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SETH'S BOOKS

Seth Godin has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages

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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

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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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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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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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How to win an argument with a scientist

Make better science.

The act of being a scientist is the commitment to the scientific method, a series of hypotheses, tests and re-evaluations. When you make better science, the scientist's previous opinion doesn't matter, not if she's being a scientist.

On the other hand, if you want to win an argument with someone who refuses to act like a scientist, making better science isn't going to help you very much.

The person you're arguing with now (who might be a scientist during the day, even, but is merely being a person right now) is not going to be swayed from a firmly held opinion by your work to make better science. It's more likely that it will take cultural pressure, shame, passion, humor, connection and a host of unreliable levers to make your point.

This disconnect is why it's so frustrating to encounter people with deeply-held pseudo-scientific beliefs about things like whether or not to support your project. It certainly feels like better science and the relentless power of the scientific method would be sufficient to help them get things straight, but they fail because, in fact, there's no science happening here.

Anecdotes, non-falsifiable premises and most of all, a willingness to change tactics if it helps maintain the culturally-enforced norm are all hallmarks of a non-scientific point of view. In other words, the sort of thing humans do all the time.

The easy way to tell the two varieties of argument apart is to ask, "what evidence would you need to see to change your mind about this?"

You don't know Lefsetz?

I was talking to someone dedicating his career to working in newspapers. I asked him what he thought of the work of Jeff Jarvis. He had no idea what I was talking about.

I met a musician the other day, and asked her how her work without a label was going, and referenced something by Bob Lefsetz. She didn't know who I meant.

The last time I was at an event for librarians, I mentioned Maria Popova. Blank stares.

A podcaster asked me a question, and I wondered if he admired the path Krista Tippett had taken. He had no clue.

A colleague was explaining his work in memetics to me. I asked about Dawkins and Blackmore. You guessed it...

Or Kenji on food, Cader on publishing, Underhill on retail, Lewis on direct mail copywriting and on and on...

We would never consent to surgery from a surgeon who hadn't been to medical school, and perhaps even more important, from someone who hadn't kept up on the latest medical journals and training. And yet there are people who take pride in doing their profession from a place of naivete, unaware or unlearned in the most important voices in their field.

The line between an amateur and professional keeps blurring, but for me, the posture of understanding both the pioneers and the state of the art is essential. An economist doesn't have to agree with Keynes, but she better know who he is.

If you don't know who the must-reads in your field are, find out before your customers and competitors do.

Too much doing, not enough knowing.

Is it meeting your needs…

Or merely creating new wants?

Is it honoring your time or squandering your time?

Is it connecting you with those you care about, or separating you from them?

Is it exposing you or giving you a place to hide?

Is it important, or only urgent?

Is it right, or simply convenient?

Is it making things better, or merely more pressing?

Is it leveraging your work or wasting it?

What is it for?

Unlimited scale

Nothing grows to infinity. Certainly no project or business or idea.

And saying, "as many as possible," implies a series of trade-offs that you're probably not actually interested in making.

One of the most important decisions we make is almost always made without thought, without discussion:

"How big do you want this to be?"

It's a question that always gets in the way of,

"How good do you want this to be?"

Why do you do it this way?

That's the simple test of a bureaucracy that has lost its way.

If your employees can't answer how something they do helps the customer or the company, you've insulated your people from their jobs.

"It's our policy," is not an answer to why. Saying the policy again, louder, is not an answer to why.

Their inability to answer this simple question might be because you haven't taken the time to teach your people how to think about the work you do. Or it might be because you're hiring people (or rewarding people) who don't want to think about your work.

Don't you want the people who do the work to understand it?  And don't you want your customers to feel respected by the people who serve them?

Politicians, patriots and statesmen

Some of the definitions are changing, but most fields have all three.

The politician used to be what we called a bureaucratic operative, someone who carefully chose his words and actions so he would offend no one. (Today, it's more likely to be someone who intentionally slows things down, who works hard to point fingers at the other side and is constantly on the hunt for money).

The patriot used to be someone who put aside his own interests in exchange for the organization he represents. (Today, it's more likely to be someone who's merely jingoistic, with a bit of short-term thinking thrown in for good measure). Plenty of blustering tech company CEOs could be put into this category.

