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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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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.

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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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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.

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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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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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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

Asking why

Again.

And then again.

If we keep asking why all the way to the beginning of the thread, we might come to understand how it is that this is the way we do things around here. And then realize that we might come out ahead if we care enough to change it.

Choices

Non-obvious actions taken in obvious moments, difficult decisions that might be easier to avoid, responses instead of reactions, and most of all, the choices we make when it doesn't even seem like we have a choice--all of these, taken together, define who we are and the impact we make.

"I had no choice," actually means, "I had only one path that was easy in the moment."

The agenda we invent and act on defines our organizations, our work, and the people we choose to become.

The alternative gift card

Alert shoppers know that gift cards are a little bit of a scam, and a copout as well.

What to do if the last minute has arrived and all you have is the internet and a printer?

One thought: establish a pattern of giving. You can give a loan to a nascent entrepreneur, buy a cow for a farmer, invest in a new school here or here. Easy to print out, easier to wrap.

It will certainly have far more impact (and less breakage) than something from the iTunes store.

Another thought: order a book that, in January, when it's quieter, will make some serious change. What a great way to say, "I care about you, and I think you're smart."

Print out the cover and share the joy again when it arrives and again after it has done its work. Consider Steve Pressfield, Brene Brown or possibly my new book.

(Here are three more, for designers.)

The meritocracy trap

This recent quote from an early PayPal exec is absurd: “If meritocracy exists anywhere on earth, it is in Silicon Valley.”

It's pretty common for successful people to imagine that their success is solely the result of merit. It's more satisfying than pointing to all the external factors that have contributed to that success. The trap is in being satisfied. Satisfaction in their meritocracy causes companies, industries and cultures to calcify, to harden themselves against new ideas and new people.

CULTURE is something we create, and culture works against pure merit. That's because culture creates insulation and connections and histories that count at least as much as the pure horsepower of merit.

HEAD STARTS get compounded. Early success gives people the resources, confidence and connections that can be used to create later success. 

LOCK IN means that organizations and ideas can succeed far longer than they would without it. You don't give up on a social network or smart phone merely because one element of it isn't the best available one. It's easier to stick than to switch.

And of course, lock in goes way beyond operating systems. It includes worldviews, friendships, momentum of all kinds.

At the philharmonic, the first chair violinist might believe the job came solely as a result of merit, through blind auditions. But the combination of culture (going all the way back to the age of 5, combined with access to teachers, combined with the tenure that comes with many roles) means that even at these rarified heights, merit alone isn't the guiding force. On this day, is this violinist actually the very best violinist in the world? (And defining merit gets super difficult once we mix it together with vague measures of effort and potential).

And so, in Silicon Valley there is a deeply ingrained culture that rewards people who understand it, that play by certain rules and have access to various resources that seem out of reach to many. A great idea, powerful work ethic and good design are rarely sufficient on their own. And lucky people who are bold enough to dig in often find that early effort leads to a head start, that they can choose to compound, which, in the most legendary cases, leads to a lock-in a market that can last for a decade or more. 

And of course, it's not just Silicon Valley. It's the breaks I got along the way, the resources that let me do my work and the ability to post this blog daily, it's the farmer who was born with access to a better piece of land, it's everywhere where we build a culture, a system for creating utility, a network. And it works. Until it doesn't.

For me, the huge hurdle we face is, "seems out of reach." In cultures and economies with rapid change (and the Valley certainly qualifies) there are huge opportunities, but too many people talk themselves out of reaching, aren't thirsty enough to take a leap. Part of that resistance comes from the industry itself proclaiming its meritocracy as opposed to actively opening doors and selling people (hard) on finding the thirst, the desire to leap.

[If someone is looking for a true meritocracy, where the deck is reshuffled and the best weighs in first, check out pumpkin growing].

Festivus (and the airing of grievances)

In order to air your grievances, of course, you first have to list them, prioritize them, amplify them and intensely relive them.

To prepare for the airing of grievances, a ceremony we often partake in but which rarely produces anything of value, we make ourselves unhappy all over again.

Perhaps we could have an airing of privileges instead. Or an airing of good fortune. An airing of times we've been trusted or supported or given a chance. Those lists are much more productive to make.

Other than that, a fabulous holiday. Enjoy.

Right of way

It started with boats, but over the centuries, it is practiced everywhere... we establish cultural rights of way, a hierarchy of precedence about who gets to go first. We need a default because we can't always have a discussion about who goes next in the moment.

