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Win a Free Copy of Linchpin by Seth Godin

Today I’m reviewing, discussing and giving away a free copy of Seth Godin’s latest book Linchpin. Keep reading to learn how to win a copy for yourself.

In Linchpin, Seth Godin describes the sea change that is taking place in the world economy and provides insight into how each one of us can position and improve ourselves to take advantage of the new economy.

Many of us hold the misconception that we ought to be able to find a good job, do what is expected, and that job should pay well and be secure. The reality of the new economy, however, is that if your job is just a matter of following procedure, a lot of people can do it, and your employer can probably find someone to do your job for less than it’s paying you.

Godin argues if you want to be successful and be secure in your job, make yourself indispensible – a linchpin. Go above and beyond what’s expected. Be an artist at what you do. Connect people. Solve problems. But most people don’t want to do this because the resistance (aka the lizard brain, our fear instinct) overwhelms them.

Godin also makes that case that businesses have two options. They can either provide the same product or service as everyone else but try to do it cheaper (in which case a bunch of other companies will be trying to do the same thing). Or they can create a remarkable product or service, which people love and want to pay more for. If you want to do the latter, you have to hire and nurture linchpins.

Favorite Quotes

There are so many insightful nuggets in Linchpin, it’s hard to whittle them down, but here is just a small sample of them.

  • You are not one of the myriad of interchangeable pieces, but a unique human being. – David Mamet (P 6)
  • The easier people are to replace, the less they need to be paid. (P 9)
  • If you make your business possible to replicate, you’re not going to be the one to replicate it. Others will. (P 11)
  • Consumers are not loyal to cheap commodities. They crave the unique, the remarkable, and the human (P 13)
  • The new American Dream, though, the one that markets around the world are embracing as fast as they can is this: Be remarkable, be generous, create art, make judgment calls, connect people and ideas… and we have no choice but to reward you. (P 33)
  • What the boss really wants is an artist, someone who changes everything, someone who makes dreams come true. (P 38)
  • Troubleshooting is an art, and it’s a gift. (P 60)
  • An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. (P 83)
  • Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. (P 84)
  • Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. (P 97)
  • All artists have this optimism, because artists can honestly say that they are working to make things better. (P 98)
  • If the ideas don’t spread, if no gift is received, then there is no art, only effort. (P 99)
  • Real artists ship. – Steve Jobs (P 101)
  • The resistance pushes relentlessly for you to fit in. (P 117)
  • Twitter… is the perfect resistance, because it’s never done. There’s always another tweet to be read and responded to. Which, over course, keeps you from doing the work. (P 134)
  • Unchecked anxiety is the single biggest barrier between you and your goals. (P 142)
  • Artists don’t give gifts for money. They do it for respect and connection and to cause change. (P 167)
  • What’s scarce is a desire to accept what is and then work to change it for the better. (P 185)
  • If there was a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map. (P 188)
  • A concert isn’t merely about the music, is it? And a restaurant isn’t about the food. It’s about joy and connection and excitement. (P 197)
  • Transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion. (P 201)
  • What do you do when your art doesn’t work? … Make more art… Give more gifts… Learn from what you did and then do more. (P 225)

Personal Thoughts

As an entrepreneur, a lot of the ideas Seth Godin presents in Linchpin resonate strongly with me. I’ve been making myself indispensible, creating connections, solving problems, and drawing maps for years. What Linchpin did for me is clarify those concepts and cause me to realize they are even more important than I realized.

There are three other important realizations I’m coming away with. 

  1. I am still playing it too safe, not setting big enough goals, and sort of standing out but not too much.
  2. I want – no, make that need – every person who works with me at OurChurch.Com to be a linchpin.
  3. I believe every person can become a linchpin.

I have a passion for seeing people to live up to their full potential. Before reading Linchpin, I just assumed that some people just weren’t gifted to be artists (in Seth’s use of the term). I figured some people were just wired up to be cogs in the economic machine. But, Linchpin convinced me that everyone has the potential to become a linchpin. That’s a thrilling realization. More than ever it stirs a passion in me to help people become more than they think they can be.

I highly recommend Linchpin to everyone.  In fact, I believe the insights contained in Linchpin are so important that I’m going to read through and discuss the book with my wife and I’m going to give a copy to everyone I work with. (How’s that for an endorsement.)

Discussion

  • Are you a linchpin in your job?
  • If you are, what is your art? What gifts do you give?
  • If not, do you believe you can become one? Do you want to be one?
  • If you’ve already Linchpin, what were your biggest takeaways?

Get a Free Book

If you’d like a free copy of Linchpin, all you have to do is

  1. Retweet this post or share it on Facebook, and
  2. Post a meaningful comment to this post that contributes to the conversation (include your Facebook or Twitter usename in your comment so I can connect your comment to your share/tweet).

