By far one of the most important and personally impactful books I have read in the past few years, Seth Godin’s Linchpin is a must read for those of us who want to remain relevant in the emerging global information economy. I would categorize this book as more of a manifesto for the new age of work.
Seth’s basic premise is that the industrial, factory mentality of work is obsolete and a new “linchpin” mentality must emerge. He describes the factory mentality as go to work, do a prescribed job (no more), go home, collect money, repeat. Instead, Seth implores us to become linchpins – the piece that, if missing, causes the machine to come apart. These employees, he says, will have higher job security, compensation and satisfaction in their careers.
The way to become a linchpin is to think less like a factory worker and more like an artist. See what you do as art. Add more to your organization than just effort hours – put in emotional work. Art, he says, is given as a gift. The new online economy is really a gift economy – you give what you have freely (think blog, online communities, videos, etc.) to others and they give back.
The book is incredibly rich with few wasted words. I actually have the audio version and have started listening to it for a second time. This book is hard to accept (by our “lizard brain” as Seth calls it) in many ways because it goes against our ingrained idea of work and our philosophy of work. However, it rang very, very true for me in terms of what I have experienced and learned in recent years. The jobs that are easily repeatable and replaceable will continue to be given to the lowest bidder. Don’t race to the bottom trying to become the Wal-Mart of your industry, race to the top, becoming the Bentley or Porsche. This is done through art and emotional labour, not by focusing on cost reduction and creating cogs.
If you are under 50 and still have decades of career ahead of you, do yourself a huge favor and read this book.
Dan tells us that according to research, financial motivation increases productivity for process-driven tasks but actually decreases it for creative tasks that require real problem solving.
Recently listened to the audio book “Book Review: Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School” by Philip Delves Broughton. In short, Philip was a journalist who decided to attend Harvard Business School at age 32 to get his MBA. He writes about the 2 year experience in this book.
Philip gives a very candid and insightful view of life at HBS. He discussed how things work there, what they learn and how they learn it. What struck me was just how non-magical it is there. Philip really pulls back the curtain and shows you that it is not anything special or particularly magical that is being taught there. IN the end the value you get from HBS is the experience, the people that you meet and the opportunities that it opens up.
Philip certainly takes a hard look at deeper issues like personal ambition and unfettered capitalism which I enjoyed. If you have ever wondered what it means to pursue an MBA and what you would get out of it, pick up this book. Lots of lessons in an easy to read (or listen to) format.
Just finished reading “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi today. Keith is a networking guru. I had heard of this book several times but never looked at it too closely thinking it was probably a cheeseball networking instructional manual. You know, make a gun with your finger, point, wink and say “How you doin?”. You know, real estate agent/car salesman stuff (no offense).
However, after doing some more looking into it and reading reviews I decided that I was probably wrong and ordered the book. I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality both in terms of philosophy and practical advice.
What I took away from this book:
- In today’s new work rules you are defined by your network of friends and associates, not by who you work for right now.
- Be sincere, vunerable and personal in your business relationships. Holding your cards close to your chest and hoarding information and power is old school. In today’s online, connected world you are on display.
- Most of your big (and little) breaks in life will come through people you know and who like you.
- Your long-term success depends on the quality of the relationships you have formed. Especially as a leader.
- You need to pay attention to your personal brand. Whether you want one or not, you have a brand – the image that others have of you.