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LINCHPIN by Seth Godin

May 5, 2010

Godin is a marketing guru and great speaker. This book is about, as he would put it, “being an artist.” That is, going above and beyond in doing whatever it is that you do. Making yourself indispensible to your company. The kind of person your company couldn’t live without. In the current economic climate, that’s a pretty good goal for anyone.

The book is written in short, blog-post-length chapters. Some are really insightful. Then there are some that seem pretty common sense and others, particularly those where Godin tries to define “art,” that are a little annoying.  But the bulk of the book has good, applicable advice.

In one relatable chapter, Godin discusses “thrashing”—what some might call divergent thinking, and how most of it should be done at the beginning of a project. Anyone who will be involved should be involved at that stage. As the project moves toward “shipping,” fewer and fewer people should be involved and less and less thrashing should take place. Good advice for any creative environment.

Godin discusses the significance of fear as a motivator in our everyday lives, which has interesting psychological implications. But the most interesting point he makes is when he emphasizes the importance of being able to evaluate something without bias—being able to remove yourself from yourself and see things or judge an idea by what it is, not what it is to you. This, he says, is one of the most important qualities one can possess. He lays out a map on which he places the linchpin—the person who is passionate but able to detach from their relativistic biases and make decisions with a clear mind.

This, toward the end of the book, is the book’s high point. But all in all, it’s not a bad read, with quite a few bits of wisdom here and there.

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