Home » Tribes. A Book Review.

Tribes. A Book Review.

2 things to start with, right out the gate:

  • 1. One of the first things I ever heard author and entrepreneur Seth Godin say was that before any blog post he ever writes, he tries to write it like it’s going to be his last. As an avid blogger, that really stuck with me.
  • 2. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to try and develop a business, create a following, start a movement, etc.

If you read nothing else in this blog, know that those are the 2 main reasons I picked up Tribes

Seth Godin is a public figure that I’ve long admired. His yellow glasses, his unique form of motivation, his attention to detail, and the fact that friends I trust constantly told me that I reminded them of him are all reasons why he got on my radar.

More seriously, though, Seth has dozens of years in marketing experience and he practices servant leadership in the form of being extremely willing to share what he has learned over the years with his many followers. Folks who share immediately get 2 thumbs up in my book. 

So, from where I sit, the general gist of Tribes is that you need to feel empowered to start a movement that you find fit to start. As I read through the quick read, I constantly thought of HESONWHEELS. Seth speaks strongly about the importance of standing for something. For example, for HESONWHEELS, the thing that I stand for is that “life is all about what you have done for other people.”

And when you identify that thing that you stand for, then its quite easy to find your tribe – the people who want to be in community with you and, in some ways, follow you. The book, to me, was less about leadership though and more about the cause. I would describe another movement I love, Actively Caring for People and the COR Foundation, in a similar way.

Seth talks about how the development and maturity of the internet has created so many more opportunities for tribes, but it definitely can’t provide leadership. And that’s where the reader (YOU!) comes in. You can provide that leadership, and you should feel empowered to provide that leadership.

The internet has helped us spread so many ideas but it hasn’t done anything in terms of legitimately guiding us. And without that guidance, things can get quite dangerous. Again, that’s where leadership can come in. Tribes have gone from being local things to being global things, and quite quickly. It’s similar to entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian’s efforts for an open internet that helps a man on a farm in middle America reach thousands of more customers with his farm fresh milk. Just like another book I read earlier this year, he highlights the fact that the internet has been a game changer.

My favorite part of the book is sort of toward the end, starting on page 102 in my version. Seth talks about micro-movements and even lays out succinct principles that are key elements for creating a micro-movement. With ideas like “make it easy for your followers to connect with you” and “realize that money is not the point of a movement,” he essentially provides a textbook guide for starting a movement of your own. And having already practiced just some of those principles in my own movement that is HESONWHEELS, I can vouch for many of them based on experience. 

Finally, he highlights why initiative is so great. Why is initiative so great, and renowned, and discussed, and observed? Because it’s rare. What’s something that you wish you took more initiative on? What is something that you wished you spoke up more about? If you spoke up about it, and identified a few people that you could lead with regard to that issue, because it’s important to you, what would happen? More importantly, what could happen? Your leadership could definitely make a difference. And in today’s social world, you don’t need permission from people to lead them.

So, I’ll stop there. I don’t want to give away too much of the book; of course I want you to still want to pick it up and check it out. One last thing though: I also want to vouch for the audio version of Tribes. Seth gives an amazing performance. Let me know if you decide to read it and what you think of it!