One person will be randomly selected the morning of Monday 3/29 to receive a free copy of Linchpin.

27 Responses to “Win a Free Copy of Linchpin by Seth Godin”

  1. Karen (@awordsmith) Reply March 25, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Paul, I’ve already read Linchpin, so I am not entering the giveaway, but I absolutely loved it! I was very challenged by it and came away with a lot of practical ways to improve the way I approach my own role as a leader (like you, I realize I’ve been playing it way too safe) and to look at the transition/change going on within my church as an opportunity. I set up a meeting with my lead pastor/boss for next week (my ship date!) to sit down and discuss a change in direction, organization, etc., for several of the ministries I oversee and will spend the weekend getting it all out of my various notebooks and from inside my head and onto paper.

    I highlighted a lot of the book because there was just so much good stuff in it, but the quote that stuck with me was: “Understanding that your job is to make something happen changes what you do all day.” I thought this was particularly true for those of us who serve in ministry and are so concerned with life change.

    I’ve also recommended Linchpin to several people and have purchased copies for my team leads, so they can become linchpins. I don’t know how anyone can read this book and not do something! I know I’ll definitely be a better leader for reading it. Great, great read!

    • Wow, that’s awesome Karen! Awesome that you’re putting what you learned in to action so quickly & awesome that you’re sharing the linchpin principles with your team leads.

  2. One thought that I had while listening to the audio of Linchpin is that we need more organizations to understand and appreciate creativity and artistry in the workplace. In speaking with a group of personnel consultants yesterday, we discussed how number of businesses that look for linchpins or grow linchpins needs to grow. Too many organizations still want replaceable cogs.

    For me the key to becoming a linchpin is to put others first. Creativity and artistry as described in the book criticize other people unless the motives are pure. The replaceable cogs in the organization which may be your managers and peers, won’t appreciate you standing out unless the organization clearly benefits.

    It takes some risk, but if you can help them win first, you start to build trust. There is no win-win unless someone will let the other person win first.

    Mike…

    • Mike, I think you’re right that many companies and non-profits are still looking for cheap cogs and need to see the value of having linchpins at every level. That was an important learning point for me.

  3. We live in two economies. (at least!) We have an economy in which people strive to be significant “artists” who are key players in their enterprise, and we have an economy in which people are factors of production…or cogs…to use Mike’s word.

    In observing the world of the cogs, and participating in it over the last few months, I’ve learned that it’s filled with passive outlooks. It’s the place of the employee as a direct or indirect object not as a subject. It’s filled with people who are acted on, not with people who act. I’ve yet to determine whether the enterprise actively selects for that disposition, has adapted job functions to meet the labor pool, or simply doesn’t want any one person to be of significance. Whatever the case, I observe the people around me expressing varying degrees of depression, anger, and frustration. Their performance meets criteria, but their effectiveness is questionable. What’s more, I hear very few people express the desire to be effective.

    I haven’t read this book, but it seems from this review that I’ve been practicing some of it’s principles. That has taken, as the article mentions, transferring my passion into this position by investing into others and helping them develop. It’s slow work. The boss doesn’t always like it. The enterprise will find it harder to retain the people who take “Linchpin” style outlooks to heart and live them. Okay… so far, I don’t see a down-side.

    Best,
    Michael

    • Michael, you’re right that is a big issue addressed in the book. Many companies still look for obedient drone workers even though they would be better off with linchpins. And many people settle for being cogs even though the artist inside is crying out to be heard. It leads to frustration on both sides. Fear in both the boss and the employee keeps the employee from becoming a linchpin.

  4. Really appreciate Seth Godin.. get his updates daily. Look forward to reading this one!

  5. When I read Linchpin, I was really struck with Godin’s concept of gift-giving. “The magic of the gift system is that the gift is voluntary, not part of a contract. The gift binds the recipient to the giver, and both of them to the community. A contract isolates individuals, with money as the connector. The gift binds them instead.” The internet provides a channel for us to freely share our art (writing, photography, ideas…)world-wide. How does that change our perception of art? I agree with Godin: giving can make you indispensable.

    • Kathryn, concept of gifts is huge isn’t it? And I totally agree with you (and Seth) that the Internet opens up a whole new world of giving opportunities.

      My hope is that this post is a gift to many. And the free book is a gift to someone. At the same time each person’s comment is a gift, not just to me but to all the other readers – giving your time and insight away for free.

      Thank you! 🙂

  6. Hi Paul,

    In the world of trucking we are in a constant state of flux. Whether it is economic conditions, tighter govt regulations, poor labor market or an internal condition, there is always a constraint. I believe the companies that will succeed are those that have linchpins. Although, they may not even know it.
    My goal is to continue to put myself out there as our initial linchpin and help others join me.

