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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).

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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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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.

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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

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.

In search of competition

Most companies (and non-profits) fear competition. American Airlines, our worst possible domestic airline, always does best in routes where travelers don't have a choice. When customers don't have a choice, you can raise profits and lower quality and people just have to deal with it. You can happily be the profitable choice of last resort, the place for people with nowhere else to go.

Some organizations, though, work to find competition instead of fleeing from it. If you have a system, a point of view and a process for growth, then a market that already exists is your friend, the next place you can grow. And so, for example, small chains like Five Guys and Shake Shack are happy to set up shop right next to fast food places that might represent competition.

This is one reason Amazon's efficiencies are so fearsome--they prefer to start in a market with competition.

On the other hand, if you're depending on being alone in your field, then your charitable cause, your brokerage business or your industrial entity is going to have a hard time finding the next place to grow.

(Semi-related trivia: In high school and college, I was so bad at school elections—losing every single one—I finally decided I would only run for slots where I was unopposed. Amazingly, I lost that one too, and wisely stopped competing for votes—sometimes, competition is a choice.)

Most of all, money is a story

Money's pretty new. Before that, we traded. My corn for your milk. The trade enriches both of us, and it's simple.

Money, of course, makes a whole bunch of other transactions possible. Maybe I don't need your milk, but I can take your money and use it to buy something I do need, from someone else. Very efficient, but also very abstract.

As we ceased to trade, we moved all of our transactions to the abstract world of money. And the thing about an abstract trade is that it happens over time, not all at once. So I trade you this tuition money today in exchange for degree in four years which might get me a better job in nine years. Not only is there risk involved, but who knows what the value of anything nine years from now is?

Because of the abstraction and time shift, we're constantly re-evaluating what money is worth. Five dollars to buy a snack box on an airplane is worth something very different than five dollars to buy a cup of coffee after a fancy meal, which is worth something different than five dollars in the grocery store. That's because we get to pretend that the five dollars in each situation is worth a different amount--because it's been shifted.

Most of the time, when we're buying non-commodity items, we're asking ourselves questions like:

  • How much pain am I in right now?
  • Do I deserve this?
  • What will happen to the price in an hour or a week? If it changes, will I feel smart or dumb?
  • What will my neighbors think?
  • Does it feel fair?
  • and, What sort of risks (positive and negative) are involved? (This is why eBay auctions don't work for the masses).

Pricing based on cost, then, makes no sense whatsoever. Cost isn't abstract, but value is.

The opposite of why is now

Questions are good. A legitimate, "why?" is enough to change the world.

But stalling, stalling is the last thing you need. And why is often an escape hatch for people who know what they should do, but fear doing it. It's easier to ponder, to question the meaning of this or our role in where we go next.

The best answer for the stalling why is: Go.

[and of course, the best response to the impetuous, status-quo driven 'Go' is to ask, "why?"]

Framers and polishers

The framer asks the original question, roughs out the starting designs, provokes the new thing.

The polisher finds typos, smooths out the rough edges and helps avoid the silly or expensive error.

Both are important. Unpolished work is hardly worth doing. 

Polishing is relentlessly reinforced in school and feels safe. Framing is fraught with risk and thus avoided by many. Too often, we spend our time on a little more polish, instead of investing in the breakthrough that a framer can bring.

Emotionally obsolete

Innovations often succeed by creating obsolence.

There's functional obsolence which is powerful but rare. If I own a word processor so I can create documents and edit them with others, a new version of the software (with a new file format) makes my software obsolete. When my colleagues send over a document, I have no choice but to upgrade.

Functional obsolescence is almost always caused by interactivity--when files or cables or parts or languages don't connect any longer, they become obsolete.

Far more common is emotional obsolescence. The rage you feel when an improved laptop is announced a week after you bought a new one is an example of this. Your old laptop does everything it used to do, of course, but one reason you bought it was to have the 'best laptop' and the launch of a newer model undoes that for you.

Modern architecture has made many existing office buildings emotionally obsolete, because they are no longer the trophies they used to be. A newfangled digital device for audiophiles doesn't do anything to make old CD players functionally obsolete, but it certainly can shatter the illusion of sound perfection that a stereo lover who doesn't own one may be experiencing.

Start by realizing that most people who buy a new innovation are not brand new to the market. They buy the new thing as a step up from an old thing. Most hockey equipment is sold to people who already play hockey.

It's tempting to argue, logically and step by step, why your new product or service is better than the one that's already on the market. It's far more likely, though, that your story will resonate most with people who aren't seeking functionality but instead were happy with the thing they had, but now, thanks to you, believe it has become obsolete. Our neophilia is a powerful desire, and buyer's remorse is its flipside.

The most important question

It's not:

Is my price low enough?

Is it reliable enough?

Do I offer enough features?

Am I on the right social media channels?

Is the website cool enough?

Am I promising enough?

No, the most important question in marketing something to someone who hasn't purchased it before is,

"Do they trust me enough to believe my promises?"

Without that, you have nothing.

If you have awareness but people haven't bought from you before, it's likely they don't trust you as much as you would hope. If you are extending from one business to another, it's also likely. In fact, if your value proposition is solid but sales aren't being made, look for trust issues.

Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.