Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us (Unabridged)
A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It's our nature.
Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more important, they're enabling countless new tribes to be born - groups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming.
And so the key question: Who is going to lead us?
The Web can do amazing things, but it can't provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals - people just like you who have a passion about something. The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips.
If you think leadership is for other people, think again - leaders come in surprising packages. Consider Joel Spolsky and his international tribe of scary-smart software engineers. Or Gary Vaynerhuck, a wine expert with a devoted following of enthusiasts. Chris Sharma leads a tribe of rock climbers up impossible cliff faces, while Mich Mathews, a VP at Microsoft, runs her internal tribe of marketers from her cube in Seattle. All they have in common is the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.
If you ignore this opportunity, you risk turning into a "sheepwalker" - someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs, never asking if obedience is doing you (or your organization) any good. Sheepwalkers don't do very well these days.
Tribes will make you think (really think) about the opportunities in leading your fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers....It's not easy, but it's easier than you think.
Why Tribes May Be The Most Important Book This Decade
I've just finished reading a pre-release copy of Seth Godin's new book, Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us. I think it may be the most important book I've read this decade.
In his usual, easy to read, conversational style, Seth provides a manifesto outlining a new type of heretical leadership. As I read through the book I found myself highlighting pretty much the whole thing...almost every page contained nuggets that I had to underline and flag.
Seth says about leadership, "We hesitate because it feels like something we need to be ordained to do." He then proceeds to deconstruct the traditional understanding of hierarchical leadership and paint an inspiring picture of what leadership is today.
Whether you are in business, ministry, politics, education or social work...you need to read this book.
Seth's Expanding Tribe
I was mildly aware of the author when I downloaded this book on iTunes at a great price (it used to cost 95 cents). It was the title that caught my attention (and the price). The more I listened, the more I found myself trying to write stuff down. "Leadership comes when your hope and your optimism are matched with a concrete vision of the future and a way to get there." I couldn't write fast enough so I bought the book. Great strategy for "How to Sell a Book" (see page 129 of the hardcopy). If you listen, which I highly recommend, BEWARE because you're going to want to buy the book too. Great stuff. Guess that puts me in the tribe of Seth, a tribe I recommend to you.
Pretty uninspiring, actually
I'm sorry to say this, but I thought this book was pretty lame. While the general idea is quite interesting -- the notion of social "tribes" and the role of leadership -- this book could essentially be consolidated into a single well written paragraph.
Godin just keeps repeating the same general idea, again and again, of Tribes (tm), and tries to sell you on his "vision". But there is little research or evidence in the book to support most of his claims, and they sound fairly hollow towards the end. While I suspect his ideas are basically right, I wish he had bothered to do some research for this book; it would have been more convincing. Instead, it has the shallow feel of a marketing book, written buy a guy who only gives PowerPoints and writes "inspiring" books for a living.
Save your money. Just listen to the preview, and you'll have about 90% of the book right there.