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Poke the Box Audible – Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 387 customer reviews

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By Guy L. Gonzalez on March 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Poke the Box should have been titled Tribes: The Remix as Godin brings nothing new to the table other than a relationship with Amazon and some promotional pricing gimmicks. It's his usual mix of paper-thin insights and exhortations to be bold! to lead! to ship! -- but with notably less energy or conviction than usual, as if he wrote it in between blog posts over a rare quiet weekend.

I pre-ordered the Kindle version and read it in a total of about 2 hours, and would still rather pay full price for the hardcover version of Tribes, a far superior book that I not only devoured and raved about 2.5 years ago, but bought copies for my entire staff at the time, and still recommend to people on a regular basis.

Perhaps the most interesting idea in the book gets buried in his Stuart Smalley-esque shtick:

"One reason organizations get stuck is that they stick with their 'A' players so long that they lose their bench. In a world that's changing, a team with no bench strength and a rigid outlook on the game will always end up losing."

It's a concept worth exploring further, and one that fits perfectly under Tribes' philosophical umbrella, but in Poke it's an odd aside that gets glossed over.

One of Godin's running themes throughout Poke is to be an initiator, and that risking failure is the best road to achieving success, and by making Poke the Box the first offering from The Domino Project, he's practicing what he preaches. He initiated, he shipped, and he pretty much failed to deliver a good book.

Now the question will be whether or not "Powered by Amazon" and his marketing gimmicks have introduced him to a wider audience than Portfolio, his previous publisher, could have, and whether or not The Domino Project's bench is deep enough to give this publishing experiment real legs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not too long ago, I read and reviewed Seth Godin's "Tribes." While it was very thought-provoking and filled with an incredible array of ideas, it was also wrong- headed in many ways, I felt.

So I ordered "Poke the Box" with some trepidation. What I've learned is to re-calibrate my expectations from Seth Godin. While I might want a well-thought-out and researched treatise proving the latest idea to me, Seth Godin overwhelms me with his passion and force. Rather than resisting and arguing with Seth (I do this especially as I read what he writes!) I decided this time to listen carefully and take away from the book what I could. Besides, for one dollar as a Kindle book, how could I go wrong! This, by the way, is part of Seth's exciting new strategy for getting books out to people through non-traditional means. "Poke the Box" is the first book being marketed by Seth using the Domino Project and its strategies. It is, in fact, the first is a series of manifestoes.

If "Poke the Box" communicates nothing else, it presents this one message with a megaphone voice: "Go!" "Start now." "The worst thing you can do is nothing." Already, I find myself arguing, since I know that just doing things without careful planning first has led to many disasters. But I keep reading because Seth is so insistent, and he has such a large tribe following him, telling me that maybe he's worth listening to.

But I think I know what Seth means: he means that you've got to be out there trying and risking failure, or you'll be irrelevant. There are too many people out there and too many tribes so that if you do nothing or are too cautious, thinking that you can control the whole process, the chances are you'll end up marginalizing yourself.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As background, I absolutely love Seth's work. I read his blog daily and within the past year finished The Dip, Tribes, and Linchpin.

Having said that, I'm hard pressed to give this manifesto more than 3 or 3.5 stars. While the content is certainly motivational and inspiring, the overall message and theme felt the same as his other aforementioned books. In other words, the material didn't seem fresh. There were several sections that I felt were extremely similar to his earlier work (sometimes even the examples were the same) but just not in the same depth/detail.

For seasoned Godin readers, I think you can safely skip this one.
For new readers to Seth's work, I'd steer you towards Tribes and Linchpin first instead of this manifesto. You'll get more information, understanding, and background story to many of his key points.

In the end, it's still a nice kick in the pants to get started. Do something. Now.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a last minute add on to another purchase. An impulse purchase like buying a candy bar while checking out at the grocery store. My advice to you is "put the candy bar down." I don't mind wasting $5 dollars ( which is the most insightful thing I learned from this book), but I am upset at the other reviewers for letting me down. I kept reading this book wondering why it had 4+ stars.

The punchline of the book is, Just start doing something. I just did. I hope this helped you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The basis of this self-help, inspirational business book is simple: don't fear failure, take the initiative. In short: poke the box.

I purchased the Kindle version of this book at the $1 special offer. The book edition weighs in at a slim 96 pages. Those 96 pages are mostly a compilation of aphorisms: "Life is a buzzer box, poke it." "The more you do, the more you fail." "Go to work on a regular basis." "Art is hard. Selling is hard. Writing is hard. Making a difference is hard." "Initiative is scarce." An occasional metaphor fills out the text: "Whether you're polishing a piece of furniture or an idea, the benefits diminish quickly. The polishing turns into stalling."

Between the aphorism and metaphor, Mr. Godin inserts stories of successful people who initially failed. "Talk to any successful person. He'll be happy to fill you in on his long string of failures." The assumption being that failure leads to success. No one wants to hear from the multitudes who never attain the summit of success. To Godin's credit, however, the only failure in his mind is doing nothing.

Unfortunately, as the author himself writes: "The world is a lot more complicated than it appears." Aside from the inspirational quips, this book is not only short in length but also short on substance. The world is more complicated than simple aphorism, and success is more complicated than poking the box.

If you need a poke of inspiration to get your initiative flowing, there's something here for you. If you're interested in substance, look elsewhere.

I understand there's an upcoming "Poke the Box: The Workbook." Perhaps the missing substance here will appear in the workbook, or perhaps Mr. Godin wants the sell me another book. Now that's poking the box!
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