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Seth Godin has written 18 bestsellers that have been translated into 35 languages

The complete list of online retailers

Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list


An intensive, 4-week online workshop designed to accelerate leaders to become change agents for the future. Designed by Seth Godin, for you.



All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing




Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow





An instant bestseller, the book that brings all of Seth's ideas together.




Meatball Sundae

Why the internet works (and doesn't) for your business. And vice versa.



Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.



Poke The Box

The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.




Purple Cow

The worldwide bestseller. Essential reading about remarkable products and services.



Small is the New Big

A long book filled with short pieces from Fast Company and the blog. Guaranteed to make you think.



Survival is Not Enough

Seth's worst seller and personal favorite. Change. How it works (and doesn't).




The Big Moo

All for charity. Includes original work from Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Promise Phelon.



The Big Red Fez

Top 5 Amazon ebestseller for a year. All about web sites that work.




The Dip

A short book about quitting and being the best in the world. It's about life, not just marketing.




The Icarus Deception

Seth's most personal book, a look at the end of the industrial economy and what happens next.





"Book of the year," a perennial bestseller about leading, connecting and creating movements.




Unleashing the Ideavirus

More than 3,000,000 copies downloaded, perhaps the most important book to read about creating ideas that spread.



V Is For Vulnerable

A short, illustrated, kids-like book that takes the last chapter of Icarus and turns it into something worth sharing.




We Are All Weird

The end of mass and how you can succeed by delighting a niche.



Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

The sequel to Small is the New Big. More than 600 pages of the best of Seth's blog.



THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin

All Marketers Are Liars Blog

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Member since 08/2003

« April 2003 | Main | June 2003 »

Blurbs and Cows

Little known fact: The guy who wrote the famous Purple Cow poem also invented the word Blurb. Even better is this little bit of reader mail.

"I have an IDEA! Whether it's worth anything is up to you. I read your book "Purple Cow" and loved it! I had also previously read the "Tipping Point" by Malcom Gladwell and thinking of these two books is where I came up with a "possible" title for your next book. I was glad to see a link to Gladwell's website on your "IdeaVirus" site leading me to think there may be some point of collaberation between the two of you. I think you should call your next book "Tipping the Purple Cow", subtitle..."Going Beyond the Pail". I'm hoping you know what cow tipping is... it's an actual pastime of bored people in Wisconsin! This is not a joke...I think it would be a great title for a follow-up book to your "Purple Cow". Let me know what you think of this idea when you have a chance.

PS we just hit #8 on the NY Times bestseller list.

Live and in person

I've been hired to do a few seminars with a company called Corp Net. You can find details on dates around the US here.

Also, don't forget the seminar in my office, June 24. Purple Cow: Workshops

The problem with "self-regulation"

Is that it's usually "no regulation."

I was at the local Modell's sporting goods store this morning, killing time before an appointment by buying some socks. As I was checking out, I saw a display of liquid-filled rubber yoyo balls on the counter.

I'm intimately familiar with the toy, since they were all the rage at the local school, then summarily banned. | Yo-yo ball banned (May 21, 2003). The ball has been banned in countries around the world, because it's just plain dumb.

I said to the clerk, "Did you know that this toy has been banned and it's very dangerous? You shouldn't sell it." She shrugged and called over the manager. The manager said (I'm not making this up), "Oh, I've heard they're dangerous, but I haven't received a recall letter." I pointed out that he could very easily put them below the counter until the letter got there. "Nope," he said, "I have to keep selling them."

An hour later, I got yet another spam (I get a lot, what a surprise). It consisted of a link, together with the line, "This is a legal adv, if you got it by mistake, please email back." (aside: never email back, because you get put on the list of suckers who read and respond to spam--then they can sell your name for more). Anyway, "Luella Crawford" knows that what she's doing isn't RIGHT. She knows she should self-regulate. But she doesn't. She doesn't because it's more important to her to make $1 than to save millions of people from having to invest five seconds each on the delete key.

In both cases, these law-abiding citizens would probably stop if they were required to.

If it's important, the community should say, "stop it." Relying on the conscience of strangers is a long shot, imho.

Does a simple form matter?

I'm going to a conference in July at The St. Regis - In order to get a room in the hotel, I've got to fill out and fax back a form.

The form is on blue paper (?), it has lots of capital letters. It has tiny little lines for including my information, it doesn't include a phone number, an email address or a way to register online. It's also a little cheesy looking.

The reason this matters is that harried consumers of all stripes (especially business to business consumers) have nothing left but tiny cues to decide if something is good or not. A piece of email might be great, or it might be spam... and it's just a few spurious characters in the subject line that set them apart. A hotel might be truly wonderful, or it might just have a really nice facade and website. A telemarketer might truly be raising money for a legitimate charity, or she might be keeping 90 cents on the dollar.

