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SETH'S BOOKS

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

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Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list

all.marketers.tell.stories

All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

free.prize.inside

Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

linchpin

Linchpin

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

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

meatball.sundae

Meatball Sundae

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

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

permission.marketing

Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

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.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

purple.cow

Purple Cow

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

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IN STORES:

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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IN STORES:

survival.is.not.enough

Survival is Not Enough

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

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

the.big.moo

The Big Moo

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

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IN STORES:

the.big.red.fez

The Big Red Fez

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

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

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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IN STORES:

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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IN STORES:

tribes

Tribes

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

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

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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IN STORES:

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.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

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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IN STORES:

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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« December 2009 | Main | February 2010 »

Making art

My definition of art contains three elements:

  1. Art is made by a human being.
  2. Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
  3. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording... but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.
By my definition, most art has nothing to do with oil paint or marble. Art is what we're doing when we do our best work.

The ubiquity of competition

Sure, there are playoffs in football, but competition is everywhere, we just forget to notice it.

There are three hundred photographers looking for work in a particular specialty. One puts a creative commons license on his shots in Flickr and they start showing up in many places, from presentations to brochures. Which of the 300 photographers has won the competition for attention? Which one of the three hundred has shared his ideas enough to be noticed?

There are twenty towns you can choose for your family's new home. One invests in its schools, has a focus on inquiry, AP courses and community, while the others are muddling through, arguing about their future. Which one commands a higher premium for its houses?

There are a hundred new kinds of snacks and energy bars at the checkout of the supermarket. One is a little bigger, a little more exciting and a little closer to eye level. Which one of the hundred wins the battle for your impulse buy?

There are fifty people applying for a job. Forty nine have great credentials and beautifully standard layouts on their resumes. One resume was hand delivered to the CEO by his best friend, together with a glowing recommendation about a project the applicant did for the friend's non-profit.  Who gets the interview?

There are ten great jobs for the superstar programmer who is looking for a new challenge. One offers offices not cubes, free lunch, great customer support and the freedom to work on interesting projects. Where does she choose to apply?

There are 30 places that sell bumper stickers. One shows up first in the Google ads when I do a search. Which one gets my business?

There are seventy houses for sale in town. One of them is represented by a broker who is a pillar of the community, a friend of many and a role model for the industry. Which one gets more people to its open house?

There are eighty million blogs to choose from. Thanks for picking mine to read today.

You don't have to like competition in order to understand that it exists. Your fair share isn't going to be yours unless you give the public a reason to pick you.

The false solace of vilification

File this one under basic human emotions that marketers need to be aware of.

When a global slowdown, national tragedy or random event hits, people look for someone to blame. If there's no one to blame, sometimes they look for someone to hate, even if it is ultimately self-destructive.

A novice computer user downloads viruses, interacts with spyware and encounters a system crash. He calls tech support for the word processor he uses and lets them have it with both barrels.

A flood hits a town and innocent people die and buildings are destroyed. The widows and bereaved families take it out on the insurance adjuster or government official who has come to help.

The economic downturn hits a town hard and some residents attack, quite personally, the hard-working school board members who had nothing to do with the bad news and in fact represent one of the best ways to ultimately recover.

In each case, the person being hated on is precisely the person who can do the most to help. And yet sometimes, we can't help ourselves. It takes significant emotional maturity to separate the event from the people in proximity to the event, and any marketer or organization that deals with the public needs to embrace the fact that just because you're close to where the bad thing happened doesn't mean it's your fault.

That software tech rep, the one who didn't cause your viruses, she's the very best person to calmly explain how to get rid of them.

That insurance adjuster might be able to get you some money to help you start to rebuild your life.

And the school board? Well if the only asset of value you still own is your house, destroying the school that gives your house its true value to a buyer seems like a version of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I've never once heard someone say, "things are really lousy, but I got a chance to really devastate someone today, deliver some choice barbs, some personal attacks, some baseless innuendo and ruin their day, perhaps even their career. Boy, I feel great."

People don't remember how you behave when everything is going great. They remember how you behave when you're under pressure, stressed out and at wits end.

Emotional maturity is underrated.

PS when confronted with misplaced rage, the proper response is not to point out the misplaced part. It's to acknowledge the rage part. One big reason that vilification occurs is that the angry person feels as though not enough attention or sympathy is being paid.

The long term solution for marketers (and those that believe in civil society) is to make it socially unacceptable to vent like this. Acknowledge the rage but cease to engage, whenever possible.

No, everything is not going to be okay

It's natural to seek reassurance. Most of us want to believe that the choices we make will work out, that everything will be okay.

Artists and those that launch the untested, the new and the emotional (and I'd put marketers into all of these categories) wrestle with this need all the time. How can we proceed knowing that there's a good chance that our actions will fail, that things might get worse, that everything won't end up okay? In search of solace, we seek reassurance.

So people lie to us. So we lie to ourselves.

No, everything is not going to be okay. It never is. It isn't okay now. Change, by definition, changes things. It makes some things better and some things worse. But everything is never okay.

Finding the bravery to shun faux reassurance is a critical step in producing important change. Once you free yourself from the need for perfect acceptance, it's a lot easier to launch work that matters.

Too much data leads to not enough belief

Business plans with too much detail, books with too much proof, politicians with too much granularity... it seems as though more data is a good thing, because data proves the case.

