Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” Book Review — Are You Indispensable?


Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin goes on sale January 26, 2010.  Based solely on that, some of you already want to buy this book.  If so, here you go.

Another reader option, the most concise review I can muster:  After extensive research, Seth Godin is worried about your future.  Why?  Because he’s seen this movie before, and it may not end happily for you.  But everything you need in order to create a happy ending is already inside of you.  In your heart and in your soul.  Mostly, you just need to be reminded of it; and then inspired to implement it.  While he can remind you of those things, he can only suggest the inspiration.  You simply add yourself and watch your new path grow.

Now then, to my official review.  This will probably be too personal.  As truthful as it can be.  A bit indulgent, because that’s who I am around words.  And lastly, a call-to-action to each of you.  Because if you are prepared to read further, you are truly the reader who this book is meant for.

At a Flash

When Godin’s prose arrived it received a too-quick initial read.  Not on-purpose, but rather because it was too timely to allow rest.  The ideas too spicy. The pages burn through your fingertips; like a book in fast-forward.  A sizzle reel or a movie trailer.  Except unlike the trailer, here you’re not just shown the big, exciting, sexy moments.  The beautiful woman, the big explosion, the star delivering his really cool line of dialogue.  This fast-forward serves up some explosions, but also character moments.  Long, oscar-worthy monologues side-by-side with juicy moments of sinister mustache twirling.

You gulp it down for its taste.  And then the next day we begin reading again, this time slowly for texture, detail and nutrition.

Seth’s Setting

We no longer live in a safe society.  Safe people are not safe.  They simply haven’t been let go yet by the people who are in charge of them.  And they may never be let go.  But they’ll certainly never be in control of their own future.  They’ll float in that limbo.


A linchpin is in control.  A linchpin is summed up as an artist who creates such unique work and shares their gifts with the world in such profound ways that they are always valued.  There’s opportunities.  There is a future because they can create their own.

The above two paragraphs are the argument that Seth Godin attempts to make.

A Godin book can become a Life Manual.

Each Seth Godin book I’ve read turns into a life manual (each of which are listed at the very bottom).  How to re-examine your life.  How to live a stronger, hopefully better life.  How to get the most out of your time, having more valuable experiences with your friends, or how to work better with others.  So in many ways, his books turn into my books.

Today’s Life

Many of my friends have lost their jobs over the past year.  Some were riding high and now enjoy a limited, but comfortable life on un-employment.  Others are scraping by finding work wherever they can.  And lastly, there are those who’ve tried to survive and have since packed their bags and moved home.  This story unfortunately is too common.

Most of my unemployed friends are probably not job-hunting in the correct mindset; and following Godin’s reasoning, at least some of them will not find satisfaction as a result.  There is a multi-generational populace currently submitting resumes to jobs beneath themselves.  Aiming not high, not even lateral, but for anything with a reliable paycheck.

Your Life can be More

You can follow the pre-designed steps and be part of the process like any other cog in the factory.  Or you can choose to be real, genuine and alive.  You can invest emotional labor.  Take the chance.  Mean what you say not just with just your body, but with your feelings and emotion.  Deliver yourself in an unmistakable way.

If you work for someone else, opportunities to hear about or see your emotional labor, may raise your value at the company.  If not, as a practicing linchpin you can move on, creating your own path; one that works better for you.

Give to Share

Godin describes art as a personal gift that changes the recipient.  Paraphrasing: it can only be unique, not possibly duplicated by a machine, because a machine cannot create intent to touch someone else.  This gift must be clean and pure, without even a sense of reciprocity.  Otherwise it’s void upon creation.

The Evil Lizard can be helpful

Everyone has a lizard brain inside them.  A voice that brings out your fear, downplays your achievements and reminds you of possible or even likely failure.

Godin’s words don’t quell the lizard brain.  They taunt it.  Rages upon it; pulls it to his hind legs and grows him into an encounter you must endure to thrive or you’ll once again retreat into your temporarily safe life.


However, he also documents the animal, explaining its habitat, behaviors and weaknesses.  But dear reader, it’s up to you to assemble your courage, leap into the darkness of your own fears and fight the good fight.  Godin’s not even guaranteeing your win.

But as some of us know, whether you win or lose you gain more from the experience of the battle.

Are You a Linchpin?

The answer is quickly given.  Yes.  Godin believes we are all artists.  All geniuses.  Therefore all linchpins, if only we reach out and take our destiny.

And that is the challenge, which he spends the next two hundred-some pages covering.  Some of us are convinced by page three.  Some of us need hundreds of pages with strong supporting evidence and supporting idea after idea to help us hobble along until we reach full sprint.  Some of us believe this is a work of fiction.  Who would dare adventure in such bravery?

Maybe the answer is that most of us live in each of the above worlds and it’s our journey to take.  Some days we’re sprinting by page three.  Some days it’s viewed as fiction all day long.

Seth Godin “Linchpin” delivers a daunting task.  Look at yourself and see the artist that has been scared away since childhood.  See yourself as the genius with original ideas that has been ignored for too long.  The time is now.  The reasons are strong.  But ultimately, it’s up to you.

Buy this book if you are ready for a change and ready to take control of your life.  Buy this book if you think you’re ready for that change.  Buy this book, if you’re scared you won’t be ready.  Here’s your second chance:

Call To Action

Without knowing it, or realizing Mr. Godin would put an appropriate name to it, Connected Interactive was built on a linchpin idea.  I spent the past decade in entertainment.  Writing, directing; film, television.  You can Google me to investigate further.  And as we speak Connected is finding ways to incorporate more entertainment into the publishing work we currently do.

It was time to take more control, exert more “emotional labor” and to manage our own destiny.  It’s definitely hard.  But the rewards are ten-fold.

While we haven’t been around forever, everyday is a dream.  A smile.  An education.  Sweaty inspiration.  And while it’s not always fun, nor easy, I don’t regret a single moment of it.  Sharing, gifting, repeat.

Everyday we ship.  Sometimes before we’re ready, sometimes it’s later than expected.  But we strive to be better.  We’ve received more love and valuable feedback on work that we’ve been less-than-pleased with.  And have been surprised to receive neutral response from articles soaked in emotion and DNA.  But alas, tomorrow we ship again.  Another chance to change, touch, influence another person.

But right now I encourage you to reach out and share.  Let us exchange gifts.  Tell us about you, whom is the linchpin, or about you whom is only inches from making the leap to being a linchpin.  Write to us in the comments below, find me on Twitter or Facebook or email me directly at

I’ve appeased the lizard brain for as long as I could today.

After all, as Seth says time and again, artists ship.

As promised, here are links to my favorite previous Seth Godin books:
(I know it look to be a bit much.  But each have helped me.  If any one of them help you, then it’s worth it.)
(Each are Amazon affiliate links):

To friend and follow Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s website
Seth Godin’s blog

To friend and follow this article’s author Joe Wehinger:

Joe Wehinger’s Facebook
Joe Wehinger’s Twitter

Connected Interactive’s Facebook
Connected Interactive’s Twitter
Connected Interactive’s MySpace
Connected Interactive’s YouTube

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