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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.

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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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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.

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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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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

Dumb down and scale up

Small businesses rule our economy, and each successful small businesses is expected to get bigger.

Many successful small businesses are easily scaled. The owner has created something that can be repeated, a product that can be mass produced, a process that can be franchised. Scaling up serves more customers and benefits the founder.

But some businesses, maybe yours, are built around new decisions and new work on a regular basis. Those businesses are also under pressure to scale, and that might be a mistake.

To get bigger, the small business that's based on the insight, energy and passion of a few people might have to dumb down. It has to standardize, itemize and rationalize, so that it can hire people who care a little less, know a little less and work a little less, because, after all, they just work here.

Which means that in order to get bigger, the small businessperson sacrifices the very thing that brought in business in the first place.

What if getting bigger isn't the point? What if you merely got better?

It's entirely possible that you're a special snowflake, that your unique point of view and understanding and care are precisely what the market wants from you... if that's true, then hiring people to be almost-as-good-as-you isn't going to lead to more of what we seek. It just means that you're working harder than ever to cover for people who can't quite figure out how to be you.

An alternative: acknowledge your special sauce and hire people only when they help you do what you do best and uniquely. Don't worry about replicating yourself, focus instead on leveraging yourself.

Cassandra and Pollyanna

You will often hear from people who will announce that it's all over, that this is the crisis that ends it, once and for all. The Cassandra sees the end of the road for the project or the brand or the culture. It's the end, now.

Cassandra is countered by the Pollyanna, who thinks everything is fine, will be fine and always is fine.

[Update: I got the details of the mythological Cassandra wrong, sorry. In legend, she not only says the world is going to end, but she's right, because she has the ability to see the future. And her curse is that no one listens to her! My point below, though, still stands enough that I'll leave it here:]

The thing is: failure almost always arrives in a whimper. It is almost always the result of missed opportunities, a series of bad choices and the rust that comes from things gradually getting worse.

Things don't usually explode. They melt.

Learning from the State Department

Ambassadors do two things that are really difficult for most people within organizations:

1. They listen and send the notes up the chain. They're at the front line, and they listen to what's happening and figure out how to get the right people back home to hear what's being said.

2. They apologize. Not for things they did wrong, but for things that others did wrong.

If you work for a company that you don't own, if you interact with customers, you're a brand ambassador. The person who runs the cash register or answers the phone or makes sales calls is a brand ambassador, in the world on behalf of the amorphous brand, whatever that is.

I recently bought a few shirts from a big chain. They left the anti-theft tags on the shirts, which of course meant a drive and a hassle to go back to a different store in the chain to get them taken off.

Challenge number one is that the disrespected, overworked cashier will never be asked about what she learned from her interaction with me. There's nothing in place for information to flow.

And challenge number two is that she steadfastly refused to apologize for the hassle. It wasn't her fault, she knew, so what was there to apologize for?

We invented ambassadors because nothing can replace face to face interaction, particularly when messages travel sometimes quite slowly through complex organizations. Just like now.

This seems obvious, and it is, until you realize that organizations make two huge mistakes:

A. They don't hire brand ambassadors, they hire clerks and bureaucrats, and treat them and pay them accordingly.

and

B. They don't manage and lead brand ambassadors, don't measure and reward and create a cadre of people who can listen for the brand and speak for the brand.

Would you send the clerk on aisle 7 to speak to a head of state or vital partner on behalf of your company? Because that's what he's doing right now.

A new book, you're invited...

I've spent the last two years teaching and speaking and writing about doing work that matters, engaging with our lizard brain and finding the ability to dance with uncertainty.

All those interactions have led to: What to Do When It's Your Turn

This new book is about leaping and fear and doing work that challenges. It echoes many of the ideas I've been writing about here for the last year or two, but it's completely original work, all illustrated in four-color, in a new format that I haven't seen used to create a book. Mostly, I wrote it to make it easier for my readers to encourage the change they'd like to see in the people around them (and in ourselves). I wrote it for you, and I wrote it for me, too, to help me get straight about what matters in doing work that makes a difference.

I'm trying to capture some of the energy I'm able to bring to a live engagement, and so far, the people who have read it have found it opens doors for them and pushes them to think differently about their work. And everyone has asked if they can have copies for friends. Hence this pre-order opportunity for my most loyal readers and those seeking to make a ruckus.

About the pre-orders: The book comes out in December. My plan is to distribute it horizontally, from reader to reader, from fan to fan, as opposed to top down via retailers and promotion. For that to work, though, I need a few thousand fans who are willing to take a chance on me and order a pre-pack. They'll get the very first copies from the printer and have an easy way to share it with friends and colleagues. After a start like that, the book is on its own.

