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Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Paperback – April 26, 2011
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Amazon Exclusive: Hugh MacLeod Reviews Linchpin
Hugh MacLeod is an artist, cartoonist, and Web 2.0 pundit whose blog, gapingvoid.com, has two million unique monthly visitors. His first book, Ignore Everybody, was an Amazon Top Ten Business Book of the Year and a Wall Street Journal bestseller. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of Linchpin:
This is by far Seth’s most passionate book. He’s pulling fewer punches. He’s out for blood. He’s out to make a difference. And that glorious, heartfelt passion is obvious on every page, even if it is in Seth’s usual quiet, lucid, understated manner.
A linchpin, as Seth describes it, is somebody in an organization who is indispensable, who cannot be replaced—her role is just far too unique and valuable. And then he goes on to say, well, seriously folks, you need to be one of these people, you really do. To not be one is economic and career suicide.
No surprises there—that’s exactly what one would expect Seth to say. But here’s where it gets interesting.
In his best-known book, Purple Cow, Seth’s message was, “Everyone’s a marketer now.” In All Marketers Are Liars, his message was, “Everyone’s a storyteller now.” In Tribes, his message was, “Everyone’s a leader now.”
And from Linchpin?
"Everyone’s an artist now."
By Seth’s definition, an artist is not just some person who messes around with paint and brushes, an artist is somebody who does (and I LOVE this term) “emotional work.”
Work that you put your heart and soul into. Work that matters. Work that you gladly sacrifice all other alternatives for. As a working artist and cartoonist myself, I know exactly what he means. It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.
The only people who have a hope of becoming linchpins in any organization, who have any hope of changing anything for the better in real terms, are those who have the capacity to do “emotional work” at a high level—to be true artists at whatever they set their minds on doing. The guys who just plod around the office corridors, just turning up for their paycheck.... Well, those guys don’t have a prayer, poor things. The world is just too interesting and competitive now.
And Seth then challenges us, the readers, to become linchpins ourselves. To make the leap. To become artists. To do emotional work, whatever the sacrifice may be. It’s our choice, and it’s our burden. Seth won’t be there to catch us if we fall, but to become the people we need to be eventually, well, we probably wouldn’t want him to, anyway.
Congratulations, Seth. You have penned a real gem of a book here. Rock on.
--Hugh MacLeod --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"It's easy to see why people pay to hear what he has to say."
"Thousands of authors write business books every year, but only a handful reach star status and the A-list lecture circuit. Fewer still-one, to be exact-can boast his own action figure. . . . Godin delivers his combination of counterintuitive thinking and a great sense of fun."
"This book is a gift."
-Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder, The Acumen Fund
"If Seth Godin didn't exist we'd need to invent him-that's how indispensable he is! You hold in your hands a compelling, accessible, and purpose-filled book. Read it, and do yourself a big favor. Your future will thank you!"
-Alan Webber, Founder, Fast Company
"This is what the future of work (and the world) looks like. Actually, it's already happening around you."
-Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com
"Thousands of authors write business books every year, but only a handful reach star status and the A-list lecture circuit. Fewer still - one, to be exact - can boast his own action figure....Godin delivers his combination of counterintuitive thinking and a great sense of fun."
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
But I'm sure that a wider majority needs to read the message Seth Godin wishes to spread. And while the message isn't anything new - he acknowledges the ideas which helped and shares the books he read during the writing of the this book at the end - it seems only a few really take this message to heart. Perhaps it's too radical or too difficult to put into practice, so most people choose to listen to their own personal Resistance instead.
What is the Resistance? I think the best part of this book is that Seth spends a great deal explaining what it is, how it works, and how to work with it, and how to conquer it. He gives many stories and even shares his personal experience, something which I appreciate. In a nutshell, the resistance is that part of your mind which stops you from being the artist you're supposed to be.
I gave this book a five-star rating because of how strongly he presented his ideas. It definitely made me shift my perspective. And though I think of myself as a sort of linchpin already, I realized that I still have this tendency to keep inside the safety of what's comfortable. So really, this book gave me an extra push to go beyond my comfort zone. Create art. It's as if I can feel his passion for art screaming at me. I wouldn't have written this review, if it weren't for how powerfully and persistently he delivers his message.
Of course, this book isn't perfect by all means. For starters, I wish there were footnotes with statistical data. (I find references to research papers or published works compelling and useful). Also there are some paragraphs which feel redundant. But that's just it.
This book is meant to be read by people who feel like they're not living the life they are supposed to live. Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you're not creating anything? Do you feel like a consumer rather than a creator? Do you feel like you stop yourself even before you start?
Then by all means, let Seth tell you what you need to hear.
Seth begins his book with the reason for writing it. He explains how there aren't any great jobs with real security out there any longer. That the plant style businesses are going extinct and many people who were just cruising through are tooth and nailing it now. He then goes through the chapters in this book that are titled with a way of summarizing them. In the summary at the end he says: "I didn't set out to get you to quit your job or to persuade you to become an entrepreneur or merely to change the entire world. All I wanted to do in this book was sell you on being the artist you already are. To make a difference. To stand for something. To get the respect and security you deserve. If I've succeeded, then you know that you have a gift to give, something you can do to change the world (or your part of it) for the better. I hope you'll do that, because we need you."
This is a decently written book with many analogies and stories to help you relate what Seth is trying to bring across to you. In almost every chapter there will be a story that you will feel like was written about your own life. This helps in making it relatable. And although he does challenge the reader to be more than they are at work and show their value, it isn't a new line of thinking. It was engaging and had some humorous moments for me, but not original really. Which is why I only gave it 3 stars. Also, another reviewer had written about how Seth mentioned giving without expecting anything in return and how that can add fulfillment to your life. Even how the main people who need to read this to improve their careers are those who are paid little to nothing in their plant jobs working all that they can. So, A) they can't or won't afford a $15 book about a job they know doesn't work for them or B) they won't have or take the time to actually read it. And, I agree.