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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

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IN STORES:

linchpin

Linchpin

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

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IN STORES:

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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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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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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« December 2012 | Main | February 2013 »

Four reasons your version of better might not be enough

I might not know about your better, because the world is so noisy I can't hear you.

I might not believe it's better, because, hey, people spin and exaggerate and lie. Proof is only useful if it leads to belief.

The perceived cost of switching (fear, hassle, internal selling and coordination, money) is far higher than your better appears to be worth.

Your better might not be my better. In fact, it's almost certainly not.

Help wanted: Designing for growth

Just as the tech community has realized that coding and marketing can be turned into growth hacking, it may be time to redefine what we seek from graphic designers.

Prettiness isn't the point, and neither is sheer utility. The best designers working online are now using UI, UX and game theory to create services that spread. They're engaging in relentless cycles of test and measure and improve in order to determine what works (and what doesn't), replacing "because I said so," with "because it works."

Most important, though, they're learning how to use their significant visual and aesthetic chops to create series of interactions that actually generate better outcomes than the workaday stuff they're replacing.

I think there are two kinds of jobs now available to designers working online:

1. "Here, make this prettier"

and

2. "Figure out how to lead the process that helps us grow."

Squidoo is hiring someone for the second kind of job. It's an incredibly exciting gig, one that will allow someone to cross boundaries and lead. You will work with me and with Squidoo's entire team of developers and tribe leaders. Find out the details right here. Please read carefully and apply in just the way the page describes.

PS there's a bounty if you refer the person we hire. Have them mention your name and contact info in the application.

Deadline: Tuesday, Jan 15 at noon.

Who goes first?

Initiating a project, a blog, a wikipedia article, a family journey--these are things that don't come naturally to many people. The challenge is in initiating something even when you're not putatively in charge. Not enough people believe they are capable of productive initiative.

At the same time, almost all people believe they are capable of editing, giving feedback or merely criticizing. 

So finding people to fix your typos is easy.

I don't think the shortage of artists has much to do with the innate ability to create or initiate. I think it has to do with believing that it's possible and acceptable for you to do it. We've only had these particular doors open wide for a decade or so, and most people have been brainwashed into believing that their job is to copyedit the world, not to design it.

That used to be your job. It's not, not anymore. You go first.

Podcasts, live events and more...

Lots of hoopla and good news to share:

Hope to see you in Boston or London later this month.

For those that were out over the break, here are the three books now available for sale (thanks for the great feedback and terrific support). Here's the audio edition.

Thanks to the podcasters who interviewed me: 

Jeff Goins

Chris Brogan

Mitch Joel

Rise to the Top

Marketing Over Coffee 

Adrian Swinscoe 

Work Talk Show 

Social Media Examiner 

Duct Tape Marketing

The Game Whisperer 

Eventual Millionaire 

Blogcast FM

Kindle Chronicles

And a post from David Meerman Scott. Anne McCrossan. And with TED videos.

And Jesse Thorn on Bullseye.

The feedback from the worldwide Icarus Session was so good we've scheduled another one. And here's the bookmark project. 

Thanks.

Clean bathrooms

The facilities at DisneyWorld are clean. It's not a profit center, of course. They don't make them clean because they're going to charge you to use them. They make them clean because if they didn't, you'd have a reason not to come.

It turns out that just about everything we do involves cleaning the bathrooms. Creating an environment where care and trust are expressed. If you take a lot of time to ask, "how will this pay off," you're probably asking the wrong question. When you are trusted because you care, it's quite likely the revenue will take care of itself.

Toward resilience in communication (the end of cc)

If you saw this post tweeted in your twitter stream, odds are you didn’t click on it. And if you’ve got an aggressive spam filter, it’s likely that many people who have sent you email are discovering you didn’t receive it. "Did you see the tweet?" or "did you get my email?" are a tax on our attention. Resilience means standing up in all conditions, but in fact, electronic communication has gotten more fragile, not less.

We wait, hesitating, unsure who has received what and what needs to be resent. With this error rate comes an uncertainty where we used to have none (we're certain of the transmission if you’re actively talking on the phone with us and we know if you got that certified mail.) It's now hard to imagine the long cc email list as an idea choice for getting much done.

The last ten years have seen an explosion in asynchronous, broadcast messaging. Asynchronous, because unlike a phone call, the sender and the recipient aren’t necessarily interacting in real time. And broadcast, because most of the messaging that’s growing in volume is about one person reaching many, not about the intimacy of one to one. That makes sense, since the internet is at its best with low-resolution mass connection.

It's like throwing a thousand bottles into the ocean and waiting to see who gets your message.

Amazon, eBay, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, Facebook--they are all tools designed to make it easier to reach more and more people with a variation of faux intimacy. And this broadcast approach means that communication breaks down all the time... we have mass, but we've lost resiliency.

Asynchronous creates two problems when it comes to resiliency. First, it’s difficult to move the conversation forward because the initiator can’t be sure when to report back in with an update. Second, if some of the data changes in between interactions, it’s entirely likely that the conversation will go off the rails. If you send two colleagues a word processed doc and, while you’re waiting for a response, the file changes, it’s entirely possible that you’ll get feedback on the wrong file. Source control for any conversation of more than two people becomes a huge issue.