    • Yeah, trucking seems like an industry where the service is treated like a commodity and thus employees are treated like cogs. Good for you putting yourself out there as a linchpin! I’m sure that must be a challenge, but a worwhile challenge.

  7. “Transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion. (P 201)”. When we truly see our jobs as a gift, this will help to feed that passion. To often people look at their job as something they HAVE to do, rather than something the GET to do or as an ENTITLEMENT, rather than a BLESSING that has been entrusted to them. We could not help but be a Linchpin when we approach our jobs from these perspectives.

  8. Amen, Gaye!

  9. Paul, thank you so much for desiring to spread these wise words.

    I’ve known since the ripe old age of…14 that my path was to start a business. Not to make money, that was never my intent, but simply to not be a cog, to not be another body in a cubicle that could easily be replaced if anything was done “outside the box.” I double majored in business management and studio art (a pair that inspires wide eyes alone), but also minored in leadership (something that many can recognize, but few can accurately describe with words). I’m now building a model that incorporates the best of all three worlds, and will heavily encourage gifting (or tithing, as I previously read of the act). People should reward others who help, encourage, and give meaning to our shared lives.

  10. In re: Gaye’s comment. The people whom I have observed with the HAVE-TO or the ENTITLEMENT outlook have allowed themselves to become economic cogs…or drones, to use Paul’s word. Quite possibly their lack of financial management skills have gotten them into the position that they are quite literally economic slaves. So…they do HAVE to do this if they want to meet their obligations and they probably do feel trapped…and have been conditioned to be that economic slave…to depend upon someone else providing them with a good income opportunity. That’s all they’ve seen. Mom or Dad went to work for XYZ, INC., all of their lives and XYZ provided them with healthcare and a pension. They haven’t figured out that the NEW ECONOMY is a very old economy… Hunt, gather, farm. Do what you can do to survive and prosper. No one owes you. Find the courage to change the place you work now; to find a new place to work; or to start your own business… or be an economic slave tossed to and fro by the whims of your company’s newest b-school hires.

  11. @ABCfenceCo

    well, i heard an interview with Seth on the Catalyst leader blog, and now reading your notes on the book REALLY make me want it! It looks great! I like to consider myself a linchpin, or at least a person striving to be one (from what i know & heard). I’m 24 yrs old, i work for a Fence Co (mentioned above), and i really try to put all of my passion and skill into my job and i’ve become one of those people they can’t go without! I love it!

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  12. Hey Paul – I understand what you mean about companies still wanting drones. I happen to work for one of those companies. I think it’s a delicate balance to keep your job (being a drone) and breaking out and doing something creative (being a linchpin)! I think the key is to be convincing in what you are doing and get others “on board”. I hope reading this book gives me the courage to stop worrying about the drone and allows me to really set the linchpin in me free! Thanks for the opportunity – great post!

    • Ray, one of the points Seth makes in Linchpin is that it’s nearly impossible to be a linchpin and keep a job where they only want cogs/drones. Being a linchpin will involve risks and those risks could very well cost you your drone job. You’ll have to decide for yourself it it’s worth the risk, but Seth (and I) believe it is.

  13. Congrats to J. Michael Thurman, winner of the free copy Linchpin!

    Thanks you michael & to all of you who participated in the discussion & shared/tweeted the link for others to join us. Great conversation & insight shared!

    To everyone who didn’t win the book & hasn’t read it yet, I highly recommend you pick up and read a copy. If you want to buy it on Amazon, here’s a link:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591843162?ie=UTF8&tag=liveintent-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1591843162

  14. Paul,

    I received the book in yesterday’s mail. Seems that Seth and I share an opinion of our educational system and its ultimate goal…which isn’t my children’s education…. ‘-/

    Thanks for the opportunity. I’ll be sure to use it well!

    Michael

  15. “Transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion.” This is an interesting quote from my perspective because I do believe you need to bloom where you are planted but I also believe we have God-given passions that are tied to our purpose. John Maxwell said “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” Our passion’s lie in our God-given vision or purpose and setting out to fulfill that calling is where we will be most useful.

    • Kathy, that’s a great point. I think in that quote Seth is speaking to people who might be inclined to make excuses about why they don’t think they can be a Linchpin in their current job. Like you said, we all have God-given passions and gifts. It’s a terrible shame when a person’s passions and gifts go unfulfilled. Sometimes a person can utilize them in their current job and sometimes in a volunteer rule while staying in their current job. But often a person has to find (or create) the job that allows them to fully live out their passions and gifts.

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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paul Steinbrueck, Karen Davis. Karen Davis said: RT @paulsteinbrueck: Read my review & win a free copy of Linchpin by Seth Godin – http://bit.ly/aoRWkl // Great review of a great read! […]

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