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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."
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One thing that I found extremely interesting was the passage that discussed the difference between a "manager" and a "leader". Of course, that all tied into the tribe theme.
"Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. If you are not uncomfortable...it is almost certain you are not reaching your potential as a leader. The masses in the middle have brainwashed themselves into thinking it is safe to do nothing. Great leaders do not appease everyone, don't water down their message. Leaders who set out to give are more productive than leaders who seek to get. The tactics of leadership are easy. The art is the difficult part. Leadership comes when your hope and your optimism are matched with a concrete vision of the future and a way to get there. People will not follow you if they do not believe you can get to where you are going."
The reason that the possibilities are huge is that there has been an explosion in tribes - circles of interest - and the action is no longer at the "top" but in the "streets." Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 have changed the landscape forever.
Godin's underlying thesis is:
* Everyone is expected to lead, not just the boss.
* Today's structures make it easier to change things and have more leverage than ever before.
* The marketplace is rewarding organizations and individuals who change things and create remarkable products.
* Filling the leadership vacuum is engaging, profitable, and fun.
* There is tribe just waiting for you to connect them to one another and lead them where they want to go.
Individuals have far more power than ever before in history and the only thing holding you back is the lack of faith - faith that you can do it, faith that it is worth doing, faith that failure won't destroy you.
For those interested in a more in-depth analysis of Tribes within an existing company, see my review of "Tribal Leadership" by Logan, King, and Fisher-Wright.