Thank God Seth Godin Isn't Publishing Another Book

leadership formatsOn Monday this week, Seth Godin shocked the world (again) by announcing that after authoring 12 best-sellers, he won’t publish another book in the traditional way.

I, for one, was thrilled.

For those of you who don’t know Seth Godin (yes, there are still people who don’t know him – I was one of them not so long ago), he’s an entrepreneur, speaker and author. The majority of his books deal with marketing, but his focus has shifted toward leadership in the past few years. About 438,000 people follow his blog, which AdAge ranks #1 out of the 976 marketing blogs they track.

So why am I thrilled he’s not publishing another book? Let’s start with what my reasons aren’t:

1: I do not think Seth Godin is an idiot. I actually think he’s a class act and has incredible insights that people need to hear.

2. I do not believe that traditional book publishing is dead. Michael Hyatt (one of the “mavericks” Seth mentioned on Monday) defended the industry nicely today on his blog.

Now, here’s why I’m thrilled:

1. I can’t stand reading his books. As much as I like his ideas and perspective and calls to action, I have a tough time with his books. I’ve only read his last two – Tribes and Linchpin (affiliate links) – but connecting them sets a future trajectory that I wasn’t looking forward to. It’s not the content, it’s the format. These books just seemed like a collection of blog posts – perfect for attention-handicapped readers, but purgatory for those of us who expect the author to weave a story or construct a larger argument. Bottom line, I think these last two books – as wonderful as they are –  were already written for a format other than traditional publishing. Which leads to my second reason.

2. He stopped writing traditional books years ago. Seth’s short pithy writing style is tailor fit for blogging. I don’t wholeheartedly agree with everything he says, but I believe Seth’s vision is keen and his heart is in the right place. I believe in what he’s trying to do. I also believe that writing books is not the best format for him. Thankfully, he has the platform and connections that will allow him to jump ship and find a format that fits his vision, his writing and his audience. He’s taking his own advice, he’s blazing a trail, he’s leading. And I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

What do you think about Seth Godin’s unorthodox decision?

What bold moves are you considering right now?

photo by Pieter Baert

10 thoughts on “Thank God Seth Godin Isn't Publishing Another Book”

  1. I don’t know him. In fact, as English is not my first language, I don’t know any English authors (I want to know, though, cause I’m overinterested in English). But I believe if traditional book publishing means printed books, then this industry will not die. Maybe it go hibernating for a few months until the world understand that no matter how better version of iPad or Kindle is made, reading printed books gives the best experience ever.

  2. I think Seth Godin is an incredible thinker. His absolute out of the box style brings thought that few can imagine or attach with. Your article was quite thoughtful and depicted Seth in a good light. Thanks for it!

  3. I totally agree, Thomas; I love his insight and boldness.

    I do think he falls into unnecessary hyperbole from time to time (e.g. change just for change’s sake) that can be dangerous, but sometimes that’s what it takes to jar people loose from the mindset they’re frozen in.

  4. I agree, Geoff. I had trouble with his last few books. They were pretty good on audio, but tough to read. His last traditional book that I really enjoyed was “All Marketers are Liars.”
    Seth has great material, but his true gift is short, pithy sound bites that you can take with you. In a daily blog… Great. But a whole book of sound bites is just too much.

  5. Interesting comments about Seth Godin. I read his blog for a while, but everything read like soundbites. Coming from the news industry, I hear a lot of soundbites! They can be interesting, but like John said in his comment above, they felt appropriate for a blog. I have nothing against Godin, just never felt compelled to read his books.

    As for the publishing industry, maybe I’m old school, but I just feel like books will never go away. As I hold one, read it and turn its pages, I feel a real sense of escape (especially if it’s a good book!)

  6. I know I’m like a year late… but thank-you. You nailed it. He has great ideas and I can’t stand his books! As a marketing professional I feel so much better – again, thanks. 

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