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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

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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.

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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.

ONLINE:

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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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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.

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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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Member since 08/2003

The existential crisis (and the other kind)

For some, crises are existential. The subsistence farmer, the parent without access to medical care, the person living in a makeshift shelter--this crisis might be the last one they ever encounter. Deal with this crisis or cease to exist.

As a result, crisis management became a cultural emergency, something we all focused on. High alert, drop everything, this is do or die, because if we don't get through this, it's over.

Now, of course, for those lucky enough to live in a well-off part of the world, insulated from disaster, few crises are actually this black and white—they merely feel that way.

The project might be in jeopardy, but you're not.

Don't blow it (the secret of b2b)

If you sell to businesses, you're either calling on unsuccessful companies, who are panicking and afraid and don't have a lot of resources to spend on new things...

Or you're selling to successful businesses. And in those organizations, most people walk around with a three-word mantra imprinted on their arm: Don't blow it.

Far more points are awarded to people who keep things moving and defend the status quo. If you're the gambler, the one who risked and failed, well, it's understood at many places that this isn't good, that you're at risk and off the track.

So, the story that resonates more often than not is a story that's built around those three words. 

A review sprint

How many short book reviews can we assemble in one day?

Think of a book that's influenced you or made a difference in your life and write a short review on Hugdug. Just type in the name of the book and the site will tee you up to write a few words and share them with your friends.

To get you started, here are a bunch of popular authors and their books to choose from.

It would be magnificent if 1,000 people posted a review today. I hope you'll give it a try.

Sharing a book is (almost) as good as writing one.

Cat food is for people

So is this bag of gluten-free, kale, peanutty dog treats.

And the first birthday party for the kid down the street is for her parents, not her. And the same is true for most gifts we give people (they're for us, and how we feel giving them, not for the recipient, not really). And many benefits the company offers to its employees...

It's easy to imagine that the giver is focused on the recipient at all times. But, more often than not, the way the gift makes us feel to give is at least as important as how it makes the other person (or pet, or infant) feel to receive it.

PS if you think cat food is for cats, how come it doesn't come in mouse flavor?

The handyman, the genius and the mad scientist

The handyman brings attention to detail and craftsmanship to the jobs that need to be done. Difficult to live without, but a household name, not a famous name.

The genius, Thomas Edison, relentlessly tries one approach after another until the elusive solution is found.

And the mad scientist, Tesla or Jobs, is idiosyncratic and apparently irrational—until the magic appears.

Who do you need?

Who are you?

Can we talk about process first?

It's so tempting to get straight to the issue, especially since you're certain that you're right. 

The challenge is that organizations and relationships that thrive are built to go beyond this one discussion. They are built for the long haul, and this particular issue, while important, isn't as vital as our ability to work together on the next hundred issues.

So yes, you're probably right, and yes, it's urgent, but if we can't agree on a process to talk about this, we're not going to get anywhere, not for long.

If the process we've used in the past is broken, let's fix it, because, in fact, getting that process right is actually more urgent than the problem we've got right now. Our meta-conversation pays significant dividends. At the very least, it gets us working together on the same side of a problem before we have to be on opposite sides of the issue of the day.

Fast, easy, guaranteed

...pick none.

That's the work that's worth doing.

There are Kracos

Thirty years ago, I used to work the booth at CES. The software company where I was a brand manager launched its products at the Consumer Electronics Show, which was, at the time, the biggest trade show in the world.

You can imagine that a huge stream of people were constantly walking by, and making our pitch to each and every one of them was exhausting. We were there to get mass merchants to sell our stuff--getting into Target or Lechmere was a victory we needed.

A few hours into the first show, I noticed that some of the people walking by had little creatures on their shoulders. Kraco, the low-cost stereo company, had a huge booth, and they were giving visitors these little stick-on humanoids, made of some sort of wool, to ride along on their shoulder. They were about two-inches high and they looked precisely as ridiculous as you are imagining.

I loved this. These people, these lookers, not buyers, were identifying themselves to us from a distance. The little Kraco man on the shoulder meant, "I am here to waste your time, I am not a professional, what will you give me that's free?" We quickly began identifying anyone with one of these on their shoulder as a Kraco, someone not worth an investment of focus and energy or free stuff.

Alas, the Kracos in your world today don't wear a little man on their shoulder, but that doesn't mean they're not out there. All your prospects are not the same, and if you insist on treating them that way, you will waste your time and your enthusiasm on people who aren't bringing any to your interaction.

In search of meaningful

From the individual who needs to get her idea in front of the right people, to the New York Times, which faces a ticking clock to figure out the digital landscape, all of us are in the media business. There's a gold rush for attention going on, and, given how much the media likes to cover the media, we hear about winners and losers, those doing it right and wrong, and most of all, the template for what we ought to be doing if we want to succeed.

I fear that right now, many are laboring under Buzzfeed Envy.

Since 1989, when I first started doing online media, people have been transfixed by scale, by numbers, by rankings. "How many eyeballs, how big is the audience, what's the passalong, how many likes, friends, followers, how many hits?" 

You cannot win this game and I want to persuade you (and Dean Baquet at the Times) to stop trying.

1. Are you generic? Over the last few years, the Times has lost Lisa Belkin, Nate Silver, David Pogue and other big name writers, not to mention the opportunity to do more with Michael Lewis and the Freakonomics guys. Here's the thing: when you read what these singular voices create, you know where it came from, and you have an opinion about it. 

Buzzfeed doesn't focus on who is speaking, they focus on writing something clickable and shareable and urgent in the moment. Those that want to own a valuable 'brand' like the fact that it belongs to them, unlike the demanding star writer, who might leave at any time. The value all goes to the system, not to the individual contributor.

