Book Review – Tribes

January 3rd, 2010 by Gallagher John No Comments

I just finished reading Tribes by Seth Godin.  To say that this was a difficult book for me to read would be an understatement.  As I got to the final pages, I found myself thinking about how I would review the book and the author knew exactly what he was doing(as I had presumed).  In the final 2 pages, there was a section titled “What, Exactly, Should You Do Now?” It followed with: “You made it to the end.  And it’s possible you missed the checklists, the detailed how-to lists, and the For Dummies style instruction manual that shows you exactly what to do to find a tribe and lead it.  I think that was the point.”

Well, I kept saying to myself the last several pages that this book was not organized into logical chapters AND, I think that is exactly what the author intended.  He confirmed if for me.  At least it was confirmed that I was NOT losing my mind!!!

The Tribe in the title is that group needing to be led.  It may be a Tribe that is already created, but they need a leader. 

There were takeaways for me that I highlighted and/or dogeared:

  • He talked about heretics as those wanting to make a difference and challenging the status quo.  I might refer to them as ‘pot-stirrers’, but stirring the pot with the intent to improve and solve a problem, not just stir the pot.  The example he used was “If faith is the foundation of a belief system, then religion is the facade and the landscaping.”  Just because you challenge ‘religions’, doesn’t mean you lose ‘faith’
  • He talked about technologies like Twitter, Facebook, and blogging as ENABLERS, and not as a cure.
  • He did throw in one “How to” about 2/3 of the way through the book by identifying the key elements in starting your movement:
    • Publish a ‘manifesto’ (motto, mantra, story)
    • Make it easy for your followers (Tribe) to connect with you
    • Make it easy for the Tribe to connect with one another
    • Realize that money is not the point of a movement
    • Track your progress

My favorite quote of the book was early on how he differentiates between managers and leaders

Managers have employees…Leaders have followers
Managers make widgets…Leaders make change
Final analysis: In reviewing back through, I had 5 dogears in the book, thus a 5 out of 10 rating.  I think this is a good book to help challenge conventional thinking and has some examples of how some have chosen to make a difference.
Anyone else read this book?  Do you have a different viewpoint?