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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).

ONLINE:

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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IN STORES:

tribes

Tribes

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

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

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.

ONLINE:

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

Will they switch for cheaper?

In fact, most people switch for better.

Without a doubt, there's a slot in every market for the cheap enough, good enough alternative.

But rapid growth and long-term loyalty come from being better instead.

When your product or your service doesn't measure up, the answer probably isn't to lower your price or offer a refund to the disappointed customer. Instead, the alternative is to invest in making it better. So much better that people can't help but talk about it—and so much better that they would truly miss it if it were gone.

Entropy, bureaucracy and the fight for great

Here are some laws rarely broken:

As an organization succeeds, it gets bigger.

As it gets bigger, the average amount of passion and initiative of the organization goes down (more people gets you closer to averge, which is another word for mediocre).

More people requires more formal communication, simple instructions to ensure consistent execution. It gets more and more difficult to say, "use your best judgment" and be able to count on the outcome.

Larger still means more bureaucracy, more people who manage and push for comformity, as opposed to do something new.

Success brings with it the fear of blowing it. With more to lose, there's more pressure not to lose it.

Mix all these things together and you discover that going forward, each decision pushes the organization toward do-ability, reliability, risk-proofing and safety.

And, worst of all, like a game of telephone, there will be transcription errors, mistakes in interpreting instructions and general random noise. And most of the time, these mutations don't make things wonderful, they lead to breakage.

Even really good people, really well-intentioned people, then, end up in organizations that plod toward mediocre, interrupted by random errors and dropped balls.

This can be fixed. It can be addressed, but only by a never-ending fight for greatness.

Greatness can't be a policy, and it's hard to delegate to bureaucrats. But yes, greatness is something that people can work for, create an insurgency around and once in a while, actually achieve. It's a commitment, not an event.

It's not easy, which is why it's rare, but it's worth it.

What happens to privacy?

People don't care about privacy as much as they care about being surprised.

Most people have used credit cards for decades—giving the credit card company tons of intimate data about their habits. We go to doctors and therapists and tell them our detailed medical and emotional histories. That's all fine because we believe we know exactly what's going to happen to the information. When we're surprised and a promise is broken, we're (rightly) furious.

If people actually cared about privacy (no one knowing what they do) then we would have given up on most connected activities generations ago. No, we were fine with some people knowing, as long as we realized who those people were (and what those uses were) in advance.

The outrage over privacy leaks and snooping is largely because it comes as a surprise. It's not what we signed up for and not what we expected. As marketers and governments continue to intrude, though, less privacy will become the new normal. Ask any teenager... few of them are particularly surprised or upset that they're leaving a trail online, it's always been that way for them.

Now that we've been desensitized, expect a huge stampede of apps, services and technologies that monetize and quantitize things that we used to think of as off limits. They won't tiptoe, they will leap, because the race is on to create value from information that used to be invisible. 

The thing about surprising people is that once you do it, you can't do it again and again. As surprise fades, people will come to tolerate and then (eventually) look forward to organizations using the data we used to believe would never be used.

[Here's one scenario to give you a sense of how big the shift will be. When just 1% of all cars have a networked dashboard camera in use, then virtually every car and every driver will be under constant surveillance. When you cut someone off or run a stop sign, the system will know. Good drivers will take advantage of the information that's created to get much better prices on their insurance (why shouldn't they?) which will completely transform both the insurance industry and the safety of driving. We've always been awash in data about how everyone drives, but until now, it's never been collected and turned into information, and that information has value.  Like it or not, the Wild West mentality of 'eat my dust' will be replaced by a privacy-free world of connected driving. Multiply this by healthcare, white collar work productivity and retail behavior and you quickly see a brave, new world.]

Who cares about privacy is a little like the weather. You can care about it, but it's not clear there's much you can do once surprise goes away and the engines of commerce and power kick in.

Welcome to the monoculture

Here's the local supermarket in a little town, way off the beaten path. And there, right next to the cash register, are Lindt chocolate bars--from Switzerland.

Here's the local radio station, thousands of miles from the epicenters of music culture. And the next song--it's the one that kids in every country in the world are watching right now on YouTube.

Monoculture doesn't always mean the status quo. They sell more salsa than ketchup now. It doesn't mean only the established brands win--you can find Kind bars and Teslas in more and more places.

What monoculture does mean is that the churn isn't local as much as it's national and worldwide now. It means the stakes are far higher, because the step from niche win to worldwide win is smaller than it's ever been before.

Your blog, your line of clothes, your song, your cause--there's more competition than ever before (by a lot) because you compete with the world now. And there's more upside, too.

