benefited from seeing our company enjoy better business results—but I also get the pleasure of hearing how a blog post, book chapter, keynote speech, or email with advice has helped others.

Sometimes it is difficult to trust that “giving the gift of your art” will allow you to continue to grow your business and yourself. I thank Seth Godin for giving us the manifesto we need to keep creating a new and better future of work.

Seth Godin Again Defines Book Marketing with Meaning

Monday, December 7th, 2009


I’ve been a Seth Godin fan long before he was kind enough to endorse my book. In fact, the first and best innovative marketing book I can remember reading was his Permission Marketing, a little more than 10 years ago. Not only is Godin an inspirational author, but his choices in marketing his books have been quite remarkable. Examples include the limited-edition copies of Purple Cow that were sold in actual milk boxes (I’ve got one), and his recent limited-membership community to support the launch of Tribes. In the three years from concept to shelf for my own book, I often went back to an old blog post he wrote about book publishing and marketing. Godin inspired me to practice innovative marketing that I was preaching in my book, and he’s got another new trick up his sleeve with the launch of his newest book, Linchpin.

Godin announced on his blog that he would provide an advance copy of Linchpin to the first 3,000 people who contributed at least $30 to the Acumen Fund, which is “a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty.” I immediately made my donation for a chance to be one of the first to purchase a book that I knew I would pay about $30 for anyway. And it didn’t surprise me at all that the 3,000 copies were snapped up in just 48 hours. That generated $108,000 for the Acumen Fund. Wow!

It might seem odd for Godin to give up the first 3,000 in book sales and cover the cost of the book printing and shipping himself on top of it. But the reality is that after many successful books, Godin fully understands that the best way to sell a lot of books is to get a lot of books in the hands of people who are likely to spread the word of mouth. Books are nothing but ideas, and ideas have to spread from person to person.

One of the things I think about when giving away copies of my book is that one reader has the potential to create five to 10 readers. This comes from people reading on planes, keeping the book out on their desks, giving a copy to friends—and I haven’t even mentioned tools such as Twitter and Facebook where people love to share what they’ve read recently. That’s why I go out of my way to personally hand copies to friends and clients, and why I offered early advance copies to members of our Marketing with Meaning community. We’re also working our way down the Ad Age Power 150 list of marketing blogs, offering a free copy to people in hopes of getting reviews.

Not only do free, advance copies help get the word of mouth going, but the people who receive them often feel like special insiders that are, in a way, part of the book itself. Godin’s tie to a worthy charity makes the marketing even more meaningful, and helps ensure that his book-marketing effort doesn’t just feel like an obvious grab for more money.

It’s a lot harder and more complicated for marketing like this. Most books might get a few copies to overwhelmed editors and maybe a print ad in BusinessWeek. But in a world where lots of authors are competing to spread their ideas, Godin shows how to win by giving.