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SETH'S BOOKS

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

The complete list of online retailers

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).

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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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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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THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




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« May 2011 | Main | July 2011 »

Organization vs. movement vs. philosophy

An organization uses structure and resources and power to make things happen. Organizations hire people, issue policies, buy things, erect buildings, earn market share and get things done. Your company is probably an organization.

A movement has an emotional heart. A movement might use an organization, but it can replace systems and people if they disappear. Movements are more likely to cause widespread change, and they require leaders, not managers. The internet, it turns out, is a movement, and every time someone tries to own it, they fail.

A philosophy can survive things that might wipe out a movement and that would decimate an organization. A philosophy can skip a generation or two. It is often interpreted, and is more likely to break into autonomous groups, to morph and split and then reunite. Industrialism was a philosophy.

The trouble kicks in when you think you have one and you actually have the other.

The professional's platform

If you only show up when you want something, we'll catch on.

If you only learn the minimum amount necessary to get over the next hurdle, you'll fall behind.

If these short term choices leave you focused on the urgent, you'll almost never get around to doing the important.

A professional salesperson refuses to engage in the short-cycle of cold call/sell/move on. An urgent plea from the boss before the end of the quarter isn't enough reason to abandon your consistent approach. That's because cold calls are painful and rarely lead to sales. The professional salesperson realizes that closing a sale and then moving on wastes an opportunity for both you and the person you're working with.

A flustered programmer who grabs the relevant library without understanding its context or the role of the libraries around it will be in the same urgent state in just another few days.

The politician who only shows up when it's time to raise money, probably won't.

We remember what you did when you didn't need us so urgently.

If you're going to make a career of it (and of course, if you want to excel, you will), that means taking the time to understand the texture of your field. It means investing, perhaps overinvesting, in relationships long before it's in your interest to do so.

When it comes down to decisions that matter, your town, every town, is far more likely to support the one who has moved in, put down roots and contributed than it is to rush to whatever bright shiny object shows up for a few days before moving on.

Getting funded is not the same as succeeding

The goal isn't to get money from a VC, just as the goal isn't to get into Harvard. Those are stepping stones, filters that some successful people have made their way through.

If you alter your plans and your approach and your vision in order to grab that imprimatur, understand that it might get in the way of the real point of the exercise, which is to build an organization that makes a difference.

I don't care so much how much money you raised, or who you raised it from. I care a lot about who your customers are and why (or if) they're happy.

Groupthink is almost always a sign of trouble, and it's particularly dangerous when it revolves around what gets funded, and why.

Synchronicity, intimacy and productivity

A shortcut to customer and co-worker intimacy is to respond in real time. A phone call is more human than an email, a personal meeting has more impact than a letter.

On the other hand, when you do your work on someone else's schedule, your productivity plummets, because you are responding to the urgent, not the important, and your rhythm is shot.

The shortcut analysis, it seems to me, is to sort by how important it is that your interactions be intimate. If it's not vitally important that you increase the energy and realism of the relationship, then insert a buffer. Build blocks of time to do serious work, work that's not interrupted by people who need to hear from you in real time, right now.

On the other hand, for interactions when only a hug or a smile will do, allocate the time and the schedule to be present.

Confusing the two is getting easier than ever, and it's killing your ability to do great work.

Email checklist (maybe this time it'll work!)

Three years ago this week, I posted this checklist, in the naive hope that it would eliminate (or perhaps merely reduce) the ridiculous CC-to-all emails about the carpool, the fake-charity forwards, the ALL CAPS yelling and the stupid PR spam.

A guy can hope, can't he?

Feel free to send this to those that need to read it:

Before you hit send on that next email, perhaps you should run down this list, just to be sure:

