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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.

ONLINE:

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.

ONLINE:

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.

ONLINE:

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

Put a frame around it

Wrap it in a bow

Serve it on ice

What's worth more, the frame or the poster? It turns out that a well-framed bit of graphics is often transformed, at least in the eyes of the person engaging with it. It might be the very same beautiful object that was thumbtacked to the wall, but it sure feels different.

And an unwrapped piece of jewelry is worth far less without the blue box, isn't it?

The wrapper isn't everything, it might not even be the point. But it matters.

"How should I judge this," is something we ask ourselves all the time. When you make the effort to give us a hint, we'll often take the hint.

Avoiding magical thinking

There's a relationship that's easy to imagine but actually incorrect: We often come to the conclusion that in order to make something magical, we'll need magical events to occur to get there.

Building a startup is hard. Publishing a great book successfully is quite difficult. Launching a non-profit that matters is a Herculean task. I hope you will do all three, and more, often.

But while your intent is pure and your goal is to create magic, the most common mistake is to believe that the marketplace will agree with your good intent and support you. More specifically, that media intermediaries will clearly, loudly and accurately tell your story, that this story will be heard by an eager and interested public and that the public will take action (three strikes).

Or, more tempting, that ten people will tell ten people to the eighth power, leading to truly exponential growth (some day). Because right now, you've told ten people and they have told no one.

Or, possibly, that you will call on businesses and offer them a solution so powerful that they will pay you at that very first meeting, generating enough cash flow that you will be able to immediately hire more (and better) salespeople to grow your organization exponentially.

All great organizations make change. Change is hard. Change takes time. In markets that matter (meaning not gossip, not snark, not spectator sports), people rarely tell dozens of other people about what they've discovered. And action is taken, sometimes, but not as much as you deserve.

No, you'll need to work hard to create something magical, and a big part of that hard work is relentlessly eliminating all magical thinking from your projections and your expectations of how the market will react.

Only count on things that have happened before, a funnel you can buy and time you can afford to invest. Anything more than that is a nice bonus.

[HT, worth reading: Aaron]

Coming to San Francisco (+ podcasts)

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, I'll be doing a small group master class in San Francisco for tech startups.

I'll also be part of a fascinating series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on December 1.

If you can't make it, some free lectures and podcasts that might come in handy:

The startup school, a 15-session free course, recorded live (forgive the occasional audio difficulties). This one has really resonated with many of the entrepreneurs and freelancers that have listened to it. Also...

With Chris Taylor

With Grant Spanier

With Mark Guay 

With Brian Koppelman

Also! Please consider this 1,000 smiles campaign.

Line or staff?

The most urgent jobs tend to be line jobs. Profit and loss. Schedules to be drawn and honored. Projects to deliver.

The line manager initiates. The line manager delivers.

Staff jobs are important, no doubt about it. The staff keeps the lights on, provides resources on demand and is standing by ready to help the line manager. But the staff person doesn't get to say yes and doesn't get to say go.

In fact, the best staff people get that way by acting like they're on the line.

When you can, take responsibility. Say go.

We have Ebola

It's tragic but not surprising to watch the marketing of another epidemic unfold.

It starts with, "We" don't have Ebola, "they" do. They live somewhere else, or look different or speak another language. Our kneejerk reaction is that "they" need to be isolated from us (more than 55% of Americans favor a travel ban for everyone, not just the sick). Even fifty years ago, a travel ban was difficult, now it's impossible. The world is porous, there are more connections than ever, and we've seen this before.

Tuberculosis. Polio. AIDS. Fear runs rampant, amplified by the media, a rising cycle of misinformation, demonization and panic. Fear of the other. Pushing us apart and paralyzing us.

The thing is:

We are they.

They are us.

Education—clear, fact-based and actionable education—is the single most effective thing we can do during the early stages of a contagion. Diseases (and ideas) spread because of the social structures we have created, and we can re-engineer those interactions to dramatically change the R0 of a virus. Ebola doesn't 'know' that large funerals are traditional, but it certainly takes advantage of them to spread. Ideas don't 'know' that bad news travels fast, and that the internet makes ideas travel faster, but they take advantage of this to spread.

Cable TV voices that induce panic to make their ratings go up are directly complicit in amplifying the very reactions that magnify the impact of the virus. Attention-seeking media voices take us down. All of us.

It's tempting to panic, or to turn away, or to lock up or isolate everyone who makes us nervous. But we can (and must) do better than that. Panic, like terror, is also a virus, one that spreads.

We have an urgent and tragic medical problem, no doubt, but we also have a marketing problem.

Do the word

It's possible to bend language to your will, to invest extraordinary amounts of effort and care to make words do what you want them to do.

