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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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THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




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Thinking about placebos (a new ebooklet)

After months of working on this project, I confess to being amazed at how little we talk about, think about or use placebos.

Here's a 25-page ebook to get the conversation started. I think you'll find some pretty surprising research and analysis inside...

Feel free to share, or repost, or print it out:

Download the updated Placebo booklet

I wrote it as part of the curriculum of the Skillshare marketing course I'm teaching right now.

Based on what I'm learning about the power of commitment, we decided to double the price of that course at the end of April. The other course, on new business invention, also doubles.

Thanks for reading, share if it makes you think...

No more kids?

What if, in some sort of sci-fi solar flare cataclysm, it was impossible for humans to have more kids? No more babies.

How would we treat the last generation? Would we say to the youngest student on Earth, "sorry the school is really run-down and crowded and poorly staffed, but we don't want to invest in you?" Would we let the last generation grow up in poverty, or would we do everything we could to ensure that this one last time, we did it right?

To make the example a bit more banal, what if your organization discovered that it would never have another new customer? That the customers you've got now are the last ones you will ever have... Would you treat them differently? 

Sometimes, when it seems like there's an endless parade of prospects walking by, it's easy to discount this particular person.

No new prospects, no more new web visitors, no more untouched email lists... And far more dramatically, no more new students, no more chances to open doors, inspire genius or create connection.

I wonder what happens when we treat children and customers like maybe, just maybe, they're the last chance we get to do it right.

Your story about money

Is a story. About money.

Money isn't real. It's a method of exchange, a unit we exchange for something we actually need or value. It has worth because we agree it has worth, because we agree what it can be exchanged for.

But there's something far more powerful going on here.

We don't actually agree, because each person's valuation of money is based on the stories we tell ourselves about it.

Our bank balance is merely a number, bits represented on a screen, but it's also a signal and symptom. We tell ourselves a story about how we got that money, what it says about us, what we're going to do with it and how other people judge us. We tell ourselves a story about how that might grow, and more vividly, how that money might disappear or shrink or be taken away.

And those stories, those very powerful unstated stories, impact the narrative of just about everything else we do.

So yes, there's money. But before there's money, there's a story. It turns out that once you change the story, the money changes too.

The debilitating myth of musical chairs

I was invited to a fancy gathering the other day. Thirty of us, chatting amiably over drinks, then invited to sit down to eat.

A little slow on the trigger, I was the last one over to lunch. To my horror, there were only 29 seats at the long table. All of my Jungian anxieties triggered in one moment. No room for you, you don't belong here, you probably shouldn't have come in the first place.

After a deep breath, I walked over, got a chair from along the wall and scooted myself in.

Epic disaster, averted.

It turns out that in the connection economy, where the network effect creates value and abundance in those connections, it's pretty unlikely that there are precisely one-too-few chairs at the table you hope to sit at. And if there are, it turns out that it's easier than ever to bring your own chair.

Even better, start your own table.

In school, we teach kids to try out, to work to make the cut, to suck it up and give up when they don't. We forget to teach them that the better approach (the adult, real world approach) is to just start your own team. One hyper-ironic example: A friend didn't make it past the final try-outs for the improv club at school. Bummed out, he moved on, never realizing that he could start his own improv club...

If you're spending a lot of time worrying about musical chairs, it's almost impossible to be generous and connected. If you've got one eye on the lookout for when the music will stop and which chair you're going to grab, it's inevitable that you're not really focusing on the amazing people you're with. On the other hand, once you stop playing that game, it seems as though new chairs just keep materializing.

Not even one note

Starting at the age of nine, I played the clarinet for eight years.

Actually, that's not true. I took clarinet lessons for eight years when I was a kid, but I'm not sure I ever actually played it.

Eventually, I heard a symphony orchestra member play a clarinet solo. It began with a sustained middle C, and I am 100% certain that never once did I play a note that sounded even close to the way his sounded.

And yet...

And yet the lessons I was given were all about fingerings and songs and techniques. They were about playing higher or lower or longer notes, or playing more complex rhythms. At no point did someone sit me down and say, "wait, none of this matters if you can't play a single note that actually sounds good."

Instead, the restaurant makes the menu longer instead of figuring out how to make even one dish worth traveling across town for. We add many slides to our presentation before figuring out how to utter a single sentence that will give the people in the room chills or make them think. We confuse variety and range with quality.

Practice is not the answer here. Practice, the 10,000 hours thing, practice alone doesn't produce work that matters. No, that only comes from caring. From caring enough to leap, to bleed for the art, to go out on the ledge, where it's dangerous. When we care enough, we raise the bar, not just for ourselves, but for our customer, our audience and our partners.

It's obvious, then, why I don't play the clarinet any more. I don't care enough, can't work hard enough, don't have the guts to put that work into the world. This is the best reason to stop playing, and it opens the door to go find an art you care enough to make matter instead. Find and make your own music.

