I’m a huge Chris Brogan fan, and a Dan Pink admirer so when Chris did his video review of Dan Pink’s new book Drive I had to order it. I’m always out talking about Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind. So what’s not to like here?
Okay, so I ordered Dan’s “A great man is a sentence,” in hardback no less. (I was in an abundant, expansive mood.) I also made the FATAL AMAZON ERROR of looking at “people who ordered” recommendations, and ended up ponying up for Seth Godin’s Tribes and Lynchpin.
Okay, now I know am an English major from way back, and may have read a few too many 19th century novels. But what the hell happened to writing a BOOK?
While Drive does rest on research, mostly well-known and rehashed from other places, at is heart is a really, really simple message: we work harder at things that matter to us, and when we can measure our own progress and see we’re getting better. There are old-school ways to “motivate,” through control and compliance, and there are new-school ways, that offer choice, mastery, and meaning. You got that? Rise, repeat. Throw in some anecdotes, sprinkled in abundantly to add pages, about “great” entrepreneurs and business leaders who are motivating in NEW AND DIFFERENT ways, fold in resources (basically annotated bibliographies of folks who form pillars of Pink’s thought), and you got the whole damn thing. This is a book written in an airport waiting lounge, with an editor texting Pink about his overdue set of chapters. This is proof to me that no matter how fluent and well-lubricated a bunch of thoughts-on-a-napkin can be, this kind of writing, and thinking, takes you only so far. Pink needs to get off the road and gestate a little.
But that book’s the heavy stuff. Pink’s Drive is a positive telephone book of detail and theory in comparison to Seth Godin’s Tribes and Lynchpin. The chapters are LITE in the extreme, scaled to a 15-second YouTube attention span, not even extensive blog posts, but little puffs of thinking, somewhat enigmatically and mysteriously arrayed. YOU CAN BE A LEADER in the brave new world of social marketing. Don’t think you’re a cog in the wheels of the machine. Reject the industrial model. Lead! There’s a them and there’s an us, and we are us. Be us.
While the underlying message is seemly populist, there’s a bit of the king in Godin’s persona. He is master of a dual message: I’m better than you, but every little scared soul out there can be a leader. (Just like me! I’m a lynchpin!) He’s simultaneously aloof and populist, selling timeworn ideas in seemingly new-thinking packages. He puts us down while he tantalizes, chastising while building you up. “Twenty percent of the population now uses Facebook. Many of those users have the false impression that joining a group somehow matters. It doesn’t.” You better listen to me, he says, because–wait for it–human beings want, and need to belong to tribes. We create them. You should lead yours. I’m leading mine. 151 very lightly filled, condensed, small-trim-size pages of about becoming the leader you were meant to be.
It’s not a book, it’s a latte. And that would be non-fat, tall, with lots of Sweet N Low.
Lynchpin (2010), Tribe’s sequal, by Seth Godin can be condensed to this: don’t follow the rules and you will be indispensible. Table of Contents can be read in lieu of this book.
Tweeting as book writing. How short can you be?
In some ways it is a mindfulness, ancient wisdom approach to social marketing business advice. Say something with sufficient brevity, and grounded in such profound common sense, with a little pinch of enigma, the riddle, and a bit of a slap, and you’re golden.
The message is YOU matter. Godin seems to say it in a way that American marketers and entrepreneurs find irresistible.
And if I bought these books, I am, by definition, part of the Tribe. No more sheepwalking for me.
But should I have paid close to $15 bucks for these books? I could have watched YouTube. But being a tribe member, I was lead to it…