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Poke the Box: When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time? Hardcover – September 15, 2015
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Book Description: If you're stuck at the starting line, you don't need more time or permission. You don’t need to wait for a boss’s okay or to be told to push the button; you just need to poke.
Poke the Box is a manifesto by bestselling author Seth Godin that just might make you uncomfortable. It’s a call to action about the initiative you’re taking-– in your job or in your life. Godin knows that one of our scarcest resources is the spark of initiative in most organizations (and most careers)-– the person with the guts to say, “I want to start stuff.”
Poke the Box just may be the kick in the pants you need to shake up your life.
Love the ideas in Poke the Box? Check out our Domino Project page for other format options, such as a 5-pack or 52-pack carton of books to share or the limited deluxe edition, which includes the book with a letterpress jacket, a specially designed signature plate signed by Seth Godin, and a letterpress poster. Be sure to also visit TheDominoProject.com for the latest news and special offers.
Daniel H. Pink Reviews Poke the Box
Daniel H. Pink is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Drive and A Whole New Mind, which together have been translated into 31 languages. Read his guest review of Seth Godin's Poke the Box:
Let me begin with a professional and personal disclosure: If Seth Godin weren’t a friend of mine, I would probably hate his guts.
He makes those of us in the word-slinging, meme-spreading trade look like a bunch of ne’er-do-well slackers. He is so preposterously creative and so endlessly productive--a new blog post every day, a new book every year, dozens of efforts to raise money for charity, Squidoo, the Domino Project, and more--that I once suspected "Seth Godin" was really a cover name for an army of elves toiling in a work camp near the Hudson River.
But after reading this remarkable book, I’ve discovered Seth’s secret: He’s willing to poke the box. To start. To initiate. To begin. That’s all.
Indeed, the message of this book is so profoundly simple and so simply profound, I can encapsulate it in a single word.
Don’t cogitate. Don’t ruminate. Don’t plan on getting started or wait for permission to begin.
Of course, that’s a little scary. Starting is a risk. Things might not work out. You could flop. But one theme of this book--and it’s a theme that you should write on a rock, imprint on your brain, and inject into your bloodstream--is that we ought to be much more concerned about mediocrity than failure. "If you can’t fail," Seth writes, "it doesn’t count."
Like the man who produced it, Poke the Box is inspired and inspiring. I’ll place it on my shelf alongside two other extraordinary books: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. If you enjoyed those two, you’ll love this one. It will simultaneously stir your heart and kick your butt.
Which brings us to a final question: When should you get started on that project, that business, that work of art only you can deliver to the world?
Seth has the answer to that, too: "Soon is not as good as now."
In other words, go. --Daniel H. Pink
A Q&A with Seth Godin
Question: What does it mean to Poke the Box?
Seth Godin: Conformity used to be crucial--fitting in, not standing out. Compliance used to be the heart of every successful organization, every successful career. The reason? We all worked for the system, in the factory, doing what we were told. Now, though, compliance is no longer a competitive advantage.
Poke the Box is about the spark that brings things to life. We need to be nudged away from conformity and toward ingenuity, toward answering unknown questions for ourselves. Even if we fail, as I have done many times in my life, we learn what not to do by experience and doing the new.
This isn’t the same thing as taking a risk. In fact, the riskiest thing we can do right now is nothing.
I’ve had an extraordinary run, creating a dozen nationwide bestsellers, starting Internet companies and giving speeches around the world. The key thing I bring to the projects I take on is not more talent than most (I don’t) or even more hours than most (hardly). My contribution is a willingness to poke, to start, to lean into the project and to get it out the door.
Question: What will I learn from reading Poke the Box?
Seth Godin: Hopefully you will learn lots but do more. Start thinking about when you’ve taken initiative in a way that really meant something to you and your team, your family. When was the last time you did something for the first time? How did it feel?
There are no step-by-step how-to instructions in Poke the Box. Instead, you’ll find a series of layers, a foundation for taking a different approach to your work. Instead of learning to be more compliant, I want to push you to be the one who takes initiative.
Question: Why did you write this book?
Seth Godin: I’ve been fortunate enough to hear from almost a million people over the years, to talk with CEOs and bosses and customers around the world. And they all tell me precisely the same thing: it’s the motive force they demand, the person who will shake things up and move them forward.
Static is not an acceptable state. The status quo is no longer something we want at work or in politics or in any organization we care about.
The market is just waiting for people to step forward. I wrote the book for those people, the ones who’ve been hesitating to take the leap.