Motorboats, for example, are generally expected to veer out of the way of a sailboat (instead of the other way around). This makes sense, of course, because they have more options and can recover more easily.

That's one way to prioritize who gets to go first: the small over the big, the one who needs it over the one would could handle the interruption. It's annoying for the motorboat, but vital for the sailboat.

Lately, we seem to be making some new decisions about right of way that change this perspective. That cars ought to have right of way over pedestrians and bicycles. That huge corporations have right of way over individuals. That the authorities have the right of way over the presumed innocent, and that the marketer's infinite need-for-attention has right of way over quiet and privacy.

What would happen if the default was that roads are for pedestrians and bicycles unless otherwise stated, and what would happen if pleasing corporations was seen as an exception in the priorities of those that regulate them?

[There's no right answer in issues of societal right of way, there is nothing but compromises and judgment calls. At either extreme, everything breaks down, and so the question is: where do you want us to be? Where do you draw the line? Is it up to us?]

It's possible to argue that roads are more efficient when bikes don't clog them up, and that our illusion of security increases when the default is to know everything about everyone. Most of all, that corporations are more profitable when they don't have to worry about the people who don't fit their model.

It doesn't seem like much of a cost to ask individuals to get out of the way, until, all at once, we realize just how expensive it was to totally prioritize power and efficiency over humanity and justice.

Daily

There's a fundamental difference between the things you do every day, every single day, and the things you do only when the spirit moves you.

One difference is that once you've committed to doing something daily, you find that the spirit moves you, daily.

Rather than having a daily debate about today's agenda, you can decide once that you will do something, and then decide every single day how to do it.

Who let the air out of the balloon?

Music, newspapers, books... most forms of media were exciting, high-pressure hothouses, environments with hits and winners and action and impact.

Many players in these industries are now trying to figure out where all the zing went. The mattering seems to have left. Where did it go?

It turns out that the air didn't get let out, the balloon disappeared.

Balloons have pressure because there's only one tiny opening. Scarce shelf space. Only room for one newspaper. Only forty titles on the Billboard chart. It's that opening that creates the environment that allows pressure to exist, that pulls the rest of the balloon taut.

But the opening is wide open now. The market has been offered infinity. Instead of a narrow, scarce selection of hits, those that consume media can have all of it, all the time. The long tail plus bite-sized pieces plus constant snacking.

A few generations ago, Gone With The Wind played at the only movie theater in town--every night for a year. Forty years ago, books stayed on the bestseller list for a year or more. Fifteen years ago, the front page ad on Yahoo was sold out for years in advance. Buying the one and only ad on the 'front page of the internet' was a no-brainer, a bargain at any price. Today, of course, there isn't a front page you can buy an ad on. No spot next to the cash register at the biggest chain of bookstores, either.

The abundance of choice feels like a good thing for those that want a choice. But yes, someone got rid of the balloon. All the economics are changing, as are consumption patterns, and they're shifting faster that the mindsets of those that create and publish.

Stop looking for the balloon. It's gone.

This or that vs. yes or no

It's much easier to persuade a philanthropist to fund your project than it is to persuade a rich person to become a philanthropist.

Encouraging someone to shift slightly, to pick this instead of that, is a totally different endeavor than working to turn a no into a yes, to change an entire pattern of behavior.

When looking to grow, start with people who already believe that they have a problem you can help them solve.

Clear language and respect

Our connection economy thrives when people understand what to expect from one another. We're more likely than ever to engage in interactions that involve an exchange, something that deserves a specific clarification. I'll do this and you'll do that.

More and more agreements are being made, because more and more transactions happen outside or between organizations. The question then: What does good drafting look like?

If the agreement starts with "whereas" and continues along with, "notwithstanding the foregoing," and when it must be decoded by a lawyer on the other side, something has gone wrong. These codewords, and the dense language that frequently appears in legal agreements, are symptoms of a system out of whack. It's possible to be precise without being obtuse. 

There's actually no legal requirement that an agreement not be in specific, clear, everyday English. To do otherwise disrespects the person you're hoping to engage with. There's no legal requirement that even the terms of service for a website can't be clear and easy to understand. In fact, if the goal is to avoid confusion and the costs of the legal system when conflicts occur, the more clear, the better.

Consider this clause, which can change everything: "Any disagreements over the interpretation of this agreement will be resolved through binding, informal arbitration. Both of us agree to hire a non-involved attorney, submit up to five pages of material to state our case, and abide by her decision."

The best thing about this clause is that you'll almost never need it. Mutual respect and clear language lead to agreements that work.