(Buzzfeed is well on its way to becoming a dominant media company. But the Times isn't Buzzfeed, and neither are you.)

The problem with generic is that it's easy go as well as easy come. The Onion just launched their own sharable silliness and to those that spread it, it doesn't matter at all if the person writing it works for one brand in the genre or the other one. Staying ahead and gaining scale gets more difficult, not less for those in this segment.

Kasey Casem is remembered precisely because he refused to become generic. When he left his show and started a new one, so many people followed him that he was able to buy back the original show and run both of them at the same time. We were connected to him, not the idea of a radio show.

2. Is it for the reader or the search engine? Here's an excerpt from how editors are deciding things at the Times now: "There was praise for headlines that had contained the right words ... to maximize online search results." 

The most important thing any individual or corporate media entity needs to learn is this: One subscriber is worth 1,000 surfers. Newspapers learned this a century ago. The Philadelphia Inquirer created one of the richest families in America on the basis of a focus on subscriptions. And Time magazine has turned into a nearly valueless relic because they forgot to focus on subscribers and pandered to the newsstand and to the listicle instead.

[A subscriber, by my definition, doesn't have to pay with money. Sometimes, it's sufficient to pay with attention.]

3. Would I miss it if it were gone? And here's the key question, the one that gets to the heart of meaningful. When we deliver meaningful content, it means we show up, invited, with words and images that matter. It means that we are trusted enough to be permitted to speak the first few words, and talented enough to keep the attention we've worked so hard to earn. Most of all, meaningful can't possibly work for everyone with a smart phone, for everyone in every potential audience, because there are so many ways to be seen as meaningful, so many different tribes of people thirsting for different kinds of connection.

Here's the key flaw in the bigger-is-better reasoning: It's entirely possible to become an important voice merely because everyone is listening. (Walter Cronkite, or the front page of Yahoo in 1999). When everyone is listening, anyone who wants to be part of everyone also has to listen. That's certainly why the most viral viral videos get so many views--the second half of their views are people who don't watch viral videos, but need to get clued in.

There are still some advertisers who want the biggest mass they can find, who will pay extra to reach more people who care less, but those advertisers are going to find someone bigger than you to advertise with.

It's no longer possible to become important to everyone, not in a reliable, scalable way, not in a way that connects us to people who will read ads or take action, not to people who aren't already clicking away to the next thing by the time they get to the second or third sentence.

But it is possible to become important to a very-small everyone, to a connected tribe that cares about this voice or that story or this particular point of view. It's still possible to become meaningful, meaningful if you don't get short-term greedy about any particular moment of mass, betting on the long run instead. And we need institutions that can reach many of these tribes, that can bind together focused audiences and useful content creators.

Newspapers used to work because they were local, delivered and urgent, with few competitors.

Today, all four components have changed dramatically. Craigslist and others have stolen a lot of the revenue that came from local, anyone with email can be delivered, and the news cycle has bypassed the daily rhythm of the newspaper. And few competitors has become infinity competitors.

The future of newspapers (and for anyone making content) is to act more like a magazine, like Fast Company and Wired and The New Yorker of fifteen years ago. The center, the urgent center, of a smaller everyone.

My advice to the Times starts with this: Every reporter (and probably every editor) ought to have a blog (or be part of a focused group blog), and post every single day. That's perhaps 600 blogs, every single day, each charged with finding a group of people who care enough about that voice and that topic to hear about it daily. If a reporter can't write cogently and passionately enough about his topic to gain a following, he probably needs to work somewhere else. And if the paper can organize to hire and train and reward people who can do work like this, if they can figure out how to get out of the 48-page paper mindset, if it can create stars and pockets of true connection, it's inconceivable to me that they won't be able to turn a profit.

Of course, one straightforward act isn't going to change the future of the Times, but it represents a symptom, a visible sign that the focus is changing from making an above-average (or even excellent) newspaper for the masses into creating circles of expertise, organizing tribes, building subscriptions based on attention and publishing outside of the finite world of paper... (And I firmly believe that this applies even more to individuals and smaller organizations than it does to legacy newspapers).

The future of media can't possibly only lie in random mass viral entertainments, generated with the aid of computers and aimed at the lowest-clicking denominator. For most organizations, that can't lead to useful ads, it doesn't lead to subscriptions, and most of all, it doesn't lead to impact. Entertaining the people who click on 50 things a day will get you numbers, but it won't make a difference.

If it's not worth subscribing to a particular voice or feature or idea, if it's not worth looking forward to and not worth trusting, I'm not sure it's worth writing, not if your goal is to become meaningful.

The three questions to ask, then, at every editorial meeting:

Who is this for?

Will we be able to reach them?

Is it meaningful?

And here's the rhetorical question I'd ask the publisher of every media company, from the sole practitioner to the Times: If you had the loyal attention of the powerful, connected, concerned and intelligent people in any given (valuable) tribe or sector, and you regularly showed up with anticipated, personal and relevant content for those people, could you make it into a business?

[More on this (and Clay, too)]

PS From six years ago... Sorry to repeat myself.

Most likely to succeed

"Succeed" is in the eye of the beholder...

Most likely to hit a home run

Most likely to please my boss

Most likely to do the work

Most likely to work for free

Most likely to stick it out

Most likely to change everything

Most likely to be trustworthy

Most likely to attract attention 

Most likely to be invisible

Most likely to be worth it

There are many versions of most likely to succeed. When you're looking for a gig or a client, the category you are placed in by those that choose is up to you. And no category = invisible.