The cop-out would be to play the clarinet just a little, to add one more thing to my list of mediocre.

As Jony Ive said, "We did it because we cared, because when you realize how well you can make something, falling short, whether seen or not, feels like failure."

It's much easier to add some features, increase your network, get some itemized tasks done. Who wants to feel failure?

We opt for more instead of better.

Better is better than more.

Compromise, design and the literal edges

Let's say you wanted to improve the katana, the legendary fighting sword.

You could ask your team to come up with a sword that's lighter, sharper and more durable.

Built into that charge is the requirement to compromise. And just about everyone who has come before you has tried to come up with the same sort of compromise, and your chances of a breakthrough are slim indeed.

Compromise gives us an out, because, with multiple goals, it's easy to play it safe.

But what if you picked just one?

What if you sought to make the sharpest katana ever? Or merely the most durable one? By optimizing for just one attribute, you've eliminated most of the compromise from the design discussion. As a result, you're far more likely to encounter something extraordinary. It might not be practical, but there's plenty of time to compromise later.

It's almost always easier to roll something back a little than it is to push it forward.

Bulldozers and bullwhips

Bulldozers work because they are incredibly heavy. It's fine that they're slow, they're powerful indeed.

Bullwhips work because they are incredibly fast. The superlight bit of leather at the end of the whip travels faster than the speed of sound, hence the crack.

Organizations often thrive because they have huge mass, they are irresistible forces, going where they are pointed. But they don't get there quickly.

On the other hand, it's quite possible to make an impact by being fast, light and quite focused.

Important to not confuse which you're using, though. Trying to make your bulldozer go faster might not work out so well. And you can't build a road with a bullwhip.

Two ways to listen

You can listen to what people say, sure.

But you will be far more effective if you listen to what people do.

What does, "it's too expensive," mean?

Sometimes it means, "there isn't enough money to pay for that." Certainly, among the undeserved poor, this happens all the time. And for things like health care and education, tragically, it happens too often.

But most of the time (in the commercialized, wealthier part of the world that many of us live in), the things that are within the realm of possibility could be paid for (even the edge cases could, if we found friends and neighbors and went deep into debt). One person might say a stereo or a sizable charitable donation or a golf club membership is "too expensive" while someone else with the same income might happily pay for it. "It's too expensive," almost never means, "there isn't enough money if I think it's worth it."

Social entrepreneurs are often chagrined to discover that low-income communities around the world that said their innovation was, "too expensive" figured out how to find the money to buy a cell phone instead. Even at the bottom of the pyramid, many people find a way to pay for the things they value.

The same is true for real estate, ad buys and productivity improvements in the b2b sector. If an investment is going to pay for itself, "it's too expensive," rarely means, "we can't afford it."

Often, it actually means, "it's not worth it." This is a totally different analysis, of course. Lots of things aren't worth it, at least to you, right now. I think it's safe to assume that when you hear a potential customer say, "it's too expensive," what you're really hearing is something quite specific. A $400 bottle of water is too expensive to just about everyone, even to people with more than $500 in the bank. They have the cash, but they sure don't want to spend it, not on something they think is worth less than it costs.

Not everyone will value your offering the same, so if you wait for no one to say, "it's too expensive" before you go to market, you will never go to market. The challenge isn't in pleasing everyone, it's in finding the few who see the value (and thus the bargain) in what's on offer.

Culturally, we create boundaries for what something is worth. A pomegranate juice on the streets of Istanbul costs a dollar, and it's delicious. The same juice in New York would be seen as a bargain for five times as much money. Clearly, we're not discussing the ability to pay nor are we considering the absolute value of a glass of juice. No, it's about our expectation of what people like us pay for something like that.

Start with a tribe or community that in fact does value what you do. And then do an ever better job of explaining and storytelling, increasing the perceived value instead of lowering the price. (Even better, actually increase the value delivered). When you don't need everyone to buy what you sell, "it's too expensive" from some is actually a useful reminder that you've priced this appropriately for the rest of your audience.

Over time, as influencers within a tribe embrace the higher value (and higher price) then the culture starts to change. When people like us start to pay more for something like that, it becomes natural (and even urgent) for us to pay for it too.

The rotten fish problem

On the first day, all the fish at the fish stall are fresh.

Some sell, some don't.

The second day, the sold fish are replaced by newer, fresher fish. The unsold fish remains, even though it isn't so attractive.

By the third day, of course, the unsold fish is noticably unfresh, and it doesn't take much effort to avoid them.

At this point, part of the fishmonger's stock is demonstrably unappealing, bringing down the quality of the entire counter.

Pretty soon, of course, the dropoff in business means that the owner can't afford to buy the freshest fish, even to replace his sold inventory, and the end is near.

The alternative? On day two, discard the unsold fish.

Obvious, but difficult. So difficult that we rarely do it. We'd rather lower the average and see if we can get away with it instead.