In a world filled with fraud, the little cues are suddenly the most important ones. Design matters a lot. Design, amazingly, is pretty cheap. For $100, this form could have been amazing. It would have cost them perhaps a penny a reservation over the next year, and it would have communicated an awful lot about the hotel.

True Story

I've seen autographed copies of my books on eBay--and they sell for LESS than unautographed copies...

However, if you persist in wanting me to sign a copy for you, Jack Covert has roped me into providing a bunch. You can find them here: - Purple Cow - Autographed Copy

Maybe you should change your name

Okay, so 55% of searches are done with Google. And most people no longer use the phone book.

The bad news is that just about everyone is quite bad at searching (did you know that one of the 100 most popular searches at Yahoo is "Yahoo"?)

What this means is that when you launch a product, people are going to go to google, type in its name and expect to find it. What it also means is that when people want to find YOU they're going to go to google and try to find you.

Apple, who should know better, recently launched Keynote a worthy replacement for Powerpoint. But just try to find information on it in google. If you type in "keynote", you get a mess. If you type in "Apple keynote" you get tons of articles about Steve Jobs.

Owning a great domain is no longer the game. The way to win is to have a unique name, one that shows up early and often when someone searches for you.

Thanks, mom, for not naming me Scott.

Price War!

After Purple Cow became a NY Times bestseller, the competition among booksellers really started heating up. Jack Covert at CEO READ is on a mission to spread the word, so he's now a buck cheaper than Amazon. Plus he's offering a money back guarantee. - Purple Cow.

Moooo York Times!

The New York Times (yes, the New York Times) just put Purple Cow on their bestseller list!

#13 on the coveted how to and miscellaneous hardcover list.

Wow. Gives me chills. Thanks for the support.

Half sold out

I'm having a reprise of the supersuccessful all day Purple Cow workshop we did in my office last month. June 24th is the date, at my loft outside of NYC. You can find details here. Not sure when the one after this one will be...

Just what I was thinking! - Chief Justice Rehnquist: What a doll It's that weird bittersweet feeling when someone validates a great idea that was itching in the back of your head... and runs with it. For the right audience, it's pretty purple.

A reading list

I'm flattered when I get mail asking me for a list of helpful books. I keep losing my list, so I decided to post it here for all time. Rather than giving you a bunch of pithy commentary, I'll include Amazon links for everything and you can read what others think of each title. Books: Crossing the Chasm This is a key component in my Purple Cow thinking, but with a twist. I'm not as worried about the chasm as I am about the desire of marketers to go for the big middle. Books: Selling the Dream Guy has written several irrestible books, but this is a great place to start. It's all about starting the virus. Books: The Influentials: One American in Ten Tells the Other Nine How to Vote, Where to Eat, and What to Buy This book exhaustively looks at one very influential group of early adopters. This may not be YOUR group, but the thinking applies to every hive I can think of. Books: The Pursuit of Wow! Tom Peters at his best--the book that will push you to do the safe (risky) thing you must do to make your products remarkable. Books: My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising: Two Works (Advertising Age Classics Library) Very old, very good. If you're doing any advertising, you have a professional obligation to read this. Books: The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo, America's Leading Design Firm I don't know if you can teach this kind of creativity, but you can certainly raise your expectations by seeing how well they do design.

THE REPUBLIC OF TEA. Out of print, but findable at abebooks and other spots, this is a book about an entrepreneur getting his head around the otaku of his audience. Books: Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works, Second Edition This book helped me see design differently. Good design costs just as much as bad design, but it breaks through all sorts of clutter. Books: Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing the Sale The biggest challenge most executives face is selling their ideas, not their products. And selling internally is a lot like selling in the street. This is the best book I've ever read about selling anything at all... Books: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Malcolm Gladwell's breakthrough insight was to focus on the micro-relationships between individuals, which helped organizations realize that it's not about the big ads and the huge charity balls... it's about setting the stage for the buzz to start. Books: Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia This book outlines the reasons why many efforts to jumpstart third-world economies fail. It's not just peasants, though. Many of your prospects feel precisely the same way. Books: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind This book is built around the brilliant insight that your prospect doesn't care nearly as much about what you do as you do, and thus you must boil down your offering into a unique slot that repositions the competition. Books: The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better I wrote this short book to drive home a few basic points about how bad most corporate websites are. Books: Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends, and Friends into Customers This is a key next step in spreading your idea--what do you do once people discover it? The answer: get permission to follow up. That makes it much easiser to launch your next idea. Books: Unleashing the Ideavirus You can find this book for free at (click on "get it") but the book version is handier to read on the beach.

