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.