The first leap

The second leap is deciding how to take your project to an entirely new level. The way Zappos redefined how shoes were sold, Charity:water changed how fundraising was done, or Mission Chinese recreated their genre of restaurant. These leaps are what the market sits up and notices.

The first leap is deciding to be the kind of leader willing to make precisely that sort of leap.

Girl Scout cookies

Teaching young people to sell is a priceless gift. The confidence and clarity that comes from being able to engage and to cause a transaction is a trait that can pay off for a lifetime. 

I thought I'd share a simple sales approach that in my experience consistently doubles the sales rate for Girl Scouts, at the same time it permits a more natural, humanistic engagement. Most Scouts are taught to memorize a fairly complicated spiel, one that involves introducing themselves, talking in detail about the good work that the Scouts do, and finishing with how the money raised goes for this and for that.

This is difficult work even for a professional, but for a kid talking to an adult, it's frightening and unlikely to lead to a positive experience. The alternative?

"What's your favorite kind of Girl Scout cookie?"

In less than ten words, all the Proustian memories of previous cookie experiences are summoned up. In one simple question, the power in the transaction shifts, with the Scout going from supplicant to valued supplier. 

(And that's the universal lesson here: A question that avoids a 'no', a question that starts a conversation, a question that opens the door to emotion... those are the questions that build careers and create value.)

The cookie-buying experience isn't about making some sort of charitable contribution. Buying cookies is an incredibly inefficient way to support anything but a cookie company. No, the experience from the buyer's point of view is an emotional connection to something that's been in their life since they were a kid (there's a reason they don't change the flavors) as well as a positive interaction with a young person learning to speak up.

PS If you're busy selling your kid's cookies at work in a misguided attempt to raise money for the troop, please don't! It undermines the very point of the exercise, and you'd probably raise more money if you did some freelance work instead. Access to cookies isn't the point, teaching the Scouts to be confident salespeople is.

What does it sound like when you change your mind?

Nineteen years ago, shortly after I hired Mark Hurst to join the team at my internet startup Yoyodyne, I turned to him and said, "I don't think the web makes sense." This was the most expensive mistake I ever made.

At the time, we were working with AOL, CompuServe and other online services. The web was in its infancy, and I notoriously said, "It's just like Prodigy, but slower and with no business model."

It took me eighteen months to change my mind. Actually, that's not true. It took me about five minutes to change my mind, after eighteen months of being wrong. I still remember how it felt to feel that flip switch in my head.

This is one of the assets of youth, and something that's worth seeking out and maintaining. That flip, the ability, when confronted with a world that doesn't match the world in your head, to say, "wait, maybe I was wrong." We're not good at that. Science brings us overwhelming data about the truth of washing hands before surgery, of the age and origin of species, about the efficacy of placebos, and the natural instinct is push those facts away, rather than find that moment where were can shift our thinking.

If you needed to, could you argue passionately for that thing you don't believe in today? Could you imagine walking over to the other side of the new argument, to once again hear that sound?

That's the essential skill of thriving in a world that's changing fast.

Get out the vote

Without a doubt, the single highest point of leverage in any campaign is getting out the vote. If the people who agree with you or believe in you actually show up and vote, you win.

This, of course, is true for everything, not just retail politics. Your non-profit, retail store or b2b services firm probably doesn't need as many new prospects as you think you do--you will generate more impact if you reconnect with the people who already know and trust you.

Never eat sushi at the airport

or sleep near a train station.

Don't ask a cab driver for theater tips.

Never buy bread from the supermarket bakery...

and don't ask your spouse for honest feedback about how you look.

Don't do business with a stranger who calls you at home during dinner.

Think twice before you ask your ad agency how many ads you should run.

And never eat the macadamia nuts in the mini bar.

Proximity is not a stand in for expertise.

Might as well burn that bridge all the way down to the pilings

It's not that hard to have a misstep. In fact, if you interact with enough people, it's certain that you will.

Sometimes, if we're quite lucky, when we get it wrong, the person we wronged will politely point it out to us.

At this point, we have a choice. We can elegantly (and with gratitude) make things right, which often builds a better bridge than we could ever hope for...

Or, in frustration, embarassment and a bit of pique, we can choose to make things worse. 

Here are some of the magic words that might help build that bridge:

  • "I" (not "we" or some magical use of the third person)
  • "sorry"
  • "thank you"

When someone gives you gentle feedback, it's because they want to connect, not because they want to help you finish burning down the bridge you ignited in the first place. They don't want an excuse, a clever comeback or a recitation that you're just doing your job.

It's there if you want it.