We Are All Weird – Seth Godin

The one sentence summary

Weird is the new normal, so only companies that work that out have any chance of survival.


  • Let’s face it – we’re all weird. So why are companies still trying to build products for the masses? Why are we still acting as though the masses even exist?

~ Mass is what allowed us to become efficient. It’s what we call the undifferentiated, the easily reached majority that seeks to conform.

~ Normal is what we call the people in the middle. It is localised – what’s normal here is not necessarily normal somewhere else.

~ Weird is what we call people who aren’t normal. This means by choice, rather than unusual by nature or physique.

~ Rich refers to anyone who can make choices, who has enough resources to do more than merely survive.

  • Everything about capitalism, industry and education trains people to conform and shun outliers. This rewards companies that create efficient mass market products.
  • There are four forces for weird:

1. Creation is amplified. Anyone can produce pretty much anything, and reach someone else immediately via the internet.

2. Being rich allows us to do what we want, and we want to be weird. Standing out takes time, money and confidence. More of us now have all three.

3. Marketing is far more efficient at reaching the weird. The long tail isn’t just a clever phrase – it’s an accurate description of the market for just about everything.

4. Tribes are better connected. Because you can now find others who share your interests, weird is perversely becoming more normal.


  • The book challenges the reader do make two decisions: to create for and market to the fast-increasing population that isn’t normal; and to encourage people to do what’s right, useful and joyful, as opposed to what the system suggests.
  • Antelopes don’t have hobbies. You need to be rich to be weird.
  • 2,200 years ago you needed to work 50 hours to buy an hour of light from a lantern. You can do that today in about half a second.
  • The bell curve is spreading. The bump of normal in the middle isn’t gone, but it’s much flatter, and flanked by many more weird outlying groups.
  • There are 10 billion items for sale in New York alone. 500 years ago there were 200.


  • Not much. This is a celebration of originality and individuality, and larger companies involved in old-fashioned mass production should take note.

The Icarus Deception – Seth Godin

The one-sentence summary
It’s better to be sorry than safe, so ditch the old rules. Move out of your comfort zone, and start treating your work as art.

• The old rules were to play it safe, find a job in an institution, and stick to the rules.
• Now you need to fly higher than ever in an economy that rewards art, not compliance.
• In the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, we know that his father told him not to fly too close to the sun. But the bit we are rarely told is that he was also told not to fly too low, close to the sea where there would be no lift.
• This is The Icarus Deception – in modern life, we mainly aim too low.
• The myth is perpetuated by industrialists who encourage an external focus – is my job secure and how much stuff have I got?
• We need more of what the Japanese call kamiwaza – stripped of self-doubt and artifice, we would be more ‘godlike’ – doing things for the purity of doing them.
• The assets that matter now are trust, permission, remarkability, leadership, stories that spread, and humanity (connection, compassion and humility).
Operant conditioning is believing that the way companies do things is the only way.

• If you want to get something done, you have to ‘pick yourself’. In Japanese, jiriki is the monkey who saves himself, while the tariki is the kitten helplessly waiting around to be selected, which gets you nowhere.
• Here are six daily habits for artists:
1. Sit alone and quietly
2. Learn something new with no apparent practical benefit
3. Ask individuals for bold feedback and ignore what you hear from crowds
4. Spend time encouraging other artists
5. Teach, with the intent of making change
6. Ship something that you created
Knights view the world as a series of conflicts with winners and losers. Gardeners look for ways to connect and grow the people they encounter.
• We never get Talker’s block because we don’t pay much attention to what we say. To cure writer’s block, just start writing, no matter how bad it is.
• A meeting is a temporary collection of people waiting for someone else to take responsibility so they can get back to work.
• An unsolvable problem is almost as good as a solved one – you can admit defeat and move on.
• Reverse Descartes: You are. So think.

• This is a call to arms to those who conform too much – it may well make them feel uncomfortable. If you are already enterprising, then you’ll just want to nod along to what is proposed, because you’ll already be doing it.

Poke The Box – Seth Godin

The one-sentence summary

Pick yourself to be inquisitive and create something.


  • It is subtitled: When was the last time you did something for the first time?
  • It is a manifesto about starting things, making a ruckus, and taking what feels like a risk.
  • A buzzer box has some lights and switches on it – when you poke it, things happen. When I do this, what happens? What can you start? Soon is not as good as now.
  • When the cost of poking the box is less than the cost of dong nothing, then you should poke. Poking isn’t about being right. It means action.
  • He outlines seven imperatives:

1.     Be aware – of the market, opportunities, and who you are

2.    Be educated – so you can understand what is around you

3.    Be connected – so you can be trusted as you engage

4.    Be consistent – so the system knows what to expect

5.     Build an asset – so you have something to sell

6.    Be productive – so you can be well-priced

7.     Have the guts and heart and passion to ship (get it out of the door)

  • Human nature is to need a map. Stop waiting for one. If you’re brave enough to draw one, people will follow. The challenge is getting into the habit of starting.
  • Anxiety is experiencing failure in advance. If you have anxiety about starting a project, then you will associate risk with failure. Starting means you’re going to finish.


