Book review: Tribes

TribesI’m going to do you a favor this morning, and that is to strongly (that’s not a strong enough term) recommend you go out today and buy Seth Godin’s new book, Tribes. Order it, if you must, but I recommend you go to your favorite bookstore TODAY and read this book, especially if you are a regular reader here.

Where do I begin? I’ve read most of Seth’s work, and I think this is his most important. It is prescient — perhaps even providential — absolutely nailing the biggest hole in our culture today: the need for its leaders to step forward. As the book teaches, you don’t have to be in charge of anything to be a leader, and to my friends and colleagues in local media everywhere, this means you.

The book so profoundly tracks my own life journey that I found my spirit leaping time and time again, and the book is so filled with sensational quotes (perfect for PowerPoints) that I’m sure you’ll be reading them everywhere. Here are a few favorites (in no particular order):

The rush from stability is a huge opportunity for you.

Leaders have followers. Managers have employees.
Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.

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.

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.

The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there.
People will follow.

The print and broadcasting industries badly need the wisdom that’s in this book, for leadership is what’s so badly missing. Media is run by managers and beancounters, neither of which stand a chance of rescuing anything (including their own jobs). That task falls to the heretics, and that’s the essential message of this wonderful book. You want to know why all the numbers keep heading south?

“In unstable times, growth comes from leaders who create change and engage their organizations, instead of from managers who push their employees to do more for less.”

I could go on and on, but you need to read the book and let it free your mind to embrace all that is you and your passion. Then go out and change the world.

I’m with Seth on this: we need you.


  1. Thanks Terry. I ordered it this morning. Two day free shipping from Amazon, saves on the gas.

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