I'm announcing this now because I'm about to go to print and need to know how many to make...

My hope is that people won't be able to resist sharing it, just as we enjoy sharing digital work online.

For many people, of course, they'll prefer to wait, to see what others say, and to avoid being an early adopter. That's fine. Books last.

But, if you're up for it, I hope you'll check out the video and dive in so I can make an intelligent decision about how many to print. Who knows, if this works, we'll be able to make the change we seek happen even faster. Thanks for sharing.

"But why aren't you hysterical?"

I wonder if this has always been true: When things start to go awry, we get frustrated at leaders (or employees or co-workers) who seem to be calmly considering the options and doing their best work instead of hyperventilating. 

The amount of hysteria one demonstrates isn't at all related to how much work is being done (or how much we care).

You're right, they're wrong, but they won

Why is that? Is the world so unfair?

Actually, it might be because the other guys took the time and invested the effort to build a movement. They showed up, every time, again and again. They never contemplated that they might lose, even though they're wrong, sub-par or not as good as you are. Their operating system, corporate structure, political ideas or economic approach won.

Perhaps they told a story that resonated, one that resonated not with the better angels of our nature, but with our urgent desires. And most probably, they built a tribe, not one in their image, but in the image (and dreams) of those that wanted to belong.

But mostly, it's because they were prepared to spend a decade (or two or three) to change the culture of their part of the world in the direction that mattered to them.

Two ad campaigns of the moment

I don't usually write about these, because they're almost always over produced and riskless affairs promoting me-too and banal products.

But, consider this new book promo from O/R. They're also giving 20% off to Google employees, which is a clever touch.

And then amuse yourself with this pitch perfect ad from GE. Big-time ad execs could never run something this self-aware on TV, but of course, we don't need TV anymore. Not when people (instead of networks) spread around the stuff we choose to watch.

The sophistication of truth

A common form of complexity is the sophistication of fear.

Long words when short ones will do. Fancy clothes to keep the riffraff out and to give us a costume to hide behind. Most of all, the sneer of, "you don't understand" or, "you don't know the people I know..."

"It's complicated," we say, even when it isn't.

We invent these facades because they provide safety. Safety from the unknown, from being questioned, from being called out as a fraud. These facades lead to bad writing, lousy communication and a refuge from the things we fear.

I'm more interested in the sophistication required to deliver the truth.

Simplicity.

Awareness.

Beauty.

These take fearlessness. This is, "here it is, I made this, I know you can understand it, does it work for you?"

Our work doesn't have to be obtuse to be important or brave.

Wishing vs. doing

By giving people more ways to speak up and more tools to take action, we keep decreasing the gap between what we wish for and what we can do about it.

If you're not willing to do anything about it, best not to waste the energy wishing about it.

Two purposes of user feedback

What's a customer worth?

A customer at the local supermarket or at the corner Fedex Print shop might spend $10,000 or even $25,000 over the course of a few years. That's why marketers are so willing to spend so much time and money on coupons, promos and ads getting people to start doing business with us.

But what happens when it goes wrong? What if a service slip or a policy choice threatens that long-term relationship?

If you know what's broken, you can fix it for all the customers that follow. It seems obvious, but you want to hear what customers have to say. After all, if people in charge realize what's not working, the thinking is that they might want to change it.

At the same time, a critical but often overlooked benefit of open customer communication is that individuals want to be heard. Your disgruntled customer doesn't want to hear you to make excuses, and possibly doesn't even want you to fix yesterday's problem (probably too late for that), but she does want to know that you know, that you care, and that it's not going to happen again. Merely listening, really listening, might be enough.

Big organizations (and smaller, unenlightened ones) grab onto the data benefit and tend to ignore the "listening" one. Worse still, in their desire to isolate themselves from customers, they industralize and mechanize the process of gathering data (in the name of scale) and squeeze all the juiciness out of it.

If you live in the US, you might try calling 800-398-0242. That's the number Fedex Print lists on all their receipts, hoping for customer feedback. It's hard to imagine a happy customer working her way through all of these menus and buttons and clicks, and harder still to imagine an annoyed customer being happy to do all of this data processing for them.

The alternative is pretty simple: if you're about to lose a $10,000 customer, put the cell phone number of the regional manager on the receipt. That's what you and I would do if we owned the place, wouldn't we?

Answer the phone and listen. It's an essay test, not multiple choice.

When in doubt, be human.