A Book Report on Tribes
Defining a Tribe
Seth Godin notices things. I’ve watched half a dozen interviews of him and a few recorded keynotes online. He always describes himself in the terms of noticing things. If you’re not familiar with Seth, he’s a prolific blogger, serial entrepreneur, marketer, and bestselling author of many business books including: Lynchpin, All Marketers Are Liars, and Tribes. Today, I’ll discuss Tribes.
The premise of the book is that every brand and company needs a tribe. This tribe can be described as Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans, but it goes deeper than that. A tribe has those True Fans and also people who are walking evangelists for you. Not only do they buy what you create, but they also tell their friends about it. They camp outside of stores the night before a release and they do it together. Tribes are a moving, reacting, and cohesive unit with you as the leader.
A tribe needs a leader. As the book’s subtitle said, “…We Need You to Lead Us,” tribes have a defined leader with direct two-way communication to every member. The members know the leader and he or she knows them. A leader is not a manager. Managers maintain the status quo. They keep change from happening. Leaders listen, lead from the front and invoke change. The leader is the most outspoken heretic of them all.
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In a battle between two ideas, the best one doesn’t necessarily win. No. The idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.
Heretics as Leaders
The heretical leader must be the biggest zealot of the tribe. If the leader is the face of a brand, then they need to be the biggest believer in what that brand does or stands for. A leader knows they must be this way. She or he never expects the other members of the tribe to care as much as they do. The other members may care, but it’s up to the leader to always be marching ahead without expectation. The leader does it because they care. They truly believe in the message.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tribes. It was a short and easy read that kept me engaged and turning each page. This is the first book of Godin’s I have read and I will continue to read more of his work. I would recommend this book to any established or new business leaders whether product, service, or creative-based.
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