Linchpin by Seth Godin; A Review.
With a title like Linchpin: Are you indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is just another ‘business guru’ ‘ra-ra cheerleader’, ‘you can do it’ style of book that is heavy on the back pats and light on the practical application of doing good work…. But it’s not.
Work hard, make mistakes, be accountable, be generous and develop skills that make you indispensable. Great messages to take away from a very practical account of a way forward, that acknowledges the various road blocks that prevent people from fulfilling their potential.
From the industrialised nature of the school system, to modern journalism, to a discussion of the kinds of jobs that are prevalent in society today and their worth, Godin presents a part anthropological, part historical, part how-to manual for navigating these environments.
Godin doesn’t present an easy, pain free version of a successful career path, rather a generous, fulfilling one. One that requires self-awareness and a dedication to doing all the right things, even when you don’t think anyone is watching.
In talking about the myriad ways that people can become indispensable to clients, customers and employers, he illuminates a range of possibilities for people who are ready to take responsibility for their own personal and career evolution.
Much of what Godin promotes in Linchpin is in the creating of what he calls ‘Art’.
“Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that causes change in another.”
“Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient.”
Art is the effort that a human puts in to make things better for someone else, without thought of immediate reward, or pats on the back, or recognition. The Art that Seth Godin speaks about is an act of gift-giving that at once changes someone else’s life in some way, while helping you to become indispensable.
I have to say, rather than most of the ‘gurus’ that write business books that either lack humanity, and treat people like pawns, or lack a realistic picture of the work it takes to make it in any field, or the books that just flat out say nothing of importance at all, Linchpin was a fantastic read.
Godin’s advice works, and I can prove it!
I have, over the years, heard bits and pieces of Seth Godin’s stuff on various interviews, podcasts, read a few articles and blogs etc, but he never really engaged me. Then, I listened to an old podcast of his – The Seth Godin Start-up School. It was really great, a series of short pieces taken from a workshop he did around 2011 or something. It was very generous, had a handful of very practical and insightful tips, and so, out of appreciation for his efforts, I went and purchased a few of his books.
Seth was generous, he was an expert and he gave me a gift that I wanted to repay. All that happened BEFORE I actually read Linchpin, so now I know what was going on! Regardless, I am not disappointed.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who believes that they need to change what they are doing to feel fulfilled or become more successful, to anyone who lacks the conviction to do the scariest thing (Ship your product/art/etc), and to anyone who is interested in a perspective of what the future of work and successful workers might look like!
Thanks Seth, for practicing what you preach and doing an excellent job along the way, I hope that everyone finds the courage to be better, be more generous and create more art in their day to day lives as a result of this book.
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports