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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

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.

ONLINE:

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.

ONLINE:

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.

ONLINE:

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.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:


THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




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Member since 08/2003

What got you here...

Without a doubt, your hard work in test prep led to better SAT scores, which got you into college. It's not clear, though, that SAT prep skills are going to help you ever again.

I know that all those years of practicing (8 hours a day!) got you plenty of praise and allowed you to reach a high level on the bassoon. It's not clear, though, that practicing even more is going to be the thing that takes your career where you want it to go.

Of course you needed a very special set of skills to raise all that money for your company. But now, you've raised it. Those same skills aren't what you need to actually build your company into something that matters, though.

Successful people develop a winning strategy. It's the work and focus and tactics that they get rewarded for, the stuff they do that others often don't, and it works. Until it doesn't.

When times get confusing, it's easy to revert to the habits that got you here. More often than not, that's precisely the wrong approach. The very thing that got you here is the thing that everyone who's here is doing, and if that's what it took to get to the next level, no one would be stuck.

What's on your agenda (a summer seminar)

If you're about to leap, working on something important and generous, perhaps it makes sense to come to my office for a week this summer.

I'm hosting a seminar for 15 people in late July. You can find out all the details right here.

It's for people early in their career, people with a proven track record of standing up and picking themselves, of doing work that matters. Tuition is free.

Applications are due right away.

If you know someone who might benefit from this, please let them know.

The problem with hit radio

When you only listen to the top 40, you're letting the crowd decide what you hear.

And if you consume nothing but the most liked, the most upvoted, the most viral, the most popular, you've abdicated responsibility for your incoming. Most people only read bestselling books. That's what makes them bestsellers, after all.

The web keeps pushing the top 40 on us. It defaults to 'sort by popular,' surfacing the hits, over and over.

Mass markets and math being what they are, it's likely that many of the ideas and products you consume in your life are in fact, consumed because they're the most popular. It takes a conscious effort to seek out the thing that's a little less obvious, the choice that's a little more risky.

Popular is not the same as important, or often, not the same as good.

Thanks, Jack

Jack Covert is retiring tomorrow. You can see some of his work here and here and here.

Jack Covert is one of the most important people in my little village of book publishing, a single individual outside the normal circles of New York, someone who cares and does something about it.

Jack Covert relentlessly sees possibility when other people are ready to shrug their shoulders and walk away.

Jack Covert is a role model for all the people who care. Not just who do their job, but who actually show up, every single day, eager to make a difference, eager to connect, eager to find something special.

Jack reminds us of what publishing used to be and what it could be again. He's a man of his word, someone with extraordinary vision and drive, and most of all, someone who cares.

We'll miss Jack. Every single day, this industry will be poorer because one of the great ones has retired.

Tribal organizing (right and wrong, slow and fast)

Where do community organizers fall off the rails?

Crisis—They communicate to their audience with invented urgency. Everything is an emergency, a crisis that must be dealt with now, or it's all over. This boosts short-term response, of course, but destroys attention and trust. The boy shouted wolf, but the villagers didn't come.

Cash—They fundraise. All the time. Everything that isn't a crisis is a pitch for money, or sometimes it's both. They justify this by pointing out that without money, the other other side will win.

Cliffs—Most pernicious of all is a focus on today, not tomorrow. One campaign manager said to me, "I don't care a bit about what happens to this list a week from now. If we don't win the election, it doesn't matter. Burn em if you need to, we go out of business on election day." What a selfish, antisocial, cynical way to view the world. 

On the other hand, effective tribes are built around: 

Connection—We are here for the members of the tribe and the change they seek to make. Are people in this for the long haul, the destination as well as the journey? What do we stand for? Are relationships being built, or is this merely an ATM?

Commitment—There's no cliff. This is a mission, a journey, a cultural convenant for the long haul. We'll be here tomorrow and next year and ten years after that.

Conversation—It might feel like a broadcast tool, but it's not. The tribe thrives when it talks to itself, not when it merely listens to you shout.

(More on Tribes can be found here).

Three kinds of advertising

Direct response ads pay for themselves (at least they do when they work). Socially acceptable paid-for interruption leads to response, and the response (a sale, generally) generates revenue and you can run the ad again. Google's business is driven by direct response advertising.