Question: Why did you start The Domino Project?
Seth Godin: The Domino Project is my latest attempt at "poking." It’s an independent publishing imprint founded by me and powered by Amazon. This is an opportunity to publish "idea manifestos" committed to readers, rather than being bookstore friendly. It’s named after the domino effect--where one powerful idea spreads down the line, pushing from person to person.
I have two audacious goals: I want to change the people who read (not enough do) and I want to change the way books are published (they’re too hard to find and spread). I honestly believe that a book can change a mind like nothing else, and that’s our focus. To help anyone to do work they’re proud of and to make a difference.
Question: Why Amazon?
Seth Godin: I partnered with Amazon so we could leverage what we both do best--Amazon is the leader in global distribution, multiple format production capabilities, and reaching people in the right way, and I want to spread powerful ideas to the people who want to read them.
For 15 years, Amazon has been building an audience and gaining our trust. Many surveys identify them as the most-trusted new brand in the world. Now that Amazon is interacting with more people more often, they have a chance to bring those customers new ideas in innovative ways. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring ideas worth spreading to a huge and eager audience.
Question: Who is Seth Godin?
Seth Godin: I’m an author, entrepreneur, and a person who starts things.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"SETH GODIN MAY BE THE ULTIMATE ENTREPRENEUR FOR THE INFORMATION AGE."
"IT’S EASY TO SEE WHY PEOPLE PAY TO HEAR WHAT HE HAS TO SAY."
—Annie Duke, world poker champion, author, and talk show host
—Sarah Jones, playwright
—Jill Greenberg, photographer, manipulator.org
Top customer reviews
I am sure some people will say there is nothing new in here, but they couldn't be more wrong. Godin explains through pithy anecdotes why there's an epidemic in the way we do work due to a missing seventh imperative: initiative. Without this seventh imperative, most organizations will fail. In Poke the Box, Godin uses his trademark style to tell you, in several different ways, exactly how to take more initiative no matter what your job is.
Some of my favorite quotes:
"The relentless brainwashing of our fading industrial economy has created an expensive misunderstanding. Creative people or those with something to say believe that they have to wait to be chosen."
"Initiative is scarce. Hence valuable."
"Most employees can give you a long list of all the things they're not allowed to do... It's interesting that the allowed list is harder to remember and write down."
"You've been living in Project World for so long you've probably forgotten that for a long time, projects didn't matter so much." And later, "No projects, no organization."
Godin's writing style is magic. Even though the message is simple, Godin explains it so that you just "get" what to do next. Fans of his blog will LOVE this book.
Poke the Box also speaks to many different types of linchpins. It's an anthem to everyone from the entrepreneur to the suits in Corporate America: embrace and reward a post-industrial workforce!
There are very few books I'd recommend that literally everyone should read and take something away from--Poke the Box is one of them. At less than 100 pages, Poke the Box is a quick but poignant read that will change your perspective on the future of work. Buy this one in bulk for your entire team and watch your productivity soar!
He's a master of self-promotion and marketing and once again I found myself paying for his table scraps. This time it is POKE THE BOX, which essentially tells you that be successful you have to taken your idea and actually...start. This is another in his well-designed, nicely packaged little books. And I do mean little, 84 pages.
The book reads like a random collection of blogs weaved together with the slimmest of threads.
The book is three years old, but the world hasn't changed that much to forgive Godin's supercilious disparagement of factories, and especially factory workers. This is the worst kind of techie snobbery, looking down a Silicon Valley nose at working men and women. Perhaps Godin should spend time in factories and manufacturing facilities. News flash, manufacturing in the United States is making a comeback, primarily due to the complexity of the goods being produced. Modern factories are tributes to the integration of technology and good old-fashioned manpower.
Where I find myself agreeing with Godin is his indictment of the education system. Yes, it is a stifling experience designed to keep everyone coloring inside the lines. Initiative and energy in schools is often medicated out of our young students.
Fortunately this was a $1.99 Kindle purchase. No trees died and I spend more for a cup of coffee. A couple of good quotes, a great story or two--especially about an enterprising Canadian band--and that's about it.
Godin is one of a legion of business writers who offer pronouncements and advice devoid of any rigorous data or case studies. I would never run my company based on anecdotes.
I swear...my last Seth Godin "book."
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.
Pick this one up and see what you find in it for yourself.
Most recent customer reviews
Seth inspires me so much in life to really live truthfully to myself and live a life that...Read more