Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #35: Various Books by Seth Godin

Dear kids,

Seth Godin is a legend. Read and enjoy anything and everything he’s written. Ostensibly about business and marketing, his books have a way of inspiring you in any career path you choose. I have a feeling that even though he’s trendy, he won’t get quickly outdated. Hard to pull off, that.

Quotes from Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?: And Other Provocations:

  • On making a large financial decision, as in deciding between the free state school and the expensive school: You can have the stereo if you give up going to Starbucks every workday for the next year and a half. Worth it? If you go to the free school, you can drive there in a brand-new Mini convertible, and every summer you can spend $25,000 on a top-of-the-line internship/experience, and you can create a jazz series and pay your favorite musicians to come to campus to play for you and your fifty coolest friends, and you can have Herbie Hancock give you piano lessons and you can still have enough money left over to live without debt for a year after you graduate while you look for the perfect gig. Suddenly, you’re not comparing “this is my dream” with a number that means very little. You’re comparing one version of your dream with another version.
  • If you didn’t want anything in return, nothing at all, what’s the most generous thing you could do for your best customer, your best friend, your most important prospect? Give it a try.
  • There is no thrift store for content.
  • How to Make a Million Dollars: One popular method is to make a dollar in profit from each of a million people. Or a penny from a hundred million. This is the China strategy. It almost never works. It almost never works because the challenge of reaching that many people is just too great . . . The price isn’t the challenge; it’s the difficulty of spreading your idea. Far easier to make a thousand dollars from each of a thousand people, or even $10,000 from a hundred organizations
  • It’s a simple test of whether you’ve created a remarkable experience: “Would I buy the T-shirt?” A T-shirt for your blog or your accounting firm or your bug-fighting software. If you’re not T-shirt worthy, what would it take?
  • Like a Dream Come True That’s the way Derek Sivers (founder of CD Baby) described his mission statement in building the company. “What could I build that would be like a dream come true for independent musicians?” What an extraordinarily universal way to construct a product, a service, or a business. Notice that dreams are rarely “within reason” or “under the circumstances.” No, dreams are dreams. If your business is a dream come true for customers, you win. Game over.
  • I often use the Encyclopedia of Clichés to find clichés that then inspire opposites. It’s a secret weapon and it’s all yours now. Have fun.
  • I had a college professor who did engineering consulting. A brand-new office tower in Boston had a serious problem—there was a brown stain coming through the drywall (all of the drywall), no matter how much stain killer they used. In a forty-story building, if you have to rip out all the drywall, this is a multimillion-dollar disaster. They had exhausted all possibilities and were a day away from tearing out everything and taking a loss. They hired Henry in a last-ditch effort to solve the problem. He looked at the walls and said, “I think I can work out a solution, but it will cost you $45,000 if I succeed.” They instantly signed on because if he succeeded, the project would be saved. Henry asked for a pencil and paper and wrote the name of a common hardware-store chemical and handed it to them. “Here, this will work.” And then he billed them $45,000. That’s quite an hourly wage. It’s also quite a bargain.
  • If we accomplished one thing with the twelve books at the Domino Project, this is what I was hoping to achieve: we made the world safe for manifestos. Every one of our books has changed (at least a few of) the people who experienced them.



Get the entire recommended reading list at Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday.


Being in love is harder than it sounds. Really, it’s a challenge on every level. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby on Amazon now.


Buy stuff on Amazon and support this blog. Easy enough, right? Just click here. Anything you buy counts.

One comment