Tribes, We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin :: Review

Catalyst Conference in Atlanta

Catalyst Conference in Atlanta

I have written over 615 blog posts on this blog that span some 8 years from March 2001 until now, and today I am breaking new ground on my blog.  Back at the beginning of 2009 I decided that this year I was going to read more, which wouldn’t be to hard to achieve.  I have never been a big reader of books, although I read a ton of material on blogs, news, and other media areas, but it almost always comes from looking at a computer screen, not paper.  Taking a small amount of inspiration (I say small because I can’t keep up) from Brian on his quest to read a book a week, I thought I would just try to read “more” than I did last year.  So, this happens to be the first book I finished in 2009, and therefore the first review as well.

This particular first book, Tribes by Seth Godin I happen to given a copy by the author during the Catalyst conference where he was speaking.  Naturally I do have some photos of Seth talking about his theories on Tribes just before he gave away 12,000 copies to every person in the arena that day.  I will not have personal photos of each author, but in this case I do.

Tribes, We Need You To Lead Us // Seth Godin

I asked someone who finished this book before I did what he thought about Tribes, and his reaction was lack-luster but interesting.  He said “it wasn’t a how-to book, I didn’t know what to do with it when I was done”.  That was actually a very good description of the book, Tribes isn’t a how-to book, but a book that talks about how we go about being successful as leaders to build a following, or how we can fail at it miserably.

More than about the Internet, yet spawned by the growth of social networking, barriers to building a tribe have been removed and we have basically been set free to build (lead) our own tribe of followers.  In many cases we are already leading a tribe and don’t even know it.  Blogs, facebook, iPhone users, Twitter, or amazing restaurants that only open once a quarter all have followers that need a leader.

Probably my favorite line in the whole book comes down to this: “Change isn’t made by asking permission.  Change is made by asking forgiveness, later.”

Tribes is a great leadership book, a quick read, and Seth follows his own advice in the book at the end when he says:

Give this copy to someone else.  Ask them to read it.  Beg them to make a choice about leadership.  We need them.  We need you.

Here are a few of the highlights I took away from the book

  • Leaders don’t care for the “official blessing” they use passion to lead not threats to manage
  • In every organization everyone rises to the level at which they become paralyzed with fear
  • Heretics are too numerous to burn at the stake.  So we celebrate them
  • Change isn’t made by asking permission.  Change is made by asking forgiveness, later.
  • Religion at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith.
  • Real leaders don’t care about getting credit where credit is due

If you have a chance to pick up the book I would recommend it, if you know someone who has a copy and has already read it, tell them to read the last page and hand it over.

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