About this post:
Review of Seth Godin's Linchpin
Linchpin by Seth Godin. See all of Godin's titles on Amazon.
That's the subtitle of Seth Godin's latest book, Linchpin, and the question he puts to his readers. But that is not what I took away from it. I walked away from this quick read asking myself, "What is my art?"
Godin defines art as "a personal gift that changes the recipient." He says, "The medium doesn't matter. The intent does. Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another..." And, he dedicates an entire chapter to the "powerful culture of gifts." It was these ideas that most inspired me and really made me think.
"Every interaction you have with a coworker or customer is an opportunity to practice the art of interaction."
What is my art? What do I have to give? I've spent a lot of time thinking about this since reading Linchpin. I'm not sure I have the answer yet, but I have a few ideas:
- I am a producer, making order out of chaos. I may not be a visionary, but I can turn a visionary's ideas into reality.
- I am a sweeper. I scout out ahead of the project team, identifying risks and trying to eliminate any potential speed bumps before the project team gets to them.
I'm going to keep working on the answer—keep making "my map," as Godin calls it. Maybe those of you who have worked with me can tell me what you think my art is.
And, because I love quotes (particularly those by Tom Waits, but I'm an equal opportunity quote employer), I'd like to leave you with a few excerpts from Linchpin that made me think or resonated with me so much that I copied them down into my notebook—It's the lazy man's book review.
"Art is never defect-free. Things that are remarkable never meet spec, because that would make them standardized, not worth talking about."
"There are two ways the linchpin can use 'no.'
The first is to never use it. There's a certain sort of indispensable team member who always finds a yes. She always manages to find a way to make things happen, and she does it. It's done. Yes.
Those people are priceless.
Amazingly, there's a second kind of linchpin. This person says "no" all the time. She says no because she has goals, because she's a practical visionary, because she understands priorities. She says no because she has the strength to disappoint you now in order to delight you later. When used with good intent, this negative linchpin is also priceless. She is so focused on her art that she knows that a no now is a worthy investment for the magic that will be delivered later."
"There are two reasons why it's vital to know whom you are working for. The first is that understanding your audience allows you to target your work and to get feedback that will help you do it better next time. The other reason? Because it tells you whom to ignore. It's impossible to make art for everyone. There are too many conflicting goals and there's far too much noise. Art for everyone is mediocre, bland, and ineffective."
"We have everything we need, so we're not buying commodities. We're not even buying products. We're buying relationships and stories and magic...change me, connect with me, or make a difference in my life."