Our culture celebrates athletes that shape their bodies, and chieftains who build organizations. Lesser known, but more available, is the ability to work on our words until they succeed in transmitting our ideas and causing action.

Here's the thing: you may not have the resources or the physique or the connections that people who do other sorts of work have. But you do have precisely the same keyboard as everyone else. It's the most level playing field we've got.

The first step is to say it poorly. And then say it again and again and again until you're able to edit your words into something that works.

But mostly, you need to decide that it matters.[HT: Shawn]

Make two lists

One list highlights the lucky breaks, the advantages, the good feedback, your trusted network. It talks about the accident of being born in the right time and the right place, your health, your freedom. It features your education, your connection to the marketplace and just about every nice thing someone has said about you in the last week or month.

The other list is the flipside. It contains the obstacles you've got to deal with regularly, the defects in your family situation, the criticisms your work has received lately. It is a list of people who have better luck than you and moments you've been shafted and misunderstood.

The thing is, at every juncture, during every crisis, in every moment of doubt, you have a choice. You will pull out one (virtual) list or the other. You'll read and reread it, and rely on it to decide how to proceed.

Up to you.

Four steps on the road to organizational growth, dominance or irrelevance

We see the same four steps, over and over:

Struggle: At the beginning, no one knows what you make or why they need it. They are unaware and distrustful too. Sometimes the struggle never ends, other times the story is so compelling and the value created so in demand that it appears to go by quickly. But the struggle is always there. Most marketing  (as opposed to advertising) lives in this stage, because you're starting from zero.

Servant: As a soon-to-be-successful organization gains traction, it has a choice. It can move to servant mode, delighting and connecting customers, exceeding expectations and performing what seems like miracles. Or it can take profits as soon as it can. The former leads to scale, the short-term approach usually results in more struggle.

Bully: As the organization gains power (and constituents) it is under pressure to increase profits and market share and lock in. The market power leads to more market power and the ability to cause customers or partners to shift their strategy in deference. (To be clear, I define a bully as an individual or organization that uses physical or other power to cause someone less powerful to act against their enlightened long-term self interest to satisfy their demands.) "We make the rules now."

Utility: No organization stays in bully mode forever. The step after this is utility, the organization that serves a function, makes a profit, and is often taken for granted.

Bitcoin is still in the struggle stage. Microsoft clearly went through all four of these stages a decade ago. Federal Express skipped the bully step, as far as I can tell, and moved straight to utility. AT&T also followed the four steps. So did Standard Oil. Religions that last more than a few generations go through these steps too. During their hyper-growth period, AOL had the chance to become a generations-long utility, but probably worked too hard to exercise their power to gain scale before moving to the utility stage. 

While the easy examples to find are the famous, international ones, this can happen on the micro level, within industries or locations or sects as well.

I'd like to believe that the goal is to figure out how to live a life in the servant stage, to create an organization that doesn't become a bureaucratic haven or an avarice-focused engine of profit. As markets shift faster (networks grow faster now than ever before in human history) there's more opportunity to find a sweet spot that dances between servant and utility.

The full stack keeps getting taller

The bottom of the stack is essential, but it always gets easier to take for granted.

Of course electricity comes out of the little hole in the wall when you plug something in.

Of course the email engine works every day.

Of course the chipset returns the right calculations.

Of course the webpage loads quickly.

Of course the car starts the first time.

Of course the fax machine always works with other brands.

Of course you can call someone across the world for ten cents...

All of these things used to be really hard, random in their reliability, precious when they worked. Today, for most of us, they're a given (but still important).

Value is created as you work your way up to the newer, harder, scarcer parts of the value creation process. And then we'll figure those out and the stack will get taller still.

When the stack catches up, when the work you do is work that's taken for granted, climb up the stack.

PS I have to finalize the print run, so pre-press signups for my new book (www.yourturn.link) end tomorrow. Thanks!

Good at math

It's tempting to fall into the trap of believing that being good at math is a genetic predisposition, as it lets us off the hook. The truth is, with few rare exceptions, all of us are capable of being good at math. 

I'll grant you that it might take a gift to be great at math, but if you're not good at math, it's not because of your genes. It's because you haven't had a math teacher who cared enough to teach you math. They've probably been teaching you to memorize formulas and to be good at math tests instead.

Being good at standardized math tests is useless. These tests measure nothing of real value, and they amplify a broken system.

No, we need to get focused and demanding and relentless in getting good at math, at getting our kids good at math and not standing by when someone lets themselves (and thus us) off the hook. If you can read, you can do math. Math, like reading, isn't optional, it's our future and it helps free us from our fear of creation.

"Can an eight-inch square pizza fit on a nine-inch round plate without draping over the edge?" is a question that should make you smile, not one you should have to avoid.