Tuesday, February 9, 2010


A couple weeks ago, I mentioned I had a “few” books on my reading list, and last Sunday, I was able to check Linchpin off that list. Now, I’ve got to tell you something.

Seth Godin has completely blown my mind.

Seriously, this book was entertaining, inspiring, and a (relatively) quick read. (It’s difficult to summarize 240 pages into one post, but) Seth basically explains how the world (economy) has changed, and the only way to succeed in this new environment is to be indispensible (a linchpin). The last 250 years, we’ve lived in a “factory” society (it makes no difference if the factory makes cars, food, health care, or tax returns), and according to Seth, the American Dream was:

Keep your head down
Follow instructions
Show up on time
Work hard
Suck it up
. . . and you’ll be rewarded.

As we’ve seen the last decade (what with bankruptcies, lay-offs, economic uncertainty, etc.), this path is no longer a guarantee to a comfortable life. The new American dream is:

Be remarkable
Be generous
Create art
Make judgment calls
Connect people and ideas
. . . and we have no choice but to reward you.

But Seth isn’t necessarily imploring you to create art with a paint brush or a musical instrument. We are all artists, because "art, at least as I define it, is the intentional act of using your humanity to create a change in another person."

No one said being a linchpin would be easy. We’re pre-disposed (our “lizard brain”) to fight this notion of standing out and being remarkable. It’s much easy to just “do your job” and collect a paycheck. But if you want to be successful (aka happy), you can’t give in to this resistance.

There’s so much more to this book, but for the list-oriented people like myself, to be indispensable you must:

Provide a unique interface between members of your organization
Deliver unique creativity
Manage a situation or organization of great complexity
Lead customers
Inspire staff
Provide deep domain knowledge
Posses a unique talent

But what inspired me to tell you about how completely mind-blowing this book is??

I’ve been following Seth’s blog for about a year. In December he gave his readers a chance to get a preview copy of Linchpin a few weeks before it was released. Pretty sweet, huh?? All Seth asked in return was to make a donation ($30 minimum) to the Acumen Fund and share your thoughts on the book if you so feel led. In 49 hours, he raised over $108k. When I received my copy in early January he included a note thanking me for the donation and said there would be another surprise a few weeks later (aka now).

Like I said, I finished this book Sunday and I feel like I’ve been telling people about it since. Monday I even mentioned it to our Training Coordinator and said it would be a great book to deliver a training session on (I told him I’d be happy to help, of course). This is the kind of book you want to buy for all your co-workers, friends, and family.

Well, today I get home from work and see a random package from Barnes & Noble addressed to me??? (Did the LOML pre-order me The Big Short???). I opened it up and inside was another note from Seth. He said an important part of being indispensible is generosity, and he wanted to give me a SECOND COPY of Linchpin to share with a friend. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!?

Seth, you’re a gentleman and a scholar, and you’ve got a new convert in your tribe. Thank you for writing this book.

PS – the Tuna Tartare Burger I had for lunch today at FLIP Burger also completely blew my mind.

1 comment:

jccvi said...

I love the book so far, but I can't get it out of my head that the Dean on Community is the author.