In my experience, data crowds out faith. And without faith, it's hard to believe in the data enough to make a leap. Big mergers, big VC investments, big political movements, large congregations... they don't usually turn out for a spreadsheet.

The problem is this: no spreadsheet, no bibliography and no list of resources is sufficient proof to someone who chooses not to believe. The skeptic will always find a reason, even if it's one the rest of us don't think is a good one. Relying too much on proof distracts you from the real mission--which is emotional connection.

In between frames

Scott McCloud's classic book on comics explains a lot more than comics.

A key part of his thesis is that comic books work because the action takes place between the frames. Our imagination fills in the gaps between what happened in that frame and this frame, which means that we're as much involved as the illustrator and author are in telling the story.

Marketing, it turns out, works precisely the same way.

Marketing is what happens in between the overt acts of the marketer. Yes you made a package and yes you designed a uniform and yes you ran an ad... but the consumer's take on what you did is driven by what happened out of the corner of her eye, in the dead spaces, in the moments when you let your guard down.

Marketing is what happens when you're not trying, when you're being transparent and when there's no script in place.

It's not marketing when everything goes right on the flight to Chicago. It's marketing when your people don't respond after losing the guitar that got checked.

It's not marketing when I use your product as intended. It's marketing when my friend and I are talking about how the thing we bought from you changed us.

It's not marketing when the smiling waitress appears with the soup. It's marketing when we hear two waiters muttering to each other behind the serving station.

Consumers are too smart for the frames. It's the in-between frame stuff that matters. And yet marketers spend 103% of our time on the frames.

Type tells a story

If you write it down, we're going to judge it.

Not just the words, we're going to judge you even before we read the words. The typography you use, whether it's a handwritten note or a glossy brochure, sends a message.

Some typefaces are judged in a similar way by most people you're addressing (Times Roman in a Word document or Helvetica on a street sign or Myriad Pro on a website) but even when you choose something as simple as a typeface, be prepared for people to misunderstand you.

If you send me a flyer with dated, cheesy or overused type, it's like showing up in a leisure suit for a first date. If your website looks like Geocities or some scammy info marketer, I won't even stay long enough to read it.

Like a wardrobe, I think a few simple guidelines can save amateurs like us a lot of time:

1. Invest some time and money up front to come up with a house style that actually looks the way you want it to, one that tells the story you want to tell. Hire a designer, put in some effort. A headline font, a body font, one or two extras. That's your outfit, just like the four suits you rotate through your closet.

2. "What does this remind you of?" No need to be a pioneer (unless that's the story you want me remember). Find a combination of typefaces that remind your chosen audience of the sort of organization you want to remind them of. Hint: italic wedding invitation fonts in the body of your email remind me of nothing except other people who have wasted my time...

3. Be consistent. Don't change it when you get bored. Don't change it when your staff gets bored. Change it when the accountant and marketing guys tell you it's not working any longer.

Bonus! Books from John McWade, Robin Williams, Adobe and Chuck Green

Craftsmanship

Find a calling and then deliver.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” – Martin Luther King, Jr.         HT to Andy.

Unrealized projects

Timburton
 When I was at MOMA last week, I saw a list of director and artist Tim Burton's projects. Here's the guy who's responsible for some of the most breathtaking movies of his generation, and the real surprise is this: almost every year over the last thirty, he worked on one or more exciting projects that were never green lighted and produced. Every year, he spent an enormous amount of time on failed projects.

A few: Catwoman, Conversations With Vincent, Dinosaurs Attack!, The Fall of the House of Usher, Geek Love, Go Baby Go, Hawkline Monster, Lost in Oz, Mai the Psychic Girl, Mary Reilly, Superman Lives, X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes.

One key element of a successful artist: ship. Get it out the door. Make things happen.

The other: fail. Fail often. Dream big and don't make it. Not every time, anyway.

Tim got his ideas out the door, to the people who decided what to do with them. And more often than not, they shot down his ideas. That's okay. He shipped.

Next!

Multiple minds

Most people grow up with one and only one voice in our heads. It's the one that talks when we talk to ourselves. (If you have more than one voice, time to check in with a doctor). It's easy, then, to assume that this is the mind, that we have just one, one brain, one voice, one thing going on at a time.

We can demonstrate that this isn't actually true. There's the mind that gets nostalgic or excited at a photo or a smell or a sound. There's the mind that keeps us breathing. There's the mind that suddenly announces, "I'm hungry" after seeing a TV commercial. And most important to marketers and those that would change the status quo, there's the lizard brain, the mind that worries, particularly about survival, reproduction and rage.

When the plane lurches in turbulence, it's not your constantly running verbal mind that freaks out. It's the amygdala, the prehistoric brain stem (and the surrounding parts of the brain) that kick in. That kick leads the verbal mind to start a frightening monologue, but it was your brain stem that started it.

Marketing to just the rational mind makes no sense, because the rational mind almost never decides anything by itself. And managing your career or your day based on your irrational fears makes even less sense. Which part of your mind makes decisions about credit cards, personal security, relationships, job prospects and creativity?

As our jobs (and lives) get more cerebral and less physical, our misunderstandings about the mind (and the self-defeating miscalculations each of us make every day) become ever more important. Watch yourself for a day and start keeping store of 'who' is doing the talking and whether that part of the brain is working in your best interests or not.

« December 2009 | Main | February 2010 »