  1. Is it going to just one person? (If yes, jump to #10)
  2. Since it's going to a group, have I thought about who is on my list?
  3. Are they blind copied?
  4. Did every person on the list really and truly opt in? Not like sort of, but really ask for it?
  5. So that means that if I didn't send it to them, they'd complain about not getting it?
  6. See #5. If they wouldn't complain, take them off!
  7. That means, for example, that sending bulk email to a list of bloggers just cause they have blogs is not okay.
  8. Aside: the definition of permission marketing: Anticipated, personal and relevant messages delivered to people who actually want to get them. Nowhere does it say anything about you and your needs as a sender. Probably none of my business, but I'm just letting you know how I feel. (And how your prospects feel).
  9. Is the email from a real person? If it is, will hitting reply get a note back to that person? (if not, change it please).
  10. Have I corresponded with this person before?
  11. Really? They've written back? (if no, reconsider email).
  12. If it is a cold-call email, and I'm sure it's welcome, and I'm sure it's not spam, then don't apologize. If I need to apologize, then yes, it's spam, and I'll get the brand-hurt I deserve.
  13. Am I angry? (If so, save as draft and come back to the note in one hour).
  14. Could I do this note better with a phone call?
  15. Am I blind-ccing my boss? If so, what will happen if the recipient finds out?
  16. Is there anything in this email I don't want the attorney general, the media or my boss seeing? (If so, hit delete).
  17. Is any portion of the email in all caps? (If so, consider changing it.)
  18. Is it in black type at a normal size?
  19. Do I have my contact info at the bottom? (If not, consider adding it).
  20. Have I included the line, "Please save the planet. Don't print this email"? (If so, please delete the line and consider a job as a forest ranger or flight attendant).
  21. Could this email be shorter?
  22. Is there anyone copied on this email who could be left off the list?
  23. Have I attached any files that are very big? (If so, google something like 'send big files' and consider your options.)
  24. Have I attached any files that would work better in PDF format?
  25. Are there any :-) or other emoticons involved? (If so, reconsider).
  26. Am I forwarding someone else's mail? (If so, will they be happy when they find out?)
  27. Am I forwarding something about religion (mine or someone else's)? (If so, delete).
  28. Am I forwarding something about a virus or worldwide charity effort or other potential hoax? (If so, visit snopes and check to see if it's 'actually true).
  29. Did I hit 'reply all'? If so, am I glad I did? Does every person on the list need to see it?
  30. Am I quoting back the original text in a helpful way? (Sending an email that says, in its entirety, "yes," is not helpful).
  31. If this email is to someone like Seth, did I check to make sure I know the difference between its and it's? Just wondering.
  32. If this is a press release, am I really sure that the recipient is going to be delighted to get it? Or am I taking advantage of the asymmetrical nature of email--free to send, expensive investment of time to read or delete?
  33. Are there any little animated creatures in the footer of this email? Adorable kittens? Endangered species of any kind?
  34. Bonus: Is there a long legal disclaimer at the bottom of my email? Why?
  35. Bonus: Does the subject line make it easy to understand what's to come and likely it will get filed properly?
  36. If I had to pay 42 cents to send this email, would I?

Chris Anderson has come up with his own list as well.

Disaster tolerance

Not all disasters can be avoided.

Not all disasters are fatal.

If you accept these two truths, your approach to risk will change. If you build a disaster-tolerant nation or project or lifestyle, you will be more willing to challenge the fates and won't hide out.

The disaster-tolerant approach means that you can focus on the upside of risk instead of obsessing about the worst possible outcome. And once you do that, the upside is more likely to occur.

If your hard drive has backups, you don't have to be as careful in buying hard drives. It's okay if a cheap one breaks. If your portfolio of artistic or financial endeavors isn't wrapped up in one project or one gallery, it's okay to do something a bit more daring, because one critic can't cripple you.

That outcome you were so afraid of isn't so bad, and once you realize you can tolerate it, it's (amazingly, perversely and ironically) less likely to happen.

The game theory of discovery and the birth of the free-gap

It all started because of the discovery problem.

Too many things to choose from, more every day. No efficient way to alert the world about your service, your music, your book. How about giving it away to help the idea spread?

The simplest old school examples are radio (songs to hear for free, in in the hope that someone will buy them) and Oprah (give away all the secrets in your book in the hope that many will buy.)

There's a line out the door of people eager to spread their ideas, because in a crowded marketplace, being ignored is the same as failure.

Most people, most of the time, don't buy things if there's a free substitute available. A hundred million people hear a pop song on the radio and less than 1 percent will buy a copy. Millions will walk by a painting in a museum, but very few have prints, posters or even inexpensive original art in their homes. (In the former case, the purchased music is better--quality and convenience--than the free version, in the latter, the print is merely more accessible, but the math is the same--lots of visits, not a lot of conversion).

We don't hesitate to ask a consultant or doctor or writer for free advice, but often hesitate when it involves a payment. ("Oh, I'm not asking for consulting, I just wanted you to answer a question...") And yes, I'm told that some people cut their own hair instead of paying someone a few bucks to do it.

None of this is news. Two things have changed, though:

1. As more commercial activity involves digital goods (websites, ebooks, music, etc.), the temptation to spread the idea for free (to aid discovery) is actually economically possible--if you believe that the free spread will lead to more revenue in the long run. The cost of a single copy is zero, so you can choose to set the digital item loose without bankrupting yourself.