Your boss initiates a digital thread about an upcoming meeting. While two of the people are busy working on the agenda, a third ends up cancelling the meeting, wasting tons of effort because people are out of sync.

But asynchronous communication is also a boon. It means that you don't have to drop everything to get on a call or go to a meeting. Without the ability to spread out our project communication, we'd get a lot less done.

So, here we are in the middle of the communication age, and we’re actually creating a system that’s less engaging, less resilient to change or dropped signals, and less likely to ensure that small teams are actually contributing efficiently.  The internet funding structure rewards systems that get big, not always systems that work very well.

A simple trade-off has to be made: You can’t simultaneously have a wide, open system for communication and also have tight connections and resilience. Open and wide might work great for promoting your restaurant on Twitter, but it’s no way to ensure tight collaboration among the three or four investors who need to coordinate your new menu. 

As digital teamwork gets more important, then, team leaders are going to have to figure out how to build resiliency into the way they work. That might include something as simple as affirmative checkins, or more technical solutions to be sure everyone is in sync and also being heard. Someone sitting on a conference call and doing nothing but pretending to listen benefits no one.

Friends and family at Dispatch have built one approach to this problem, a free online collaboration tool that uses the cloud to create a threaded conversation built around online files, with redundancy and a conversation audit trail as part of the process. When someone speaks up, everyone can track it. When a file changes, everyone sees it. And only the invited participate.

It won’t be the last tool you’ll find that will address an increasingly urgent problem for teams that want to get things done, but it's worth some effort to figure this out. Tightly-knit, coordinated teams of motivated, smart people can change the world. It's a shame to miss that opportunity because your tools are lousy.

Two kinds of mistakes

There is the mistake of overdoing the defense of the status quo, the error of investing too much time and energy in keeping things as they are.

And then there is the mistake made while inventing the future, the error of small experiments gone bad.

We are almost never hurt by the second kind of mistake and yet we persist in making the first kind, again and again.

What people buy when they buy something on sale

Assuming it's not something they were shopping for in the first place...

The impulse big-sale buy is not a matter of acquiring a high value item they'll need later at a bargain price today.

No, the consumer is spending money in exchange for the feeling, right now, of saving big. The joy of a bargain. The item is secondary, the feeling is what we just paid for.

You wouldn't know that from the way people selling things act, but that's what we buy.

[Aside: More than a billion people on Earth have never purchased anything on sale at a store. The clearance-sale emotion is a learned one, and a recent one at that.]

Out on a limb

This might not work.

I didn't realize how tired I was until I started driving away from the Icarus launch event on Wednesday.

Since June, I've been working flat out on creating the four books that were part of the Kickstarter and the big launch that climaxed with an event here in New York. Along the way, I experienced what many people feel as they work on something new--I was  spending part of my time (against my better judgment) exhausting myself trying to predict and then control what people would think about my work.

Will they get it? Will this chapter hit home? Am I too far out on a limb?

This might not work.

At some level, "this might not work" is at the heart of all important projects, of everything new and worth doing. And it can paralyze us into inaction, into watering down our art and into failing to ship.

I do my best work when I practice what I write about, and this time, I decided it was important to go as far out on a limb as I could. The Icarus Deception argues that we're playing it too safe, hence my need to go outside my (and your) comfort zone.

Changing the format, changing the way I interacted with some of my readers (using Kickstarter) and changing the timeframe of my work all combined to make this project the most complex one I've ever done. Lots of moving parts, of course, but more scary, lots of places to fail. All very self-referential in a series of books about failure and guts and flying closer to the sun, of course. That's the entire point, right?

Of course, trying to control what other people think is a trap. At the same time that we can be thrilled by the possibility of flying without a net and of blazing a new trail, we have to avoid the temptation to become the audience, to will them into following us. Not only is it exhausting, it's counterproductive. Sales (of concepts, of services, of goods) don't get made because you've spent a sleepless night working on your telekenisis. They happen because you've made something worth buying, because you've outlined something worth believing in.

"This might not work" is either a curse, something that you labor under, or it's a blessing, a chance to fly and do work you never thought possible.

As I slumped into my car, I turned on the radio. Stuck in the CD player, forgotten in the rush to get to the event, was the audio copy of Icarus.

(Download Audio Excerpt)

I don't usually listen to my books after I've made them, but the recording sessions had been so arduous that I didn't even remember making the recording. So there it was in my car, left behind as a quick refresher before I went onstage to give my first public talk about the book. 

It turns out that I don't just write for you. I also write to remind myself of what I'm hoping to become as well. Hearing myself, months later, reading something I didn't remember writing or reading, I shed a few tears. Yes, this is work worth doing. Yes, being out on a limb is exactly where I want to be.

That's where we're needed... out on a limb.

What do you make?

Decisions.

You don't run a punch press or haul iron ore. Your job is to make decisions.

The thing is, the farmer who grows corn has no illusions about what his job is. He doesn't avoid planting corn or dissemble or procrastinate about harvesting corn. And he certainly doesn't try to get his neighbor to grow his corn for him.

Make more decisions. That's the only way to get better at it.

« December 2012 | Main | February 2013 »