Book:  Tribes

Author:  Seth Godin

Purchase:  PrinteBookAudiobook

Citation:  Godin, S. (2008). Tribes : we need you to lead us. New York: Portfolio.

Three Big Takeaways:

  • A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. You can't have a tribe without a leader, and you can't be a leader without a tribe. Human beings can't help it: we need to belong. One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people. We want to belong not to just one tribe, it turns out, but to many. And if you give us tools and make it easy, we'll keep joining. (pg. 3)

  • Marketing is the act of telling stories about the things we make - stories that sell and stories that spread. Marketing used to be about advertising, and advertising is expensive. Today, marketing is about engaging with the tribe and delivering products and services with stories that spread. (pg. 15)

  • A blog is an easy way to tighten your organization and spread the word within the tribe. A blogger has a free, nearly effortless tool to send regular messages to people who want to read them. And with comments and trackbacks, the members of the tribe can talk back - and to each other. Discussions take place, ideas are shared, decisions are made - quickly. (pg. 53)

Other Key Ideas:

  • There is a tribe of fellow employees or customers or investors or believers just waiting for you to connect them to one another and lead them where they want to go. (pg. 13)

  • With permission marketing, marketers must earn the right to deliver anticipated, personal, and relevant messages to people who want to get them. (pg. 21)

  • Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate. They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them. (pg. 23)

  • Kevin Kelly described the world of "1,000 True Fans." A true fan, he argues, is a member of the tribe who cares deeply about you and your work. An individual needs only a thousand true fans in her tribe. It's enough because a thousand fans will bring you enough attention and support to make a great living, to reach more people, to do great work. It's enough because a thousand fans, true fans, form a tribe. (pg. 32)

  • Dr. Laurence Peter is famous for proposing that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." In other words, when you do a great job, you get promoted. And that process repeats itself until finally you end up in a job you can't handle. (pg. 44)

  • What people are afraid of isn't failure. It's blame. Criticism. We choose not to be remarkable because we're worried about criticism. Fear of criticism is a powerful deterrent because the criticism doesn't actually have to occur for the fear to set it. Watch a few people get criticized for being innovative, and it's pretty easy to convince yourself that the very same thing will happen to you if you're not afraid. (pg. 47)

  • If ideas are great, they'll spread. The spread of these ideas can attract a tribe, and the author goes from anonymity to leadership. (pg. 54)

  • It took me a long time to figure out why I was so happy to be checking my email in the middle fo the night. It had to do with passion. Other than sleeping, there was nothing I would rather have been doing in that moment - because I'm lucky enough to have a job where I get to make change happen. (pg. 100)

  • Ronald Regan impressed his advisors, his adversaries, and his voters by actively listening. His secret was to listen, to value what was said, and then to make a decision even if it contradicted the very people he was listening to. People want to be sure you heard what they said - they're less focused on whether or not you do what they said. (pg. 128)

  • It's a myth that change happens overnight, that right answers succeed in the marketplace right away, or that big ideas happen in a flash. They don't. Improvements happen a bit at a time, not as grand-slam home runs that are easy to get. Part of leadership is the ability to stick with the dream for a long time. Long enough that the critics realize that you're going to get there one way or another...so they follow. (pg. 131)

Copyright © 2019 by Dr. Jared Smith LLC.  Specializing in Leadership, Education, and Personal Growth.