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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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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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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

Go first

Before you're asked.

Before she asks for the memo, before the customer asks for a refund, before your co-worker asks for help.

Volunteer.

Offer.

Imagine what the other person needs, an exercise in empathy that might become a habit.

Two new videos

No content online is 'rare', but here are two presentations you might not have seen before:

...from the Maker Faire, and here's a speech I did last year at Nearly Impossible in Brooklyn:

Seth Godin | Nearly Impossible 2013 from Nearly Impossible on Vimeo.

Weight thrown and the slippery slope

Sometimes it's fun or profitable to throw your weight around, to get customers or partners or students or the media or even local government agencies to do what you need them to do.

Inevitably, weight throwers come to a fork in the road:

Are you doing this to get people to do what's good for them or what's good for you?

When a teacher uses her power to get students to study (not in their short-term interest, at least not right now), she's doing them a service.

When a retailer or manufacturer uses purchasing power and scale to bring a product to market that people weren't expecting, it's probably because the customers will end up delighted.

Any time an organization pushes to change the status quo on behalf of its mission, causing the change they exist to make in the world, they're building something that will last.

But often, the opposite happens. Organizations in power change their pricing or their technology or their policies because it's good for the organization, because it raises quarterly earnings, most often because it's easier for them. They change the way they do support, or the promises they keep to long-term customers and vendors. Often, the people who count beans are making the decisions, not those that count positive change on behalf of those they serve.

And it works. For a while. And then it doesn't, because even powerful organizations don't last forever, especially when those that have been pushed discover that they might just have other options.

Throw your weight around, please. But do it for those you serve, not against them.

"I don't have any good ideas"

That's a common mantra among those that say that they want to leap, but haven't, and aren't, and won't.

What they're actually saying is, "I don't have any ideas that are guaranteed to work, and not only that, are guaranteed to cause no criticism or moments when I'm sure the whole thing is going to fall apart."

And that sentence is probably true.

But no good ideas? C'mon.

Here's a simple hack that takes whatever word you put in the seed box and comes up with a fresh game idea you've never had before. And it can do it over and over and over again. Pretty good ideas are easy. The guts and persistence and talent to create, ship and stick it out are what's hard.

At least you know what's holding you back. The good news is that those skills are available to anyone who cares enough to acquire them.

The special problem

Yes, it's possible that your particular challenge is unique, that your industry, your job situation, your set of circumstances is so one-of-a-kind that the general wisdom doesn't apply.

And it's possible that your problem is so perfect and you are so stuck that in fact there's nothing out there that can help you.

Possible, but not likely.

When you complain that you need ever more specific advice because the general advice just doesn't apply, consider looking for your fear instead. As Steve Pressfield has pointed out, the resistance is a wily adversary, and one of the clever ways it will help us hide from the insight that will lead to forward motion is to play the unique, this-one-is-different card.

We can learn by analogy, if we're willing to try and fail, and mostly, if we're willing to get unstuck.

The first step is acknowledging that our problem isn't that special.

When in doubt, re-read rule one

Rule one has two parts: 

a. the customer is always right

b. if that's not true, it's unlikely that this person will remain your customer.

If you need to explain to a customer that he's wrong, that everyone else has no problem, that you have tons of happy customers who were able to successfully read the instructions, that he's not smart enough or persistent enough or handsome enough to be your customer, you might be right. But if you are, part b kicks in and you've lost him.

If you find yourself litigating, debating, arguing and most of all, proving your point, you've forgotten something vital: people have a choice, and they rarely choose to do business with someone who insists that they are wrong.

By all means, fire the customers who aren't worth the time and the trouble. But understand that the moment you insist the customer is wrong, you've just started the firing process.

PS here's a great way around this problem: Make sure that the instruction manual, the website and the tech support are so clear, so patient and so generous that customers don't find themselves being wrong.

