Each book is an experiment. Big time on the author's side, small time on each reader's side. There it is, the work; for you to decide whether you invest your precious time and money. Will it be worthwhile? WIIFM?
Well, if you already have made up your mind, read no further. Go get the real thing - Linchpin - in your bookstore, on-line, from a true friend, your library and so on. Or leave it for later, or ignore it forever. Up to you.
Still reading this? Thanks for your curiosity and for your trust. Let's go discover.
How to decide to read a book - or not?
If undecided, here is how I do it. The idea is to spend a little time now to decide whether the hours I will invest reading the book might be worth my while.
- Hands-on: Get the book in my hands, at bookstore, library, friends or other place. Open a random page, decide left or right, top or middle, read half the page. Does it resonate? No: close book, return, thank you. Some: Read more, up to three pages. Yes: get it, read it.
1. a) Alternative method: scan over contents. (Never seen a table of contents like in "Linchpin" before). Find something that resonates. Go there and read. No, some, yes, as above. Takes mere minutes.
- Trusted secondary source: Find people I trust and find out what they share about the book in question. Friends, acquaintances, bloggers I read for a while and trust they have no hidden agenda and disclose any affiliation. Resonance? Go / no-go? Decide in minutes.
- Unverified secondary source: Amazon reviews, critics, news media, gossip, hearsay, the works. Does not work so well any more with people I don't know. There is always more to read an verify whether it is worth of my trust, so I cut that short.
So I did read "Linchpin"
Disclosure: I follow Seth's blog for a while and in December got a 60 page excerpt to preview in exchange for a donation to charity. Reading the whole book, the preview was good, but had not the same impact. The book left me with a much stronger impression. It (or I) ...
Changed me, because I read "Linchpin"
My passion is to make technology work for people. Besides my normal work, I love to introduce new technologies that help people connect, to do a better job in checking safety and quality. I invent and describe processes and improve technologies. I look for the next thing that might help our employees and our customers. I got richly rewarded by steady company growth and by positions and projects I had the freedom to choose, define, fill, coach, grow, and pass on. (As this is my personal blog, I do not mention the company name.)
Linchpin, to my surprise, feels like story telling mixed with watching a great performance. In ever changing variation and juicy examples Seth Godin offers me a mirror for a part of my life. Then again - what's new, been there, done that. Great to read that I am not alone with this. Great if it inspires others become unafraid, more secure of their talents, unacknowledged as they may be. Great if it helps them start working their art. Really, fine with me (yawn).
What was in it for me?
Wow.Seth Godin manages to press a visceral work accelerator I did not know I had. Hard blows against the school-industrial complex. Pulls the rug and topples factory mentality. Occupational mediocrity is unsustainable, and so is usury. Excellence is your work, and your personal unimitable art. Let it shine. More wonderful advice to try out for work. Tricks that I did with mixed success, he explained, so they now start to work for me. Smile at people more, they beam back. Notice a fresh glimpse of wonder in their eyes. May you never be the same again.
This is it. The art of innovation has been my personal calling all the time. He named it. He named some of the obstacles, too, and points out ways to progress. I have context, I see the road ahead clearer, I shift gears.
One issue I have with the book is Seth's take on quality and defects on page 65. "An increase to one in ten thousand as a defect rate is good enough for most things, except perhaps pacemakers."
No, Seth, not if such good enough parts happen to be one of thousands that go into a modern product. That can make every tenth product a lemon, with enormous cost to fix them, once made or shipped. And there can be severe damage to the company's reputation, especially if one such defective product happens to be yours and you decide to blog about it. I pity the quality inspector who might get caught for letting that one slip through.
On page 69, you mention six sigma, 3.4 defects per million units. This applies to mass production and can save significant pain. Except in bowling, until you get close to a million throws. ASQ has books and tools on six sigma. You are right, though, about why the bowling score leaves little room to be remarkable, and why organizations find success in markets where asymptotes don't exist.
So you do want to read "Linchpin"
I gave you some ideas how you can check for yourself if you really want to. Before you fully commit, you can check a free eBook: Here's How. Perhaps you may not come back.
How do YOU decide which books to read?