There has been a lot of interest in the blogosphere about this book – Linchpin – and I want to add my tuppence worth.
I confess to being in awe of Seth Godin. I follow his blog, read his books and wish I had his amazing mind and eloquent writing skills. In some ways I have allowed his genius to demoralise me. When Seth is your benchmark very little seems to make the grade.
Picking up the book my interest was immediately piqued by the unusual table of contents. It’s more like a Google listing. A title and a commentary. Some entries made me think. Some made me smile. Already predisposed to like the book – I knew I would be reading it in one sitting.
The first paragraphs of the introduction opened a door of possibility in my mind.
‘No one is a genius all the time,’ says Seth.
‘They’re not?’ Thought I.
‘…all of us are geniuses sometimes.’
The discussion in the book continues around the tragedy of our upbringing and conditioning; the training that contains, suppresses and discourages our individual genius. If we have been through mainstream school this is very hard to avoid.
Throughout the book Seth refers to some of the seminal works on socio-economic theory. The bibliography is made real and amusing by his commentary. I was pleased to read Seth’s take on the e-myth books. How many business consultants hold these up as THE manual for small and startup businesses? I suddenly felt validated in my own thinking about the books – albeit a trifle sad that I needed such validation.
Throughout Linchpin the reader is encouraged to wake up and appreciate that we do all have a choice – although Seth also reveals why we are likely to resist and even possibly denounce his ideas. In fact, if you find your monkey mind nay-saying his words, Seth and I both urge you to turn to page 101 and simply read the chapter on The Resistance.
We don’t have to do what we have been trained and conditioned to do. The world is changing, has changed, and if we sit where we have always sat waiting for it to change back we’ll have a long wait.
Rather than being threatened by changes in our socio-economic world Seth asks us to see the changes as opportunities. We now have the chance to act and live as the individuals we are; to create, invent and even to rebel. We simply have to grasp the opportunity. No-one is going to tell us what or how – not any more. We get re-invent ourselves and finally fulfil the promise we were born with.
As an aside, it’s easy to now understand, having read Linchpin, why people continue to repeatedly buy in to ‘how to do it’ schemes (the more cynical might call them ‘get rich quick scams’). These are the people still looking for the old way. Those who have been brainwashed into thinking we have to be told what to do, that we have to follow instructions.
We weren’t born to be average. We weren’t born to be ‘replaceable cogs’ in an economic machine – a machine that is now creaking and failing. We were all born with unique gifts and talents. We have an innate curiosity and a drive to learn and grow. It was society that turned us into Joe and Jane Average. Conditioning by our environment, school and peers that taught us to do just enough to fit in, to conform, to lower our expectations, to be ordinary. After all, that’s safe. Right?
As Seth points out, the old model has broken and people everywhere are facing changes. It’s our individual choice whether we cling to the past, fearful of an unknown future or whether we unpack our individuality and dust it down ready to grasp every new opportunity.
The Internet has changed the way we work and live. It has given everyone access to the insider knowledge that many traditional businesses traded in. Seth uses the example of travel agents. We can now all choose to go direct to the airlines and hotels to search for best prices and make our bookings – we don’t need the middle men.
The connectivity of the Internet has made it possible for previously disparate groups to come together and network, sharing intelligence. Excellence and individuality and authenticity is recognised, applauded and rewarded. Mediocrity and ordinariness gets trampled under foot.
There are risks to being different. Being remarkable. Breaking free of the conditioned masses. Linchpin discusses these risks and celebrates the rewards of overcoming a physiological resistance to become someone who does stand out, who is indispensable, who is a genius (even if it isn’t every day).
If you haven’t grabbed your copy of Linchpin yet I urge you to. If you click on any of the links in this article you will be whisked away to Amazon to make your purchase and my Kiva account may even earn 20cents or so as a result. Thank you. If that offends you, go to your local book store, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones or make your own way to Amazon. Buy the book. Read. Re-read. Think. Take notes. Come back and comment/discuss and most of all prepare to have your mind opened to the possibility of a different future. It’s there for you to choose.
Buy Linchpin from Amazon.com
Buy Linchpin from Amazon.co.uk