2. A culture of free digital consumption has evolved and is being adopted by a huge segment of the most coveted consumers (teenagers, the educated, the upper middle class).

The bet a creator makes, then, is that when she gives away something for free, it will be discovered, attract attention, spread and then, as we saw in radio in 1969, lead to some portion of the masses actually buying something.

What's easy to overlook is that a leap is necessary for the last step to occur. As we've made it easier for ideas to spread digitally, we've actually amplified the gap between free and paid. It turns out that there's a huge cohort that's just not going to pay for anything if they can possibly avoid it.

Radio thirty years ago was simple: everyone hears it for free and a few buy it.

For a time, one could use free to promote an idea and have leverage to turn that attention into paid sales of a similar item (either because free went away or because the similar item offered convenience or souvenir value).

I think that might be changing. As the free-only cohort grows, people start to feel foolish when they pay for something when the free substitute is easily available and perhaps more convenient.

Think about that--buying things now makes some people feel foolish. Few felt foolish buying a Creedence album in the 1970s. They felt good about it, not stupid.

This new default to free means that people with something to sell are going to have to push ever harder to invent things that can't possibly have a free substitute. Patronage, live events, membership, the benefits of connection--all of these things are outside the scope we used to associate with the creative business model, but that's changing, fast.

Lady Gaga's music is basically free. It's the concerts that cost money. McKinsey's consulting philosophy is free in the library, it's the bespoke work that costs money. Watching a movie on Netflix is free--once you pay to belong. Playing golf at the local public course is pretty cheap, it's membership in the fancy club that costs money...

There's a growing disconnect between making something worthwhile and getting paid for it. The digital artifact is heading toward free faster and faster, and the inevitable leap to a paid version of the same item is going to get more difficult.

Creators don't have to like it, but free culture is here and it's getting more pervasive. The brutal economics of discovery combined with no marginal cost create a relentless path toward free, which deepens the gap. Going forward, many things that can be free, will be.

Freegap.001
[Worth a side note to talk about the 'shoulds'. Some commentators have argued quite forcibly that things shouldn't be free, that creators should always be paid, that 47% of our economy is based on intellectual property...

Of course, free has always been part of the equation. These commentators, the ones arguing in interviews or in blog posts, are already sharing their ideas for free. The bestselling book of all time has no copyright and has been shared freely for thousands of years. Musicians gladly show up to play for virtually free on American Bandstand or the Tonight Show.

Most ideas have never been something one could monetize. The inventor of the knock knock joke, for example, or the two college kids who coined Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon have put ideas into the ideastream, and they spread without much thought for cash compensation.

I'm certainly not arguing that content should be free, it's clear that the argument on the either side isn't absolute. My argument is that the line for using free as a discovery tool is shifting, and the best (and perhaps only) way to monetize in the future is for the idea to be encased in something that could never realistically be free. Products and services with a marginal cost of more than zero, for example.

Should consumers be willing to pay for great content? You bet. In fact, paying for content is a great way to ensure that more of it gets made.

Does the game theory of the market make it likely that those in search of discovery will accelerate the use of free to get attention? Of course.

Creators have trained the most coveted, biggest spending and intelligent portion of the market to expect that many digital items will be free. Now it's up to us to wrap those items in such a way that they're worth paying for again.]

Which of the four are getting in the way?

You don't know what to do

You don't know how to do it

You don't have the authority or the resources to do it

You're afraid

Once you figure out what's getting in the way, it's far easier to find the answer (or decide to work on a different problem).

Stuck is a state of mind, and it's curable.

The taskmaster premium

How much are you paying for the privilege of having someone else tell you what to do?

Example: if you go to your gym and work out for an hour, the cost of that session is zero.

Hire a personal trainer to follow you around and give you instructions and that's $70.

If you take a job as a freelancer writer doing short service pieces on assignment to a local paper, you might earn $3 an hour. Which is about 97% less than you'd earn if, like some writers, you dream up amazing pieces, write them on spec and turn them into blogs, books or films. This writer doesn't wait to get hired. He hires himself.

If you do publicity for an agency, working hard and precisely following the VP's and the client's instructions, you might earn $25 an hour. On the other hand, when you do your own PR, when you build a sensation and turn it into a following, you might earn many times that. (And enjoy it more).

Work for a coal mine and make minimum wage. Discover a coal mine and never need to work again.

We happily give up our freedom and our income in exchange for having someone else take responsibility for telling us what to do next.

How much are you giving up?

Subscribing (and a color bonus)

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