Trust ads are generally unmeasurable. "I've heard of these guys, somewhere." Without consciously realizing it, we often choose to do business with the familiar, and ads increase familiarity. Particularly the right ad that runs in the right place. This is old school advertising, the first kind that appeared on TV. This is advertising that tells a story, advertising about belief, not necessarily action.

Demand enhancement ads remind us that on a hot day, we'd like a cold drink. They are ads designed to tickle and provoke, to increase the number of people in the market for what it is you sell. This is the best kind of billboard, the one that says, "next exit."

Every once in a while, an ad does all three things, but that's a foolish thing to hope for. Budget appropriately, because the very worst thing you can do with an ad is spend too little--it will get you the same results as spending nothing.

Asking or announcing...

When you ask someone if they would use your new product, buy your new widget or participate in your new service once it's ready, you will get a lie in response.

It might be a generous lie ("sure, I love this") or it might be a fearful lie ("here are the six reasons I would never use this"). The fearful lies cause us to scale back, to shave off, to go for mediocre. And the generous lies push us to launch stuff that's just not very good.

People don't mean to mess you up, but you've made the error of asking them to imagine a future they have trouble imagining. It's incredibly different than asking them to justify what they already do. "Why did you buy that particular car?" queries a completely different part of the brain than, "would you buy this new kind of car?"

Imagine the early focus groups for an early modern car. "Why does the transmission say 'd' instead of 'f'? F means forward!" "Why doesn't the window work the way the windows in my house work?" "There should be a lot of warnings on this thing, it could kill someone." "There's a radio? Why don't you make the car good at just one thing..."

It's one thing for someone to explain why they read and liked a particular book. It's another to ask them if they would read it, or even publish it. Almost everyone is horribly bad at this sort of explanation.

Steve Krug has written a really useful book about this. The takeaway is to never again run an amateur focus group, never ask an investor to help you think about what the market wants. Instead, we have to show, not tell, must create environments where people choose, then ask them why.

To be seen

A recent article outlines how NFL cheerleaders are paid less than minimum wage, disrespected and treated quite poorly. So why do they put up with this lousy behavior?

In many ways, the appeal is an extension of what we were taught in high school. To be seen, to be noticed, to be picked. Even more than that, it's part of the human condition: To be part of something, in a small way, to matter.

Despite the obvious inequity of working for free for billionaires to celebrate players paid millions on behalf of advertisers earning even more, despite the conditions and the insults, people keep trying out to be picked by the team. For now.

The shift that's happening due to the long-tail open nature of new media, though, is that it's easier than ever to pick yourself and to be seen (even if it's not on national TV). It's easier than ever to start your own dance troupe, to build a group that will travel to cheer enthusiastically, for hire. It's easier than ever for anyone to be seen in videos or heard in podcasts or read online.

The fascinating lesson about human nature is that people aren't always driven by a rational analysis of work as an exchange of labor for cash. We want to be seen and we seek to belong. It's a shame when an organization takes advantage of that and treats people unfairly.

When we offer people a chance to matter and to be seen, we have the chance to offer them something magical. 

Conventions and expectations

When you launch something new, you're almost certainly placing it into a section of the world that already has expectations about how things like this are supposed to work. A university gives diplomas. Restaurant waiters take tips. Software ought to have a 'save as' button.

It can be far more subtle than that. An emergency room waiting area looks very different from the waiting area at the chiropractor's office, even though both have the same function (waiting). The sound quality and background noise on a personal phone call sounds subtly different from one that's coming from a call center. A well-published book has chapters that start on the right-hand page.

Challenging conventions is precisely what makes your thing new. Hence unconventional. The difficulty comes when you challenge conventions and defy expectations that you weren't planning on upsetting. The inadvertent skipping of what we expect causes you to frustrate us, or to appear as an uncaring, unprepared amateur, or both.

Polish comes from domain knowledge, from having an intimate understanding of what people like your customers expect when they encounter something like the thing you just built. Sure, violate those expectations when they serve your needs. The rest of the time, though, it's smart to play along.

Your choice

Habits are a choice

Giving is a choice

Reactions are a choice

Ideas are a choice

Connections are a choice

Reputation is a choice

The work is a choice

Words are a choice

Leading is a choice

No one can be responsible for where or how we each begin. No one has the freedom to do anything or everything, and all choices bring consequences. What we choose to do next, though, how to spend our resources or attention or effort, this is what defines us.