- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Portfolio; 1 edition (October 16, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591842336
- ISBN-13: 978-1591842330
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (544 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us Hardcover – October 16, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Short on pages but long on repetition, this newest book by Godin (Purple Cow) argues that lasting and substantive change can be best effected by a tribe: a group of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea. Smart innovators find or assemble a movement of similarly minded individuals and get the tribe excited by a new product, service or message, often via the Internet (consider, for example, the popularity of the Obama campaign, Facebook or Twitter). Tribes, Godin says, can be within or outside a corporation, and almost everyone can be a leader; most are kept from realizing their potential by fear of criticism and fear of being wrong. The book's helpful nuggets are buried beneath esoteric case studies and multiple reiterations: we can be leaders if we want, tribes are the way of the future and change is good. On that last note, the advice found in this book should be used with caution. Change isn't made by asking permission, Godin says. Change is made by asking forgiveness, later. That may be true, but in this economy and in certain corporations, it may also be a good way to lose a job. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Tribes is a must read for all of us. It's up to each one of us to lead in today's new kind of world."
Former U.S. senator Bill Bradley
"Tribes is a short book--only 147 pages. But its short size belies its true importance. As I read it, I was literally underlining every other sentence. I went through two hi-lighters before I finished!
This is one of the most important books I have read this year. I highly recommend it."
"Tribes is a short book—only 147 pages. But its short size belies its true importance. As I read it, I was literally underlining every other sentence. I went through two hi-lighters before I finished!"
—Michael Hyatt, author of Platform and Living Forward
"Tribes is a must read for all of us. It’s up to each one of us to lead in today’s new kind of world.”
—Former U.S. senator Bill Bradley
"Godin...is uniquely respected for his understanding of the Internet, and his essays and opinions are widely read and quoted on and off."
"It's easy to see why people pay to hear what he has to say."
"If Seth Godin didn't exist we'd need to invent him."
—Alan Webber, founder, Fast Company
"If your idea, or issue, or candidate, or product isn't catching on, you haven't been reading Seth Godin."
—Micah Sifry, cofounder, Personal Democracy Forum
"Godin is endlessly curious, opinionated, and knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. He is a relentless marketer…and also a clear-eyed visionary."
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Top Customer Reviews
“Curious people count. Not because there are a lot of them, but because they're the ones who talk to people who are in a stupor. They're the ones who lead the masses in the middle who are stuck. The masses in the middle have brainwashed themselves into thinking it’s safe to do nothing, which the curious can't abide.”
“Crowds and tribes. Two different things: a crowd is a tribe without a leader. A crowd is a tribe without communication. Most organizations spend their time marketing to the crowd. Smart organizations assemble the tribe. Crowds are interesting, and they can create all sorts of worthwhile artifacts and market effects. But tribes are longer lasting and more effective.”
There are a lot of great books out there but this is a must.
Tribes, one of Godin's recent efforts to enlighten humanity with the wisdom of Silicon Valley, builds on this underwhelming insight to paint a picture of leadership that seems limited to questioning conventional wisdom and making a pest of yourself. There's insight to be found in Tribes, as there is (more frequently) in Godin's other books. But the true value of this little essay on making change in the world lies in the innumerable examples and anecdotes liberally scattered throughout.
Oh, yes: that title. "Tribes," in Godin's phrasebook, are the apparently random collections of people who follow those he regards as leaders. No leader, no tribe. No tribe, no leader. Get it?
Now, don't misunderstand me. Seth Godin is a very smart man with a brilliant marketing mind. Here's how he defines marketing in this little volume: "Marketing is the act of telling stories about the things we make -- stories that sell and stories that spread." It's hard to find a better contemporary definition of that widely misunderstood concept. And it ties neatly into Godin's theme in this book because, he adds, "Today, marketing is about engaging with the tribe and delivering products and services with stories that spread."
There is genuine insight in that statement, but Godin doesn't develop it sufficiently. In a longer and more carefully written book, he might have explored how networks and networking are pushing aside traditional communications media . . . how celebrity affects the sales of books, music, and clothing . . . how ever-smaller and more specialized subcultures are multiplying like amoebae. Maybe somebody else will take this up someday. Or -- who knows? -- maybe somebody already has.
Godin is quick to lavish scorn on those he dislikes or disrespects, and apparently the 12 or 13 million people who work in or for the U.S. nonprofit sector are high on his list. (Presumably, that would include me.) For example, he writes, "Take a look at the top fifty charities on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's top four hundred charity list. During the last forty years, only a handful of charities on this list have changed. Why? Because donors didn't want to take risks." Godin's writing is littered with silly generalizations like this.
So, with all these flaws, is Tribes worth the time and trouble to read? Yes. Here, for example, is how Godin illustrates his highly unconventional definition of faith: "People don't believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell themselves. What leaders do: they give people stories they can tell themselves. Stories about the future and about change." You're not likely to find a simpler or more direct definition of leadership than that.
(From Mal Warwick's Blog on Books)
Leadership is not as simple as having followers; it is a complex and multi-faceted thing. It is also organic; that is, a leader determines in a situation or with a certain people to lead in a way that is best for that time, that place, and those people. Great leaders understand that they need to personalize their leadership because a true leader is, after all, about those he is leading. Godin embodies this mindset and explains it well.
Tribes are indeed something mankind has sought out since the earth became populated enough to have them. Today we are more advanced technologically, but at our core we still long for connection. Tribes give us that. And it is up to us whether we want to blindly belong to one, or powerfully engage in one and participate in leading it.