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Seth Godin has written 18 bestsellers that have been translated into 35 languages

The complete list of online retailers

Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list


All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing




Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow





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




Meatball Sundae

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



Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.



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.




Purple Cow

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



Small is the New Big

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



Survival is Not Enough

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




The Big Moo

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



The Big Red Fez

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




The Dip

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




The Icarus Deception

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





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




Unleashing the Ideavirus

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



V Is For Vulnerable

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




We Are All Weird

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



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.



THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin

All Marketers Are Liars Blog

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Member since 08/2003

« April 2013 | Main | June 2013 »

The reason they call it a browser

Over the last ten years, the amount that we buy online has gone up. So have the number of ads we click on every day. We're all clicking around, browsing and sometimes buying.

But, while these interactions and transactions have been growing, the amount of time we spend online and the number of pages we visit have gone up dramatically faster.

Mobile multiplies this.

Do the math. More time, more pages, not nearly so much more in the way of transaction. A visit from a mobile user is almost certainly less likely to convert into a click, particularly a purchase. Your tweets are seen by ten times as many people, but only twice as likely to get clicked on as they used to be. All the attention we seem to get from the outside world is going up fast, but the amount of interaction it leads to is not.

There's a whole lot of people spending a lot of time browsing, not taking action. Permission doesn't scale at the same rate browsing does, which is why permission is worth more than ever before. In fact, the easiest way for a post to not spread is for you to ask someone to actually do something.

Call it attention inflation. More time spent looking, less time spent clicking. We're being conditioned to sit back and assume that action is the exception, not the rule. Sort of like the difference between the supermarket (where no one browses) and the windows of a fancy store (where everyone does).

"I'm just looking" is the new definition of online behavior.

Years ago, I was lucky enough to get a booth on the route of a political march. I had self-published a book directly related to the issue, and more than 450,000 people walked within twenty feet of my booth. I sold four of the 4,000 copies I brought with me. I lowered my price 90% and sold two more copies. 

It took me a while but then I realized that people had come to march, not to shop.

This thinking explains why good real estate sites are so mobile-friendly (and why mobile is so real-estate-friendly). If you're sitting in front of a house that's for sale and take the time to look up the information, you're exactly the right person in exactly the right place.

When dealing with a community that browses, you'll need new math:

  • More pageviews to make a transaction is the norm, like it or not
  • Sharing is more important than ever before, because transactions require more views
  • Sponsorships and unclickable banners outperform measurable media (think about the signs on the boards at a hockey game--everyone sees them all night, but no one interacts with them)
  • The price paid for each advertising impression is going to go down

Since the very beginning (I've been doing online media since 1991), clicks have been undervalued and measurable media has been at a disadvantage compared to traditional unmeasured ads (how many clicks does a TV ad get?). As the web/mobile gets closer to ubiquity, the behaviors of people consuming media get ever closer to the old model of passivity. Sponsorship and visibility will continue to matter, clicks and interactions will go way up in value and overall pageviews will continue to inflate.

Spend the day with me in New York in June

I've been remiss in scheduling these full-day transformative Q&A sessions and I miss them.

You can find the details and tickets right here.

Here's one take on some of the things we covered in an expanded seminar last summer.

This is the tenth anniversary of Purple Cow, too, so we'll celebrate that as well. Cake for everyone.

The certain shortcut

The shortcut that's sure to work, every time:

Take the long way.

Do the hard work, consistently and with generosity and transparency.

And then you won't waste time doing it over.

Life is full of holes

Every scrutinized historical event fails to hold up to serious inspection.

There's missing evidence. How did he get from point A to point B? Where's the document or the eyewitness or the proof?

Your future opportunities are like this as well. Even at the hottest part of the 1998 Internet run up, skeptics wanted more proof that the internet wasn't merely a waste of time. They wanted all the dots connected, and were happy to keep collecting dots until they were.

For a train to get from one city to another, it makes countless tiny leaps, crossing microscopic chasms that would easily show up if you looked closely enough. That doesn't keep you from getting there, though.

I don't think the right question is, "is the path perfect?"

It's probably, "Is this somewhere I'd like to go?"

It's significantly easier to cross a gap when you have direction and momentum.

Is this spam?

If you have to ask, it probably is.

The essential truth is that spam is always in the eye of the recipient. If you think it's spam, it's spam (if you're the recipient. If you're the sender, your opinion is worthless.) I don't care what the privacy policy fine print says, if someone thinks it's spam, it is.

The best definition of permission marketing used to be messages that were anticipated, personal and relevant. If this is going to be an asset of your organization (and it should be), let's take it to the next, easily measured level: would people miss it if it didn't arrive?

Once you have people looking forward to what you have to say, no more worries about spam. You've built an asset worth owning.

Lead up

What you were trained to do: wait for a good, generous, munificent, tasteful, smart boss or client to tell you what to do.

If that doesn't happen, blame the system, blame the boss, blame the client. If the work is lousy, it's the client's fault. If the boss doesn't see or understand your insight, that's his fault. You are here to serve, and if they don't get it, well, that's too bad for all concerned.