Finding your own otaku

My token Matrix riff:
"They're not trying to figure out what the audience wants, they're just trying to make the thing that they want, that they wish other people would make. This is the movie they wanna go see."

That's one of the Matrix CG guys talking about the Wachowski brothers. The reason they are so able to reach the early adopters in their hive is that they ARE that hive. They don't do focus groups--they make stuff they love, and fortunately for them, there are a lot of sneezers with otaku who are just like they are.

An ad that's remarkable

At least as much because of the way they made it. Honda spent $5 mm they say on this ad forHonda's New Accord. If they had done an ad like this for a Yugo, of course, it wouldn't have generated the huge ideavirus this one did.

Time to start milking the cow (part 2)

Simon from the UK writes to me about the change in marketing and product development for the Smart car, a remarkable Cow that’s making a big splash in Europe. It’s a truly tiny car, one that has influenced a whole generation of cars.

Apparently, Simon writes, Mercedes is going to average the car out, making it more appealing to the masses. He and I agree that it’s way too early for that. There are plenty of average cars to choose from—it’s not clear why consumers will choose the newly average Smart ahead of lots of other, more proven average cars.

Remarkable is where you find it

Another JetBlue thought: Have you noticed how the audio experience changes the way you feel at the airport?

In a crowded terminal, when the folks making gate announcements start yelling or talking fast or acting panicked about a full flight, it makes everybody uptight. Even the little computerized voice that tells you which gate agent to talk to sounds a little annoyed.

What if the airlines realized that the product that they sell isn’t the plane, it’s the idea of a safe and comfortable (maybe even fun) trip. What if every announcement was pre-recorded by Clint Eastwood or J. Lo? Or if all the flight announcements were as funny as the one I heard today (your snacks are being handed out by Tom, who’s single and looking for love. Hey, if you marry him, you can fly free!) Even simpler, what if every announcement was calm, slow and easy to understand? That’s free, but it’s worth noticing.

Dutch Boy reinvented the paint can. JetBlue could reinvent what you hear when you travel.

Time to stop milking the cow?

Jet Blue, part 2: I wrote a lot of nice things about Jet Blue in Purple Cow. The idea of combining remarkable pricing with great planes, amazing people, an amazing attitude and a sense of humor is something that is irresistibly spreadable.

Today, I flew Jet Blue to Florida to give a talk. The good news (for them) is that the plane was full. The bad news is that everywhere I looked, there was a lot of cow milking going on.

The person who issued me my ticket shook her head and said, “no way I can get you an exit row an hour before the flight.” Of course, she was right, but in the old days, they would have said, “I’ll do my best!” Same outcome, but a different attitude matters so much.

Walking down the jetway, I heard two flight attendants whining about uniform allocations, just like you might hear on a ‘real’ airline.

Jet Blue is flying more people and more flights than ever. They have every temptation to milk the cow while the milking is good. But I wonder if they’re rushing it.

The For-Charity Version...

of 99 Cows is now available at It costs $9.99 (no surprise) and all my proceeds go to Thanks for reading!

Free! Disembodied voices.

It's a live webcast about Purple Cow. | Seth Godin sign-up will take you there.

It's Wednesday, May 21 at 12 pm EST. It's on behalf of Genesys, a conferencing company.

A Nike Insight (the Cow again)

Cool News, my new favorite newsletter, writes today:
WHAT NIKE KNOWS. How the product looks, how expensive it is and where it is sold mean more than celebrity endorsements or mass-market distribution as far as Nike is concerned, reports Maureen Tkacik in The Wall Street Journal. Those relatively recent insights have helped Nike introduce "some of its best selling shoes in years" in recent months. It's also an outlook far different from Nike's early days, circa 1975, when Nike craved the mass-market but buyers for the Foot Locker chain resisted Nike's line, dismissing it as "unbranded" footwear.

Find out more about Cool News at reveries

The Death of TV (cont'd.)

Today's New York Times reports that tonight at 8 pm, NBC is broadcasting (I'm not making this up), "The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments 5". I'm not sure what's more astonishing--that this this is prime time fare, or that there are really 5 hours of this stuff.

Tonight's hysterical episode even features the legendary Cathy Lee Crosby poking a contestant in order to get her to guess the word "stab." Outrageous!

The event of the season!

I've managed to get some seats set aside for the upcoming: Fast Company | RealTime Miami. Sometimes it seems that all I do is go to conferences of one sort or another, but Fast Company RealTimes are an entirely different sort of event.