  • This is a call to arms. What could you build?
  • Followers want to be picked for promotion, praise, or some other credit. They are saying: “Pick me!” You should reject the tyranny of ‘picked’ and pick yourself.
  • Excellence isn’t about working extra hard to do what you’re told. It’s about taking the initiative to do work you decide is worth doing.
  • “This might not work” is a healthy approach. Focus on the work, not the fear that comes from doing the work. The person who fails the most usually wins.
  • Juggling is about throwing, not catching. If you get better at throwing, the catches take care of themselves.
  • The Dandelion Mind idea is engaging: dandelions produce 2000 seeds a year and it doesn’t matter where they land. Produce a lot and things will happen.


  • Nothing. This is a motivating rallying call.

Tribes – Seth Godin

The one-sentence summary

Today everyone has an opportunity to start a movement – to bring together a tribe of like-minded people to do amazing things.


  • Today everyone has an opportunity to start a movement – to bring together a tribe of like-minded people to do amazing things.
  • Too many people ignore the opportunity to lead because they are ‘sheepwalking’ their way through their lives and their work – too afraid to question whether their compliance is doing themselves, or their companies, any good. Nonsheep behaviour should be rewarded.
  • Too many people are ‘stuck on stupid’. When the world changes, the rules change, and so must we. If you or your organisation is playing today’s game by yesterday’s rules, then you’re stuck.
  • If you have a passion for what you do and the drive to make it happen, there is a tribe of employees, investors, customers or readers waiting for you to connect them with each other, and lead them where they want to go.
  • Without leaders there are no followers. If you have a desire to do fresh and exciting work, then you’re a leader, and the rest of us need you.
  • Tribes used to be local, but now the internet eliminates geography.
  • The crucial question now isn’t ‘Is it possible for me to do that?’, it is ‘Will I choose to do it?’


  • This is a great call to arms and confidence booster for anyone who wants to make changes and do more with what they enjoy.
  • Tribes are all about faith, and many people are beginning to realise that it’s much more satisfying to do what you believe in. Heretics are prepared to go against the grain.
  • Stability is an illusion, and the rush from it is a benefit to enterprising individuals who can now ‘lead from the bottom.’
  • All a tribe needs is a shared interest and a way to communicate.
  • Initiative = happiness.
  • Fear of failure is overrated. If you work for someone, the organisation actually absorbs the cost of failure. People are more afraid of blame and criticism.


  • There are no chapter divisions – it just rolls along, classic Godin-style

Linchpin – Seth Godin

The one-sentence summary

There used to be two teams in every workplace – management and labour. Now there’s a third – the linchpins, who invent, lead, connect others, make things happen, and create order.


  • There used to be two teams in every workplace – management and labour. Now there’s a third – the linchpins. They invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order. They get the best jobs and the most freedom.
  • Individuals should stop complying with the system and draw their own map, becoming indispensable by finding shortcuts, resolving conflicts, and making connections with those others can’t reach.
  • In the factory era, the goal was to have the highest PERL (Percentage of Easily Replaced Labourers) – pay them less, make more profit and have an endless supply of them.
  • We have now reached the end of ABC (Attendance Based Compensation) – there are fewer and fewer jobs that pay you for merely showing up.
  • The hierarchy of value goes like this: lift, hunt, grow, produce, sell, connect, create/invent. As you travel up it, the work gets easier, the pay gets better, and the number of people available to do it gets smaller.
  • In Purple Cow, Godin asserted that corporations have no right to our attention. Similarly, you have no right to that job or career. The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, exert emotional labour, be seen as indispensable, and produce interactions that people really care about.
  • Linchpins are remarkable and generous, they create art, make judgement calls, and connect people and ideas.
  • Dignity, humanity and generosity make people indispensable. Conformity, compliance and obedience mean surrender.


  • The idea of ‘shipping’ is compelling. Linchpins ship ideas and content in the same way Amazon ships books. They get stuff done and give a lot away.
  • Linchpins understand the futility of asymptotes – that’s a line that gets closer and closer to perfection but never quite gets there. Being a perfectionist doesn’t work.
  • Thrashing is the brainstorming and tweaking that occurs in any project. Linchpins do it at the beginning. Others (incorrectly) do it towards the end.
  • Your lizard brain resists things. Your inner daemon is the source of great ideas. They are involved in a constant struggle.
  • Shenpa is a Tibetan word that roughly means ‘scratching the itch’. Doing so makes everything worse, and linchpins avoid it.


  • Not much. As with much of Godin’s work, it comes in short blasts so you need to concentrate on the thread and pick out the bits that appeal to you.