What you might consider: Lead up. (Thanks to Pat Tierney for the phrase).

A great designer gets great clients because she deserves them. One of the ways that she became a great designer was by leading her clients to make good decisions, to have better taste, to understand her insight and have the guts to back it. That doesn't happen randomly. It happens when someone leads up.

A successful middle manager gets promoted when she takes the right amount of initiative, defers the right amount of credit and orchestrates success. That success might happen despite (not because) of who her bosses are, and that's just fine, because she's leading up.

In many ways, we get the bosses and clients we deserve. If they're holding you back, change them.

We have an astonishing amount of freedom at work. Not just the freedom to call meetings, make phone calls and pitch ideas, but yes, the freedom to quit, to find a new gig, to pick the clients we're going to take on and to decide how we're going to deal with a request from someone who seems to have far more power than we do. "Yes, sir" is one possible answer, but so is leading from below, creating a reputation and an environment where the people around you are transformed into the bosses you deserve.

When you do this with intention, it gets easier and easier. From afar, it seems impossible, and it will be until you commit to it.

  • Do it on purpose
  • Tell stories that resonate with those in charge
  • Demand responsibility, don't worry about authority
  • Reflect credit, embrace blame
  • Earn the right by taking small steps
  • Convene, organize, learn, teach and lay the foundation
  • If they don't get it, go somewhere that does [slash] hire better clients, regardless of the fee


The challenge of communication isn't to never miscommunicate, it's to cut down the time between the interaction and the realization that the communication didn't get through. Because the sooner we know we're not connecting, the sooner we can fix it.

Phone calls, for example, lead to less miscommunication than instructions sent by mail. A cycle of clarity is built into the medium. "Huh?" is a perfectly appropriate way to ask someone to refine a message. Conversations are more clear than marching orders, because conversations have built-in error detection and correction.

Organizations that are good at flagging the misunderstood internal messages are far more likely to move quickly, in sync, than the ones that assume that messages from on high are never to be questioned. When in doubt, ask.

Who do you know?

Let's define "know" as... you're connected with them, in real life, by email or through a direct relationship online.

It might be someone in a different state, religious, atheist, straight, gay, in a developing country, a lawyer, a politician, struggling to pay the bills, ill, recovered, in recovery, a dedicated athlete, a computer programmer, angry at the system, an insider, an inventor, from a very different political stance, a pilot, unemployed, a millionaire, an inventor, a tax cheat, a gun owner, a rabble rowser or an adult without a driver's license.

Can you see them? Understand them? Ask them about what it's like to be them? Would you miss them if they were gone?

Sixty years ago, TV news changed everything, because it introduced us to ideas and places outside of our personal experience. Today, like it or not, despite the fact that we continue to segregate the places we choose to live by politics and race, the online social network is anti-gerrymandered. Connect with enough people and you can't help but bump into something outside your worldview.

The question is: now that we know these people, will we listen to them in an effort to understand? Tom Friedman famously wrote that there's never been a war between two nations that had McDonald's franchises in them. I wonder if we're going to develop a new sense of mass, one where it's harder than ever to demonize a group that contains your friends, even if they're merely online friends. Or, are we going to get better at hating people we know, at de-personalizing our experiences...

When they're no longer faceless strangers, is it more difficult to hate them?

How to write copy that goes viral

The best approach is to not try to write things that will go viral.

No, the best approach is to write for just one person. Make an impact on just one person. Even better, make it so they can't sleep that night unless they choose to make a difference for just one other person by sharing your message with them.

The rest will take care of itself.

Avoiding fear by indulging in our fear of fear

Every day, we make a thousand little compromises, avoid opportunities, actions and people--all so that we can stay away from the emotion of fear.

Note that I didn't say, "so we can stay away from what we fear." No, that's something else entirely. Right now, most of us are avoiding the things that might merely trigger the emotion itself. That's how distasteful it is to us.

The alternative? To dance with it. To seek out the interactions that will trigger the resistance and might make us uncomfortable.

Are we trying to avoid the unsafe? Or merely the feeling of being unsafe? Increasingly, these are completely different things.

Due to 'enhanced security' a recent bike event in New York City forbade the 30,000 riders from carrying hydration packs. No practical reason, just the desire to avoid fear.

The upcoming exam doesn't get studied for, not because studying is risky, but because studying reminds us that there's a test coming up.

We loudly keep track of all the failures of commission around us, but never mention the countless failures of omission, all the mistakes that were made by not being bold. To track those, to remind ourselves of the projects not launched or the investments not made is to encounter our fear of forward motion. (So much easier to count typos than it is to mention the paragraphs never written.)

There's no other reason for not having a will, a health proxy, an insurance policy or an up to date checkup. Apparently, while it's not risky to plan for our demise, it generates fear, which we associate with risk, and so we avoid it.

It's simple: the fear that used to protect us is now our worst enemy.

Easier to avoid the fear than it is to benefit from living with it. I've heard the quote a thousand times but never really thought it through...

Hence the opportunity. If you do things that are safe but feel risky, you gain a signfiicant advantage in the marketplace.

« April 2013 | Main | June 2013 »