I’ve met Seth Godin only once in person. I attended one of his personal jam sessions (my term, not his) in New York. He changes you.
Not everyone gets that opportunity. However, I think Linchpin comes the closest to having your own personal jam session with Seth Godin, the master marketer. My first reaction to Linchpin was: this is Seth Godin, the acoustic version—raw and deeply passionate.
Written in his signature manifesto style, Linchpin is an anthem to the change we are all feeling. The world, companies, economics, technology, employment, and people all seem to be in caught in a revolution. And Godin takes on all these topics (he even debates Adam Smith).
His answer to dealing with all this turmoil? You!
The Linchpin is you. The appeal is to be remarkable—indispensible.
How you get there might surprise you. This is where you get that free jam session with Seth Godin. He coaches and motivates you to do it differently. He talks about being generous, creating art, and exerting emotional labor.
I could go and quote dozens of passages in this book (my copy is heavily marked), but it really is an experience. One that needs to be traveled alone because it will be unique to you. However, I will share some of the concepts that personally touched me:
Mediocrity of the Web
Godin pulls on a Hugh MacLeod quote to hit you with between the eyes with this one:
“The Web has made kicking ass easier to achieve, and mediocrity harder to sustain. Mediocrity now howls in protest.”
There really is no excuse for not trying. We now own the means of production. Marketing is nearly free if you focus on being really good. Your market will do it for you.
This really is the cornerstone of being a Linchpin. You need to be remarkable. And that might not be as hard as you think. Here is the framework I took from Godin:
- Stop feeling entitled to that job or career
- Indispensible is not just being different
- Exert emotional labor
- “Produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about”
Being a Linchpin is really about doing more with our personal passions and relationships than being a good employee/laborer.
The Gift of Emotional Labor
Gifts are a rapidly evolving part of our new economy. I’m not sure it’s really a debate over free, freeium, or freeconomics with a focus on business transactional models, but rather a consideration of the role of gifts in business.
My mother once taught me an invaluable lesson about how to give money to friends and family. She said, “Billy (I grew up in the South, everyone’s name ended with a “y”) never loan money to friends and family. Only give it as a gift and never expect it to be repaid.”
This advice has made me a very cheerful and frequent giver. And I have never lost a relationship over money.
I think this is the attitude Godin was explaining and the truth he highlights with Walt Whitman’s quote: “The gift is to the giver, and comes back to him…”
Seth Godin obviously believes strongly in this concept. Even his gift of this book to me was a coaching lesson in giving. My gift to the Acumen Fund returned me Seth’s gift of a free copy of Linchpin.
This book is a gift. You should get it. You should give it.
P.S., Don’t just take my word for it. Read other reviews of Linchpin.