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WWW SETH'S BLOG

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.

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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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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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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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Curiosity plus an audio book --> smarter

My new audiobook from SoundsTrue ships today (see below) and it got me thinking about the magical power of repeated, semi-passive audiobook listening.

You sit (in a car, even) doing something else and at the end of the first, second or tenth listen, you are transformed, seeing the world in new ways. I marvel at this every time it happens to me--a good audiobook is a game changer. A good non-fiction audiobook gets you in sync with the author, slowing down your consumption and making the ideas more real. And for many people, it's a lot less forbidding than cracking open a book.

Steven Johnson's new book, How We Got to Now, is a perfect example. Beautifully written and professionally read, it will make you smarter, more curious and demands that you listen to it again.

Jared Diamond's book, Guns, Germs, and Steel is a classic in the same vein. It's a magical book, worthy of its Pulitzer Prize.

If you're curious as to why a few parents are endangering their children and their community by failing to vaccinate their kids, Eula Bliss' even-handed On Immunity will gently and clearly help you understand the deep cultural and psychological stakes. [... an update on polio.]

All three books are about the collision of technology and culture over time, and they're all fascinating. My new project isn't in their league, but in response to requests to do an unscripted audio...

My new audiobook isn't an audiobook at all, it's an audio-only live recording, available as of today via download and on CD in a few months. I recorded it during a weeklong seminar in my office, and it's organized into short essays. 100% of my royalties go straight to Acumen, and it's produced by my favorite audiobook publisher, SoundsTrue. After listening to hundreds of hours of their inspiring work, it's a privilege to be part of what they've built.

[UPDATE: a new interview with Tami Simon at SoundsTrue.]

The productivity pyramid (give yourself a promotion)

Productivity is a measure of output over time. All other things being equal, the more you produce per minute, the more productive you are. And economists understand that wealth (for a company or a community) is based on increasing productivity.

The simplest way to boost productivity is to get better at the task that has been assigned to you. To work harder, and with more skill.

The next step up is to find people who are cheaper than you to do those assigned tasks. The theory of the firm is that people working together can get more done, faster.

The next step up is to invest in existing technology that can boost your team's output. Buying a copier will significantly increase your output if you’re used to handwriting each copy of the memo you've been assigned.

The step after that? Invent a new technology. Huge leaps in value creation come to those that find the next innovation.

The final step, the one that that eludes so many of us: Figure out better things to work on. Make your own list, don't merely react to someone else's.

It turns out that the most productive thing we can do is to stop working on someone else’s task list and figure out a more useful contribution instead. This is what separates great organizations from good ones, and extraordinary careers from frustrated ones.

The challenge is that the final step requires a short-term hit to your productivity. But, if you fail to invest the time and effort to find a better path, it's unlikely you'll find one.

Almost no one

There's a huge difference between "no one" and "almost no one".

Almost no one is going to hire you.

Almost no one is going to become a true fan.

Almost no one is going to tell someone else about your work.

Almost no one is going to push you to make your work ever better.

If only 1% of the US population steps up, that's 3,000,000 people in the category of "almost no one."

If only one out of 10,000 internet users engages with you, that's still hundreds of thousands of people.

The chances that everyone is going to applaud you, never mind even become aware you exist, are virtually nil. Most brands and organizations and individuals that fail fall into the chasm of trying to be all things in order to please everyone, and end up reaching no one.

That's the wrong thing to focus on. Better to focus on and delight almost no one.

The end of geography

Some of the most important inventions of the last hundred years:

Air conditioning--which made it possible to do productive work in any climate

Credit cards--which enabled transactions to take place at a distance

Television--which homogenized 150 world cultures into just a few

Federal Express and container ships--which made the transport of physical goods both dependable and insanely cheap

The internet--which moved information from one end of the world to the other as easily as across the room

Cell phones--which cut the wires

If you're still betting on geography, on winning merely because you're local, I hope you have a special case in mind.

What do you want?

The industrialist and the one in power would like you to choose from a list, multiple choice. To interview with the companies that come to the placement office, to select from what's on offer, to ask, 'what do you have?'

This is the world of "If we don't sell it, you don't want it."

But in revolutionary times, when the number of options is exploding, the opportunities go to someone who can describe something that's not in stock, that perhaps has never even been described before.

Custom-made does you no good if you don't know what you want.

Various updates

Late in 2014, I invited IOS app developers to submit information for a lightweight list for people seeking professional help. Thanks to Jessica and the generous folks at New York Tech Meetup, it's free and ready for you to use or share. There's a worldwide list and one focused on New York as well. Go make something.

The Your Turn Challenge just finished, and it was a phenomenon. More than 4,500 posts came in from nearly a thousand people getting in the habit of shipping daily. Plus tweets. Well done, Winnie.

What To Do When It's Your Turn continues to spread, inspiring stories like this one

Some recent podcasts... about letting ourselves off the hook and special snowflakes.