Project management for work that matters

  1. Resist the ad hoc. Announce that this is a project, and that it matters enough to be treated as one.
  2. The project needs a leader, a person who takes responsibility as opposed to waiting for it to be given.
  3. Write it down. All of it. Everything that people expect, everything that people promise.
  4. Send a note confirming that you wrote it down, specifically what you heard, what it will cost and when they will have it or when they promised it.
  5. Show your work. Show us your estimates and your procedures and most of all, the work you're going to share with the public before you ship it.
  6. Keep a log, a notebook, a history of what you've done and how. You'll need it for the next project.
  7. Source control matters. Don't change things while people are reviewing them, because then we both have to do it twice.
  8. Slack is your friend. Slack is cheaper, faster and more satisfying than wishful thinking. Your project will never go as well as you expect, and might take longer than you fear.
  9. Identify and obsess about the critical path. If the longest part of the project takes less time than you planned, the entire project will take less time than you planned.
  10. Wrap it up. When you're done, take the time to identify what worked and what didn't, and help the entire team get stronger for next time.

Lessons from the Eiffel Tower

  • It was designed at home, on the kitchen table...
  • by someone who didn't get their name on it
  • Never been done before, not guaranteed to get built or to work
  • It was criticized by hundreds of leading intellectuals and cultural experts
  • It wasn't supposed to last very long
  • It's designed to be an icon, it's not an accident
  • People flock to it because it's famous
  • You can sketch a recognizable version of it on a napkin

Your turn to build one. Happy Bastille Day.

Literacy (and unguided reading)

Two hundred years ago, the government of Sweden changed everything: They required all their citizens to be literate. It transformed every element of the culture and economy of Sweden, an effect that's felt to this day.

Television, of course, is a great replacement for the hard work of learning to read and write, but, if you think about it, so are autocratic governments and dogmas that eliminate choice. Unguided reading is a real threat, because unguided reading leads to uncomfortable questions.

Teach someone to read and you guarantee that they will be able to learn forever. Teach an entire culture to read and connections and innovations go through the roof.

The self-driving reset of just about everything in our cities

Self-driving cars are going to be a huge transformational disruption, and they're probably going to happen faster than most people expect.

Starting in cities, starting with car-sharing, the economics and safety implications are too big to avoid:

  • Few traffic jams--cars will have a slower top speed, but rarely stop
  • No traffic lights--cars talk to each other
  • Dramatically less pollution
  • Pedestrians are far safer, bicycling becomes fun again
  • No parking issues--the car drives away and comes back when you need it
  • Lower costs and more access for more people more often
  • Instant and efficient carpooling, since the car knows who's going where

Most of the physical world around us is organized around traditional cars. Not just roads, but the priority they get, the roadside malls, fast food restaurants, the fact that in many cities, more space is devoted to parking lots than just about anything else. It's pervasive and accepted, so much that we notice with amazement the rare places that aren't built around them.

Understand, for example, that the suburb exists because of the car, as does the big amusement park and the motel. All of them were built by people who saw the changes private mobility would cause.

The self-driving car benefits from Moore's Law, which explains that computers get dramatically cheaper over time, and Metcalfe's Law, which describes the increasing power of networks as they get bigger and more connected. Both of these laws are now at work on one of the biggest expenses and most powerful forces in our world: transportation.

Like all innovations, the death of the non-autonomous vehicle is not all upside. The car industry gets mostly commodified, jobs are shifted and distruptions occur. Privacy for teenagers, ordinary citizens and bank-robbers-making-an-escape disappears. The suburbs become even less attractive to some people. But just as you can't imagine a city scene where just about everyone isn't looking at their smart phone and swarming in the virtual cloud, it's going to be a whole new cityscape once cars retreat from their spot at the top of the attention/command chain.

One way this might happen: Certain models will be labeled as Uber-compatible (or whatever network is in place). Buy that car and with a few clicks, the car starts earning its keep. When you're at work or asleep or otherwise engaged, it moonlights and drives other folks around. The combination of security cameras in your car and rider registration pretty much guarantees that your car isn't going to come back wrecked. It's not hard to imagine organizations building fleets to profit from this (a medallion replacement) but it also becomes economically irresistible to the individual as well.

This is a bigger shift than the smart phone, and it might happen nearly as fast.

Near my house, there's a parkway that was built so that owners of private cars would have a place to go where they could drive them without endangering everyone else. I wonder how long before that's what it will be used for again.