I have just finished reading Linchpin by the genius artist that is Seth Godin. He of course wouldn’t claim to be a genius but that’s the point of the whole thing. A linchpin is described as:
A person or thing vital to an enterprise or organisation.
In his book Godin takes you through his thinking of why most of us are cogs in the wider system and how we are all trained to be good employees through school, university and then again in our jobs. We are trained to follow orders and make the machine work in what he describes as the “factories”. He does mean this in the actual sense of factory but he is also referring to us working in offices chained to our new machines or computers as we know them.
He talks about us being forced to conform and we shouldn’t because its the people that don’t that are successful. He offers some great examples throughout of people who have defied the rules to do things differently. Some of my favourite quotes from the book include:
- “Artists can’t draw. They use bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally.”
- “Trying and failing is better than merely failing – it makes you an artist.”
- “It doesn’t matter that you are always right it matters you are always moving”
The concept of the book is that we all have to stand out and not be a cog in the system any more and do what he describes as “Art” in our day to day jobs this can anything from smiling more to engaging with your customers better. He believes it is about standing out and being counted rather than just following orders. That said he isn’t asking for everyone to be sacked and not do what they are told just to enjoy what you do more.
I particularly liked his section on people. He says why don’t you just accept some people you can’t change. So when you are driving along in your car and someone cuts you up rather than shouting and screaming about it. Try and reflect on it and think well look at that. The point is you can’t change everyone. I think this might be a challenge for me next time I am on the road but I am certainly going to think differently about people in the future and maybe that is the point.
A lot of the main concept of the book reminded me of a book I reviewed a while back called Rich Dad Poor Dad that too was a great book and was about leaving the system but for me it was more focussed on a business owner than employees too which is why I thought Seth hit the nail on the head.
He also talks about our lizard brain which is like our conscience telling us to conform and fit in. He believes we should ignore it and try and do things that broaden our horizons. There is no doubt Seth himself is an artist and if all his books are as good as this I think I am going to have to switch off my TV for the foreseeable future.
Do you have a great business book you can recommend? If you do let me know in the comments I am always looking for good recommendations on what to read.