You will actually meet people. You will actually learn something. You will be surrounded by Purple Cows. You will come away energized and motivated and networked and connected and ready to push your company to places it wouldn't go before.

Click on the link above and check it out. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

Manual as marketing tool

I just got a Polar USA heartrate watch. This thing is supposed to let me track my heart as I exercise. It's clearly a remarkable product in that it changes the way you think about something you do for half an hour a day. But, alas, it's having a lot of trouble getting out of a small subset of the world of people who actually exercise. Why?

Well, maybe this quotation from the astonishingly poor manual gives you a clue, "While using an exercise set, you can see all the same information as in the BasicUse mode." Or how about, "Exe. Time->RecoHR/Reco Time->Tot. Time->Limits1->InZone/Above/Below 1..." (all punctuation is recorded as written).

I'm ashamed that I can't understand how to use this product. So ashamed, I won't mention it to my friends, nor will I evangelize it to others.

What could Polar do? How about a totally obvious quick start mode that turns off 90% of the features and just makes it work!

The power of a hit

One thing I didn't write about that much in my latest book is the phenomenon that allows a new product to cross the chasm and reach the vast majority that are so busy ignoring you.

It's the hit effect.

When all the early adopters at radio stations start playing a Norah Jones song, it becomes a hit. Billboard magazine charts it. It spreads. First to radio stations that only play what's on the list, then to consumers who only buy what's on the list.

When all the early adopters in silicon valley start carrying a Blackberry pager, it becomes a hit. They feature it at Fry's. It spreads. First to the friends of the geeks, then to people who buy what nerds buy.

The middle of the market wants to be safe. They want to buy what others are buying, read what others are reading. And scorekeepers--like bestseller lists and cash register displays--are the barometer they use to determine whether a new idea is safe yet.

Tivo's challenge, for example, is that Tivo is essentially a private device. There's no obvious list it could be on. No retailer it can dominate. As a result, it takes far longer for it to jump over to the middle of the market.

One lesson here is to try to create products that have obvious lists. The second is to figure out how to work with early adopters in a focused, coordinated way to get on that list.


This is probably my last post in a while about Purple Cow (the book), since it's no longer new--it's a day old. But I wanted to say thank you to all the terrific people who have been sending in the great email and (yay) buying the book. #52 and climbing!

The takeaway for marketers here is simple: Purple Cow didn't hit #52 in 24 hours because of what's in the book (though it won't work if the product is lousy). It succeeded because I've been building an asset for several years. People who get anticipated, personal and relevant notes from me a few times a year. They (you) wanted to hear about my new book, and took action when they did.

Business is never static

In my new eBook 99 Cows, I talk about Pallotta TeamWorks. Though their site is still active, it turns out the company is not. Charity events organizer closes doors . Sorry about any confusion! Also, please note that in Purple Cow I talk about a hit song in Europe about Ketchup. Well, it's not ABOUT Ketchup, it's by a group called Ketchup, which named themselves after the father of one of the singers, nicknamed, of course, Tomato. The song, like most pop songs, is apparently about not much.

Also, if you're looking for Replacements, Ltd., which is mentioned in the new 99 Cows eBook, you can find it here.

Free First Week Bonus

This is my new eBook. It's 120 pages long, with a link on every page and plenty of examples of Purple Cows. It sells for $10 on Amazon, beginning Friday. It's the reason my blog's been a little thin lately.

The eBook has been showing up on various blogs. You can find it here.

Thanks for reading.

Can Cows Blush?

Authors can. Thanks so much to Jack Covert for this great review of Purple Cow. He's now selling it with a money-back guarantee if you don't like it.

Countdown and update

In six days, Purple Cow comes out in hardcover. It's been a whirl of activity here at Cow headquarters--the book has been hovering in the 500s on the bestseller list, and we haven't even shipped yet.

The nominations for the 99 Cows eBook (which also comes out in six days) are now officially closed. The submissions were terrific. Thanks. I'll notify everyone who submitted next week about the status of the book.

The seminar in my office (also in six days [yikes]) is sold out. It promises to be a lot of fun. I'll post the date for the next one after I have a nervous breakdown.

See below for info about getting a free book from BzzAgent or hearing me online.

It works. It's fun. It's yellow (and black).

The talented people at BzzAgent are working hard to bzz the new Purple Cow book. As I've mentioned before, this is a secret organization that creates organized word of mouth with an army of volunteers.

If you click on the BzzAgent: Purple Cow Campaign and they accept you, you get a free copy of the hardcover book, a very cool packet of stuff (it blew me away) and a chance to earn unique awards.

They've got thousands of agents around the country, and at my request, BzzAgent is holding 100 more slots for Purple Cow fans to join them. Not much time, though.

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