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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

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

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

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

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

Tribes

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

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unleashing.the.ideavirus

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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« In the mood | Main | Don't get sued »

Beauty as a signaling strategy

What's beauty? You know it when you see it, sure, but what is it? It turns out that beauty is an important evolutionary byproduct.

An organism needs to invest energy in being beautiful. You won't see healthy skin on a sick animal, because maintaining a healthy coat is too 'expensive'. A sick peacock isn't as spectacular as a healthy one. Or a genetically damaged chimp isn't going to have as symmetrical a face. As a result, most creatures evolved their definitions of beauty in a mate to match the displays of healthy creatures.

Human beings have adopted this signaling strategy with a vengeance. I know a woman who is going to spend more than $9,000 having her hair styled in 2009 (hey, that's less than $200 a week). Entire industries are based on human beings spending time and money in order to manufacture temporary physical beauty.

Businesses build lobbies that they rarely use, giant atriums with big windows and lots of empty space. It's a waste, it's expensive and it's beautiful. It's beautiful because it's expensive.

Stop for a minute and think about the relationship between expense and beauty.

Do you make something beautiful? It could be the way you write hand written letters or leave a little extra on the product, even if maybe it's not so efficient. Sometimes efficiency is beautiful, but only when it took a lot of extra effort to get there. Ordinary products are almost never beautiful. Austere products might be, but only when real effort is expended to make them that way.

Even the most hard-hearted people are suckers for beauty. We treat people and products differently when we think they're beautiful. The reason people and organizations have invested so much in beauty over the years is that beauty pays off.

A website that doesn't cram ads into every single nook and cranny is more beautiful... it's also more expensive to run in the short run. A salesperson who doesn't squeeze you for every penny is more confident, earning more of your trust--that's beautiful.

When everyone has it, it ceases to be beautiful. (Babies are beautiful because time takes their babyhood away so quickly... it's a guaranteed temporary effect). Beauty is a signal, not just a physical state.

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» Quick Takes: On Beauty from Leading Questions
Seth Godin's post this morning - Beauty as a signaling strategy - resonates deeply with me. He writes,What's beauty? You know it when you see it, sure, but what is it? It turns out that beauty is an important evolutionary... [Read More]

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