And a reminder: You can get a little ping every time I update this blog here: @thisisSethsblog 

The truth about admissions

One in five applicants to Harvard and Stanford are completely qualified to attend—perhaps 20% of those that send in their applications have the smarts, guts and work ethic to thrive at these schools and to become respected alumni.

These schools further filter this 20% by admitting only 5% of their applicants, or about one in four of those qualified. And they spend a huge amount of time sorting and ranking and evaluating to get to the final list.

They do this even though there is zero correlation between the students they like the most and any measurable outcomes. The person they let in off the waiting list is just as likely to be a superstar in life as they one they chose first.

Worth saying again: In admissions, just as in casting or most other forced selection processes, once you get past the selection of people who are good enough, there are few selectors who have a track record of super-sorting successfully. False metrics combined with plenty of posturing leading to lots of drama.

It's all a hoax. A fable we're eager to believe, both as the pickers and the picked (and the rejected).

What would happen if we spent more time on carefully assembling the pool of 'good enough' and then randomly picking the 5%? And of course, putting in the time to make sure that the assortment of people works well together...

[For football fans: Tom Brady and Russell Wilson (late picks who win big games) are as likely outcomes as Peyton Manning (super-selected). Super Bowl quarterbacks, as high-revenue a selection choice as one can make, come as often in late rounds as they do in the first one.]

[For baseball fans: As we saw in Moneyball, the traditional scouting process was essentially random, and replacing it by actually correlated signals changed everything.]

What would happen if rejection letters said, "you were good enough, totally good enough to be part of this class, but we randomly chose 25% of the good enough, and alas, you didn't get lucky"? Because, in fact, that's what's actually happening.

What would happen if casting directors and football scouts didn't agonize about their final choice, but instead spent all that time and effort widening the pool to get the right group to randomly choose from instead? (And in fact, the most talented casting directors are in the business of casting wide nets and signing up the good ones, not in agonizing over false differences appearing real--perhaps that's where the word 'casting' comes from).

It's difficult for the picked, for the pickers and for the institutions to admit, but if you don't have proof that picking actually works, then let's announce the randomness and spend our time (and self-esteem) on something worthwhile instead.

The best laid plans

As your plans get more detailed, it's also more and more likely that they won't work exactly as you described them.

Certainly, it's worth visualizing the thing you're working to build. When it works, what's it going to be like?

Even more important, though, is being able to describe what you're going to do when the plan doesn't work. Because it won't. Not the way you expect, certainly.

Things will break, be late, miss the spec. People will let you down, surprise you or change their minds. Sales won't get made, promises will be broken, formulas will change.

All part of the plan that includes the fact that plans almost never come true.

Your mood vs. your reality

Who is happy?

Are rock stars, billionaires or recently-funded entrepreneurs happier? What about teenagers with clear skin?

Either what happens changes our mood... or our mood changes the way we narrate what happens.

This goes beyond happiness economics and the understanding that a certain baseline of health and success is needed for many people to be happy.

The question worth pondering is: are you seeking out the imperfect to justify your habit of being unhappy? Does something have to happen in the outside world for you to be happy inside?

Or, to put it differently, Is there a narrative of your reality that supports your mood?

Marketers spend billions of dollars trying to create a connection between what we see in the mirror and our happiness, implying that others are judging us in a way that ought to make us unhappy.

And industrialists have built an economic system in which compliance to a boss's instructions is seen as the only way to avoid the unhappiness that comes from being penalized at work. And so fear becomes a dominant paradigm of our profession.

Those things are unlikely to change any time soon, but the way we process them can change today. Our narrative, the laundry list we tick off, the things we highlight for ourselves and others... our narrative is completely up to us.

The simple shortcut: the way we respond to the things that we can't change can instantly transform our lives. "That's interesting," is a thousand times more productive than, "that's terrible." Even more powerful is our ability to stop experiencing failure before it even happens, because, of course, it usually doesn't.

Happiness, for most of us, is a choice. Reality is not. It seems, though, that choosing to be happy ends up changing the reality that we keep track of.

Fear of public speaking

Very few people are afraid of speaking.

It's the public part that's the problem.

What makes it public? After all, speaking to a waiter or someone you bump into on the street is hardly private.

I think we define public speaking as any group large enough or important enough or fraught enough that we're afraid of it.

And that makes the solution straightforward (but not easy). Instead of plunging into these situations under duress, once a year or once a decade, gently stretch your way there.

Start with dogs. I'm not kidding. If you don't have one, go to the local animal shelter and take one for a walk. Give your speech to the dog. And then, if you can, to a few dogs.

Work your way up to a friend, maybe two friends. And then, once you feel pretty dumb practicing with people you know (this is easy!), hire someone on Craigslist to come to your office and listen to you give your speech.

Drip, drip, drip. At every step along the way, there's clearly nothing to fear, because you didn't plunge. It's just one step up from speaking to a schnauzer. And then another step.

Every single important thing we do is something we didn't use to be good at, and in fact, might be something we used to fear.

This is not easy. It's difficult. But that's okay, because it's possible.