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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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linchpin

Linchpin

An instant bestseller, the book that brings all of Seth's ideas together.

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meatball.sundae

Meatball Sundae

Why the internet works (and doesn't) for your business. And vice versa.

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permission.marketing

Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

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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.

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IN STORES:

purple.cow

Purple Cow

The worldwide bestseller. Essential reading about remarkable products and services.

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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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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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the.big.moo

The Big Moo

All for charity. Includes original work from Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Promise Phelon.

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the.big.red.fez

The Big Red Fez

Top 5 Amazon ebestseller for a year. All about web sites that work.

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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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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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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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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

Totally and completely out of my control

Gravity, for example.

I can't do a thing about gravity. Even if I wanted to move to Jupiter or the moon for a change in gravity, it's inconceivable that I could.

On the other hand, there are lots of things I can do to control my reaction to gravity. I can take Alexander classes or get in better shape. I can avoid situations where gravity makes me uncomfortable (the trapeze, for example). I can choose to not whine about gravity and its effects.

There are countless forces in our lives that are out of our control. That doesn't mean we can't do anything about how they influence our work and our life...

Squidthanks

Nine years ago last month, a few of us sat down in my office and started working on Squidoo. Since then, there have been billions of visits to our site, and many of you have clicked, written, and contributed to what we've built. We've been able to pay people from around the world for great content and donate to dozens of charities.

Thanks.

Squidoo was launched before Pinterest, Twitter and Medium were the platforms of the day. It arrived just in time to remind people that in fact they could share what they cared about with people who were interested in hearing about it.

Last week, we announced that HubPages is acquiring the key assets of Squidoo and HugDug, creating the largest site of its kind. Like most projects, this one is coming to a close, and we hope that the combined platform that we're giving to our users will allow them to do more than ever before. HubPages has built a platform that gives user content even more prominence online. I'm excited about where they're going.

I want to point you to the team that built (and even more arduously, improved) Squidoo for all of these years. Many of them are off to start new projects, and some are looking to join teams that are doing important work--people with this much talent don't find themselves in between projects for long. I can't say enough good things about the Squids--each and every one of them is a generous, talented and hardworking expert at what they do.

Thanks to those of you who were part of what we built. I can't wait to see what (all of us) build next.

Slacktivism

This is far from a new phenomenon. Hundreds of years ago there were holier-than-thou people standing in the village square, wringing their hands, ringing their bells and talking about how urgent a problem was. They did little more than wring their hands, even then.

In our connected world, though, there are two sides to social media's power in spreading the word about a charitable cause.

According to recent data about the ice bucket challenge making the rounds, more than 90% of the people mentioning it (posting themselves being doused or passing on the word) didn't make a donation to support actual research on an actual disease. Sounds sad, no?

But I think these slacktivists have accomplished two important things at scale, things that slacktivists have worked to do through the ages:

  1. They've spread the word. The fact is that most charities have no chance at all to reach the typical citizen, and if their fundraising strategy is small donations from many people, this message barrier is a real issue. Peer-to-peer messaging, even if largely ego-driven, is far better than nothing. In a sideways media world, the only way to reach big numbers is for a large number of people to click a few times, probably in response to a request from a friend.
  2. Even more important, I think, is that they normalize charitable behavior. It's easy to find glowing stories and infinite media impressions about people who win sporting events, become famous or make a lot of money. The more often our peers talk about a different kind of heroism, one that's based on caring about people we don't know, the more likely we are to see this as the sort of thing that people like us do as a matter of course.

Spreading the word and normalizing the behavior. Bravo.

The paradox? As this media strategy becomes more effective and more common (as it becomes a strategy, not just something that occurs from the ground up as it did in this case), two things are likely to happen, both of which we need to guard against:

  1. Good causes in need of support are going to focus on adding the sizzle and ego and zing that gets an idea to spread, instead of focusing on the work. One thing we know about online virality is that what worked yesterday rarely works tomorrow. A new arms race begins, and in this case, it's not one that benefits many. We end up developing, "an unprecedented website with a video walkthrough and internationally recognized infographics..." (actual email pitch I got while writing this post).
  2. We might, instead of normalizing the actual effective giving of grants and donations, normalize slacktivism. It could easily turn out that we start to emotionally associate a click or a like or a mention as an actual form of causing change, not merely a way of amplifying a message that might lead to that action happening.

The best model I've seen for a cause that's figured out how to walk this line between awareness and action is charity: water. My friend Bernadette and I are thrilled to be supporting their latest campaign. It would be great if you'd contribute or even better, start a similar one.

I think the goal needs to be that activism and action are not merely the right thing to do, but the expected, normal thing to do.

Who named the colors?

We did.

It's not a silly question. It has a lot to do with culture and crowds and the way we decide, as a group, what's right and what's not.

A quick look at some colors confirms that there is no algorithm, no accepted pattern for color names. They range from short and obscure (puce) to long and obvious references, like cotton candy.

No color has a name until a significant group accepts that name. You can start calling the sky, "gluten," but it's not going to be useful until others do as well.

That's what mass, cultural-shifting marketing does. It creates an idea or a label or a habit or a discussion and enables it to become a building block of our culture.

No one who invents a name for a color is applauded or instantly successful. It never works right away. And then, person by person, it starts to stick. The first person leaps, and leaps again, and persists, inventing something we sooner or later all decided we needed all along.

