Book Review: Tribes and Linchpin

Seth Godin sells confidence, and there are plenty of people who are willing to buy. These are the only two books of Godin’s I have read, but by the time I read the second one I sensed that they were very similar.

In Tribes, Godin’s goal is to get his readers to understand that there are people all over the world (“tribes”) with common interests who are waiting for a passionate person to lead them. The reader can be that passionate person. If the reader chooses not to be that passionate person, he or she is a “sheepwalker” — someone who is only interested in protecting the status quo.

In Linchpin, Godin’s goal is to get his readers to understand that in the current work world, employees can only have job security if they make themselves indispensable. The reader can be that indispensable person, whom Godin calls a “linchpin.” If the reader chooses not to be a linchpin, he or she can fall prey to “the resistance,” or the “lizard brain.” The resistance is fearful and cautious, not wanting you to take risks because of the possibility of failure.

If Seth Godin were a Christian (and I don’t think he is, despite the fact that he has spoken at Christian conferences), his spiritual gift would be Encouragement. He helps readers to realize that something needs doing, and helps them work up the gumption to do it.

This review might seem dismissive of Godin’s writing, but it isn’t. I found both these books to be valuable and, yes, encouraging. Of the two, I’d recommend Linchpin. It was longer and went into more depth, though both it and Tribes had the same cheerleading tone. If you need a pep talk (and who doesn’t, from time to time?), read Godin.