The subject line to this post is Seth Godin’s reason for writing his most recent book: Linchpin. If you’ve had a chance to read some of my earlier posts, I’ve mentioned Godin a few times. His blog posts are short, thoughtful and generally leave me thinking. He’s known as a marketing guru of sorts – yet so many of his great little books talk about “change” – personal, organizational, and societal.
Last week I emailed him just to say thanks for his posts. He emailed back within about 15 minutes, saying thank-you in return, with some comments about wild and farmed salmon – and keeping the gumboots on the ground.
I didn’t email him back though – and tell him when my brother and I were kids growing up on Haida Gwaii off the coast of B.C. – where it rains about 280 days of year – our mom would make us leave the house with gumboots as we’d walk the mile or so to the bus stop. We’d get to the end of the driveway and throw the gumboots in the bush; grab our shoes out of our bags and put them on. Of course by the time we got to the bus stop our feet would be soaked – but, sheez, at least we still looked cool…
And now decades later when we’re all home we have a chuckle about it – our mom was certainly wiser than we gave her credit at the time (we thought we were soooo clever). She knew exactly what we were doing, however her take: “I did my part as a parent by getting you to leave the house with them on; after that it was your choice…” (or something to that effect).
I suppose in relation to the subject line of this post: she wasn’t interested in creating the leverage for change – she left that to us. Yet, this wasn’t necessarily the same tactic in cleaning up our bedrooms… parents have all sorts of leverage-tricks in that scenario (as I’m now learning as a parent).
Godin’s post: Why write a book? he suggests:
The goal isn’t always to spread an idea. Sometimes the goal is to make change happen. A book is a physical souvenir, a concrete instantiation of your ideas in a physical object, something that gives your ideas substance and allows them to travel.
The reason I wrote Linchpin: If you want to change people, you must create enough leverage to encourage the change to happen.
Books change lives every day. A book takes more than a few minutes to read. A book envelopes us, it is relentless in its voice and in its linearity. You start at the beginning and you either ride with the author to the end or you bail. And unlike just about any form of electronic media, you get to read the book at your own pace, absorbing it as you go.
I published a book today. My biggest and most important and most personal and most challenging book. A book that scared me.
It took me ten years to write this book. I’m hoping it changes a few people.
Kind of neat to read coming from someone who puts a book out and a few weeks later sees it on the New York Times bestseller list.