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Seth Godin has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages

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all.marketers.tell.stories

All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

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Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow

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linchpin

Linchpin

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

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meatball.sundae

Meatball Sundae

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

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Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

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poke.the.box

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.

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purple.cow

Purple Cow

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

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small.is.the.new.big

Small is the New Big

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

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survival.is.not.enough

Survival is Not Enough

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

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the.big.moo

The Big Moo

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

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the.big.red.fez

The Big Red Fez

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

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The Dip

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

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The Icarus Deception

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

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Tribes

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

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Unleashing the Ideavirus

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

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v.is.for.vulnerable

V Is For Vulnerable

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

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we.are.all.weird

We Are All Weird

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

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whatcha.gonna.do.with.that.duck

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.

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THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




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« ChangeThis, reborn | Main | More on lying politicians »

Is J. D. Salinger a Liar? Are You?

Did Holden Caulfield really have the adventures and angst the author wrote about? Of course not. There wasn't a Holden Caulfield. Catcher in the Rye is a work of fiction.

So what's the difference between fiction and a lie? Is storytelling lying?

I think the distinction we make for ourselves is that novelists don't pretend that they are telling us the truth. They don't set out to deceive because they write novels, which are clearly labeled as untrue. No evil intent, no lie.

Judging from my email and some postings on blogs here and there, it seems that some people have a trouble with the word "liar". Liar is a word that makes us angry.

When I wrote All Marketers Are Liars (Liar's Blog) I was trying to make a point about true lies.

Some (mostly those that haven't bothered to read it) think I'm telling people to lie and cheat and deceive and abandon what few ethics we've got left. Nope! I'm doing the opposite.

I start by telling you that you ARE telling a story whether you want to or not. You are a novelist, a film director, a fabulist. It's impossible to deliver the entire truth to anyone, ever, so by making choices, you're telling a story. If your blog is well-designed, that's part of your story. If your blog is ugly, that's a story too. Neither story has to do with the words. But you're still telling a story. We as marketers ought to recognize that and start acting that way--our competition sure is.

Then I say that telling a story that is inauthentic, inconsistent, hollow or filled with unstated side effects isn't just wrong, it's stupid. The best lies are true! True in the sense that you don't disappoint the listener when she discovers more facts about what you do.

Any marketer who believes that they are in the business of telling the truth about what they do is delusional. You can't. Not enough time, not enough attention, not enough money.

J.D. Salinger understood this when he wrote his novels. He didn't try to tell the truth. He tried to tell a story that resonated.

Be a true liar. Someone who knows he's in the storytelling business, someone who tells people about his ideas in terms they want to hear it. But be someone who's stories hold up under inspection.

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