“Linchpin” – Seth Godin

In January I traveled to New York to a pre-release event for Seth Godin‘s latest book “Linchpin.” Of course, as an attender of that event, I received an autographed copy of the book and had a brief opportunity to meet the author. The whole experience was great and very worth the trip.

Over the years, I have attended a substantial amount of seminars, conferences, and presentations. As a pastor and a nearly life-long church attender I have seen and heard countless sermons. The presentation Seth gave that Friday morning was the best overall presentation I remember ever seeing. His visuals, the obvious preparation, the flow, his knowledge of the material, the conversational tone of a mentor, all of it came together in a way that when he was done, the audience wanted more. This was after a two-hour monologue! It was captivating and quite persuasive.

I took a couple of weeks to process the experience and the notes I took before diving into the book. Once I did, I was hooked again.

Seth challenges the very economic and educational fabric of our society. Not in an angry anarchist way, but in a straight forward matter of fact tone. His claim that our current way of approaching jobs, schools, and responsibility has left a void that is part of the reason for the dramatic societal shift that has so many wondering where it is all going. He proposes that the age of industrialization has ended and we have entered the age of art. Art being defined as solving a problem in a way that no one else has before and doing so with emotional energy. My favorite example given is found on page 85:

“Art is original. Marcel Duchamp was an artist when he pioneered Dadaism and installed a urinal in a museum. The second person to install a urinal wasn’t an artist, he was a plumber.”

The book is full of quotable lines, evidenced by the steady stream I have seen on Twitter, Facebook, and in other blog reviews. Two that caught my attention especially:

  • “Artists think along the edges of the box, because that’s where things get done.” (page 102)
  • “The diamond cutter doesn’t imagine the diamond he wants. Instead, he sees the diamond that is possible.” (page) 174

This book is revolutionary in thinking and proposal. Again, not in a disrespectful or militant way, but with great respect and understanding for people. It pulls no punches though and boldly makes its propositions. As any revolutionary work, there are parts that as a reader you will stop and question what you just read. You will find yourself having a conversation with the words on the page, at times, this could turn into a debate as you wrestle with the concept. Some of what I found myself wrestling with I soon realized wasn’t a concept, but reality.

No matter how much we think we embrace change, there will always be a thing or things that catch us in a soft spot and all of a sudden we find ourselves defending a status quo. “Linchpin” will bring you face to face with this on more than one occasion.

Truth is, if more people would begin to live their lives as “Linchpins” than our society and world would be on a much different and better course. More would be done. More would be given. The gaps between peoples would lessen and even disappear. Seth advocates extreme generosity as a way to get much accomplished. He is absolutely right. Generosity, not greed is the key to success in life. Not just financial or career success, but success as a person. Success in relationship and purpose.

As Seth says, everyone can be a Linchpin!

Not only do I strongly recommend this book, I have already purchased and given several copies away and plan to continue to do so.

In fact, I will give away one copy here. Just leave a comment below and on February 26, I will pick one person randomly from the comments and send you a copy.

You can also purchase the book here from Amazon.

Comment away. How would you define art?


  1. Since you guys were the only two to comment, I’m giving you both a copy. I’ll contact you thru Twitter or something to get the mailing address you want it sent to.

  2. I enjoy Seth’s blog and have read a handful of his books. I have a feeling Linchpin hits the problem of our economy dead on: lack of innovation and creativity. I don’t think we can nurse and retail our way out of this mess. The economy is changing, but to what?

    Even if I don’t receive the book, I’ll be chilling at Borders one day on my spring break to read it.

  3. woops. didn’t define art with the comment.

    Here’s my definition off the top of my head (2 years ago I took an art class as an elective and talk art with my wife (allisonlehman.com) on a daily basis, so “off the top of my head” isn’t just BS).

    Art. Art is something that – when observed – shows us something. It could show us something about ourselves, about someone else or about a concept or idea.

    A urinal in a museum showed us something about art. It was art that made people think about what art was. Is art a painting? Is art a sculpture?

    Art is an expression of the artist. It comes from within. Art is a process in which the result is merely symbolic of the process and the artist.

    In my opinion, everything is art. The most pointless object shows us something about ourselves, about our society.

    Bad art does a horrible job at representing its intent.
    Good art represents its intent accurately.

    Sermons are art. Churches (both people and buildings) are art. My faith is art. My life is art. God fashioned me to do what I do and act the way I do for a reason. I’m a piece of art that is supposed to illustrate something about the Artists intent.

    (great, great book = art and fear)

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