Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin – Summary

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin - Summary


A tribe is a group of like-minded people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.

Tribes are everywhere, but they are disconnected and are yearning for a leader. Without leaders, there are no followers. Right now we need leader’s we need to be led.

Tribes lead to movements, the work of many people fighting for a common cause, and ideas spread, and they amplify the message. Now it’s easier than ever to lead a tribe and three key steps are motivate, connect, and leverage.

Tribes make our lives better. And leading a tribe is the best life of all.

The Spinnaker Newsletter

In 1984 Seth Godin was 24 and joined a software company called Spinnaker. They gave him a job to convert science fiction stories into educational adventure games.

They gave him just 3 programmers and asked him to make the Christmas ship date. So he worked on a newsletter highlighting the breakthrough that this game was going to be and started distributing the photocopies to every employee in the company.

Soon word spread and the number of programmers in his team went from 3 to 30 in a matter of weeks. The Engineers who joined wanted to be a part of the journey, they wanted to be a part of something that mattered.

The 30 of them spent the entire month sleeping in the office to make the shipping date, and they did. Seth Godin had no experience and no staff, but he got the job done because he led.

1000 True Fans

In 2008 Kevin Kelly, the editor of Wired Magazine, wrote an article titled 1000 True Fans. He says if you have to make a living from your consumers, all you need is to have 1000 true fans who really care about you and your work.

You don’t have to shoot for an absurd number like a million, but something doable like a 1000 or even a 100 true fans. True fans can change everything all they demand is generosity and bravery.

Heretics vs Sheepwalkers

Heretics are those who challenge the status quo. Heretics don’t settle with what’s being offered, they question, they ask. Heretics create change before change happens to them. Heretics are the new leaders. Heretics make a difference.

Seth Godin defines “sheepwalking” as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.

On the other hand, sheepwalkers are those who embrace the status quo. Sheepwalkers are compliant. It’s hard to not be a sheepwalker because they are rewarded and praised. Sheepwalkers are on the rise, but they were once heretics whose potential was dulled down just to fit in.

It’s never too late to realize if you are a sheepwalker, but you need to change and change fast. Life’s too short to fight the forces of change. Life’s too short to hate
what you do all day. Life’s way too short to make mediocre stuff.

Why Lead?

Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. If everyone could do it, it wouldn’t be worth much.

Leadership is very much an art, one that’s accomplished only by people
with authentic generosity and a visceral connection to their tribe.

Leadership almost always involves thinking and acting like the Underdog. That’s because leaders work to change things and the people who are winning rarely do.

“The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.”

Seth Godin

The tribes we lead – Seth Godin


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