Escalators, elevators and the ferry

Escalators make people happy. They're ready when you are, there is almost never a line, and you can see progress happening the entire time.

Elevators are faster, particularly for long distances, but we get frustrated when we just miss one, and we often wonder when the next one is coming, even after a few seconds. (That's why lobbies have mirrors, to give you something to do when you're waiting).

The ferry schedule, invented by Cornelius Vanderbilt, is a third way to deal with transport. Instead of having each boat turn around the minute it arrived, he guaranteed when it would leave. We can build our day around a schedule...

[Or you could point them to the stairs.]

What do you offer your clients?

Skinny, sad and pale

On the first 100 pages of the new, thick issue of Vanity Fair, there are about 95 full page ads. Those ads feature, best I can count, 108 people. Of these, 24 of the people are some combination of not-sad and not-ghostly and not-skinny. The other 84 send precisely the same signal: Brands like ours feature people like this.

Here's the thing: green lights aren't green because there's something inherently go-ful about the color green. A long time ago, green got assigned to go, red to stop, and that's the semiotics of traffic.

The same is true for this class of luxury goods. There's nothing about too thin, too pale and really sad that implies that people will want to buy an expensive good, and in fact, there is probably data that shows that happy people actually lead to more sales. But these ads are about labeling and fitting in and sending a coherent signal. "Brands like ours advertise in places like this with ads like this."

In the tech world, ads featuring fonts like Myriad Pro and Helvetica send a similar signal. Creative people fall into the trap/use this shortcut of fitting in all the time, because so many other elements of their work feel risky, they choose to do what feels safe when the committee starts making ads.

And we make the same risk-averse decisions when we decide which trade shows to show our wares, what sort of stock photos to put on our website and alas, what sort of entrepreneurs we invest in. Culturally driven choices, not based on fresh analysis or actual impact.

We confuse the size of a diamond with how big a commitment of love the groom is making. We assume that movie characters that smoke cigarettes are more heroic or brooding. Or that how famous a college is has something to do with the future potential of those that attend. Executives assert that office size and inaccessibility are actually correlated with power...

Part of the art of making change happen is seeing which cultural tropes are past their prime and having the guts to invent new ones. 

Your arms race

If you're engaging in a neck and neck battle for supremacy, it's entirely possible you've lost track of the purpose of the work you set out to do in the first place.

Consider recent stats about college sports:

  • A coach who makes $6.9 million dollars a year
  • A weight training coach who makes more than $6,000 a week
  • A dozen non-profit universities spending more than $100,000,000 a year (each) on their athletic programs

What's it for? If winning is the point, and winning can be purchased with money that's available, then I guess it makes sense. 

But often, winning is a proxy for something else. I think it makes sense to figure out what that is before you spend a nickel. Does spending ten times as much give you ten times as much of what you set out to create in the first place? Is bigger the goal? Is first place the only way to get to where you're going?

"You have to continue to move forward. The moment you decide to stand still, the rest of the industry goes by you very quickly." The industry in discussion is college sports, and that's one athletic director's take.

Not just college, not just sports. When in doubt, try not to turn your mission into an industry. It's distracting. What are you giving up in order to win a game you didn't sign up for in an industry you don't need to dominate?

Better to do the work that's worth doing.

Doing the best I can

...is actually not the same as, "doing everything I can."

When we tell people we're doing the best we can, we're actually saying, "I'm doing the best I'm comfortable doing."

As you've probably discovered, great work makes us uncomfortable.

Just leave me to do my work!

I need a sales rep (or ten) to do the selling so I can do my work.

And investors to put up the money so I can do my work.

And an accounting staff so I won't have to think about inflows and outflows so I can do my work.

And an admin to process and answer all my email and my paperwork...

And employees who already know what to do so they won't ask me...

And an organization that not only doesn't make me go to meetings, but also instantly understands and adopts my best ideas...

And a coffee boy to bring me an espresso, a police escort so I don't get stuck in traffic and a publicist so every media outlet in the world communicates what I'm working on.

By now, you've probably realized:

This isn't going to happen. Not as completely or as flawlessly as we'd like to hope. We need the leverage that comes from working with other people, but that leverage also means that we're responsible. People who do great work also embrace the fact that this is their work too. It's not merely an interruption or a distraction, it's part of what they do. There are no monasteries reserved for productive, successful artists who regularly ship inspiring work. Our culture responds to instigators and impresarios who figure out how to make a ruckus in a complicated world.

Years ago, you had to work with a quill or a manual typewriter. You needed to wait for the post office and you had no free and highly-leveraged outlet for your work to be seen by others. You had no access to a huge, instant and free library of the work that has come before... and yet, despite all of those missing elements, great work was created.

My guess is that the few people who find themselves isolated with nothing to do but what they believe is their work find a way to distract themselves with something anyway. And people who have too many distractions to actually do any real work are in that bind because they haven't invested enough time, effort or risk in their organization and their process. Yes, there's a sweet spot. As you obtain leverage, that leverage becomes part of what your work becomes.

We are leaving you to do your work. Go!

What's it for?

and How will we know if it worked?

Answer these two questions first, please. If it's worth doing, it's worth knowing before you do it.

A hammer is for getting nails into wood, and it's pretty easy to tell if it does the job well. That's one reason why we have so many good hammers available to us--real clarity about what it's for, and whether it works or not.

Too often, we wait until we see what something does before we decide what we built it for.

[Examples: what's a receptionist for? Dog food? Life insurance?]