Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Graceful by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a publishing machine.  He deserves credit for (to use Tom Peter’s term) re-imagining publishing.  I’m not aware of anyone else close to his skills at channel- linking: Kindle books, hardcover books, free books, blogs, Twitter.  And most recently with Kickstarter.  Very inventive indeed.

Graceful follows the style of many of his books, that is, very short chapters, each making a single point to support and develop the theme of the book.

One of George Gilder’s recommendations in the early days of the Internet and the PC explosion was to determine which resources are scarce and which are abundant.  Then design to exploit the abundant resource.  Mr. Godin updates that concept with gracefulness being in short supply, along with leadership.  In his view, in the new economy is based on abundance.   I would label that a network effect.   From his chapter on Abundance and scarcity: “If I benefit when everyone knows my idea, then the more people I give the idea to, the better off we all are”.

Mr. Godin’s books are always encouraging.  He encourages the reader to think, create and most of all to act.  Again, in his view, the digital economy and network effects have altered the course of the economy.  In the new economy, “…safe is risky”.  His recommendation to the reader is to avoid anxiety, face fears and take risks.  Only by moving to the edge of one’s risk profile will one do his best work.
One of the shortest chapters - Deniability – particularly caught my attention.  In it he notes that it isn’t difficult to take or assume responsibility.  Once you’ve asked for it – people are more than willing to hand it off to you.  A different way of looking at it.

At an Internet business I’m involved with, we say large networks win.  Mr. Godin notes “ideas that spread win”.
Nice little book.  Quick read.  As always, some provocative material.

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