And the statesman? The statesman is the person who will speak the truth, take the long-term view and do what's right, even if it hurts his position in the short-run. Fortunately, this definition hasn't changed much over the years. This is the leader who doesn't want to know which side someone is on before he can tell you if the decisions made were good ones or not. He's the one who works hard to see the world as it is, as opposed to insisting it must only be the way he expects. And mostly, he's the one you should work with, vote for or follow as often as you can.

Too often, the following statement is true, "For awhile, he was acting like a statesman, but then he became a short-term patriot and now he's merely a craven politician."

An interesting exercise: before you speak up (or fail to speak up) on something that matters, role play each of the three types and see which one matches your behavior.

How to go faster

How do you get to market faster than the competition? How do you become more efficient without violating the laws of physics? How do you save time, money and frustration?

It all comes down to decision hygiene:

1. Make decisions faster. You rarely need more time. Mostly, you must merely choose to decide. The simple test: is more time needed to gather useful data, or is more time merely a way to postpone the decision?

2. Make decisions in the right order. Do the decisions with the most expensive and time-consuming dependencies first. Don't ask the boss to approve the photos once you're in galleys, and don't start driving until you've looked at the map.

3. Only make decisions once, unless new data gives you a profitable reason to change your mind.

4. Don't ask everyone to help you decide. Ask the people who will either improve the decision or who have input that will make it more likely you won't get vetoed later.

5. Triage decisions. Some decisions don't matter. Some decisions are so unimportant that they are trumped by speed. And a few decisions are worth focusing on.

You don't need a consultant or a lot of money to radically improve your speed to market. You will speed up once you're comfortable going faster.

Can we talk about this?

Sometimes, words speak louder than actions.

Imagine how surprising and effective it would be if an infant said, "I'm so hungry, I feel like I might start to cry." Instead of guessing what the problem is, instead of finding ourselves emotionally fraught at all the screaming, we could get to the underlying truth of the problem.

Or consider how easy it is to get caught up with a co-worker who's disrespectful or a customer who is so distraught he can't see a way out of his problem. I've been to board meetings where the actions and the emotions were so loud it was difficult to hear what people really wanted to communicate.

It's easy to react, and it feels justified to do so. Tit for tat and "I'm not going to take this." But de-escalation through the power of words helps get to the truth far faster.

Commenting on the emotions that you are seeing is different than reflecting them back. Talking about what's happening defuses the tantrum that is just waiting to wreck the connection that could be become so valuable. 

If the goal is connection, then connect. [Coincidentally, just discovered this book on the topic.]

Choosing what's possible: Your turn to grow

On Tuesday, we opened applications for the altMBA, an intensive course designed to help people shift gears and make a bigger ruckus.

It's not an MBA. There's no accounting, finance or big business sleight of hand. It's also not a typical online course, with impersonal systems and no standards.

Instead, it's a personal small-group experience for people who want to make a difference... 

So far, we've received applications from engineers, artists, non-profit executives, designers, marketers, and founders.

Mostly, we're hearing from people who may be a lot like you. At seminars I've run in the past I see it again and again: everyone is sure that they're the least powerful, least qualified person in the room. And then we all lift each other up.

One applicant, a successful editor, told me, "The course description is the single most terrifying thing I have read in my whole life. And for that reason, I’m saying: yes, if you’ll have me."

What people take away from business school isn't the coursework. It's the ability to ship, to connect, to be surrounded by people who expect more from us.

It's easy to overlook how frightening it is for many people to even consider an opportunity like this. Change represents a threat, and for many of us, change is something to be avoided. If you know someone ready to step up, I hope you'll share this with them.

Groucho Marx famously didn't want to belong to any club that would have him as a member. And one reason for his hesitation was the very real fear of not getting in. I think he would have gotten a lot out of the altMBA, and while it's too late for Groucho, I hope you'll check it out...

Non-profits and stories that matter

Here's Cat Hoke talking about Defy Ventures.

And here's a brand-new interview about fundraising.

An alternative for a different audience: Givewell tells a story of radical, rational efficiency. 

And a link to my rant about gala economics from 2011.

I also enjoyed Jessica Hagy's free new ChangeThis manifesto.

It takes guts to care and it takes hubris to stand up and do something.