First of all, this is the first time I have read Seth Godin and I have to say that he lived up to the hype.

This book was challenging and inspiring.

Inside Cover artwork of Linchpin

The premise of the book is that we are on the verge of a new revolution akin to the industrial revolution but this movement is the polar opposite of it’s predecessor. The industrial revolution was supported by the factory model which breaks up complex jobs into smaller tasks that can be done with little training and therefore can be scaled and you don’t need to pay people for specialized skills.  These factory workers become cogs in a large machine.  The model worked.

The problem:

Now anyone with 3,000 can buy a laptop some software and have their own factory (produce widgets). This increased competition makes new upstarts more lightweight and produces better widgets than a large factories.  Also it puts creativity and innovation in the hands of a select few, grooming the factory workers to assume that creativity and innovation aren’t their job.

I enjoyed the premise of the book that claims that everyone has the potential to be exceptional.  He asserts that at one point we were all artists, when we as kids created artwork for the fridge.  We were all at one point in time entrepreneurs when we opened our first lemonade stand, but we have been conditions to be good factory workers.  Schools grade us on conformity.  Jobs push us into mediocracy by not rewarding employees for innovation, but sticking to the manual.  So our culture is grooming us to be cogs in a machine, but the problem is we have more to offer.

We are told that if we keep our heads down, work hard, and do what we are told we will be taken care of, promoted, and compensated.  The problem is this doesn’t work in reality. People at the top are people that are exceptional and chose to work differently than the other factory drones.

Definition of Art:

Seth proposes that the way to make yourself indespensable at your job is to go above and beyond.  Seth defines work that goes above and beyond the functio is art and art is a gift.  It has to be given.  When you pay for it ceases to be art.  And we all have something to give.  Therefore we are all artist.

Example:

Let’s say you are asked to do a video for a client. They want the video to dispense information.  You could string a couple pictures together, add some music, and write the information on the top, but you choose to tell that information with a story that is both entertaining and memorable that represents the best of your abilities. The job was to give out information.  The art was the time you spent going above and beyond. You would have been paid the same both ways, but you chose to give more. This makes you an artist. This puts you ahead of other factory workers that simply follow the manual. This makes you an innovator. So you have to ask yourself: