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3.8 out of 5 stars38
3.8 out of 5 stars
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
As much of Seth Godin's book encourages you to stop procrastinating and act, what better time to write my first Amazon review. I think Seth has followed his own advice in writing this book and just got started, although maybe his actions were ahead of his thoughts. Sadly, it could have done with a few more ideas, better examples and a lot less nonsense. For example, Seth describes how the `lizard brain', fearful of being wrong, will discourage implementing some new innovative idea, and how we should always act if the cost of inaction outweighs the cost of action; fine so far. But in his example he states that the cost of being wrong in almost any sales, marketing, human resources, software or management innovation is less than the cost of inaction. Is that so? Is he being naïve here or simply oversimplifying to try to hammer home a point? This happens in too many places, and overall the book has the feeling of being ill though through, lacking in real experience and has the smell of the self-help, snake oil salesman that sends me running for the hills.

While some may benefit from a book which endlessly repeats a few simple ideas, I sadly do not. There is real skill in reducing complex ideas to simple principles, however, I would say that Seth lacks this skill and simply misunderstands or deliberately distorts any complexity in decision making and demonstrates this repeatedly in his writing. Unfortunately, this all serves to undermine some simple and worthy ideas that underlie this rather tedious and patronising text, such as the virtues of being an initiator, an innovator, overcoming fear of failure, etc.

This is certainly not worth the reduced price of 99p, or indeed worth spending any time reading. Avoid.
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98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2011
I have a pretty high tolerance for generalisations and unsubstantiated claims in management books. Usually they have enough concrete information to fill an HBR article then the author spreads it out with fluff to fill a book. But this book breaks new ground with a fluff to fact ratio of about 99% (though it is true I can't be bothered substantiating my claim...). If you are into self help books maybe you'll love it - it is basically watered down Tony Robbins.

Here is a typically profound excerpt from a section titled 'How to Walk to Cleveland':

'You decide to walk to Cleveland. So you take a first step in the right direction. That's starting. You spend the rest of the day walking toward Cleveland, one step at a time, picking your feet up and putting them down. At the end of the day, twenty miles later, you stop at a hotel. And what happens the next morning? Either you quit the project or you start again, walking to Cleveland. In fact, every step is a new beginning. Sure, you're closer than you were yesterday or last week, but you're still heading toward Cleveland. Keep starting until you finish.'

If you found that excerpt inspiring, I thoroughly recommend the rest of the book.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2013
I have been compelled to read this book as part of a training session run by the company I work for. I am an avid reader and tend to be reasonably resilient to management fluff, but this book takes the biscuit as it's also hugely patronising in its approach. And how contradictory could it be that a book aimed at non conformity could end up being made a compulsory tool for a training course? I know this isn't the author's fault (at least I hope not...), but it does demonstrate that no matter what one could possibly write about his own life's journey and how to ideally break out of the mold, somewhere, somehow a poor bastard will hit his head against the brick wall of daily reality. Poke away if you like this sort of stuff, and I know there must be loads of Seth's fans out there, but I certainly will run a mile if I see another book from him.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 October 2013
In Poke The Box Seth Godin refers to this book as his manifesto, it is written as such with no steps or regimen or any real conclusion. What it does try to do is motivate and inspire the reader to be an initiator and not fear failure. Its high octane approach (no section is two pages and its written as if the author is in a hurry to put his point across) uses some stories, well known and not so well known ones, to try and push the agenda forward. It uses the term ship a lot as if the intended audience was shipping a product, perhaps its aimed at IT professionals. However, with no real guidance and just a lot of inspiring words this may well fail to deliver its intended result, to stop people being passive in their jobs and start being initiators.

I admire the way that Godin is so passionate. I believe that learning from failure is extremely important and its something I use in my work a lot to motivate individuals who are struggling. However, the lack of substance and the overall lack of anything resembling a coherent way forward lead to this being a patchy read. I have taken some things from the book. But they are more from me reflecting and then making several leaps, you are not going to be able to use anything on show here directly. If you want an inspirational book that espouses the above ideas then this is for you. If you want a management book with lots of guidance and structure then you should avoid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2014
it is definitely a book to read for every person that is looking for inspiration, or that need a little push to start in the business world
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 August 2014
Kindle version -

Seth Godin is one of those people that if he did not exist, he would surely be invented by central casting. With his on trend shaven head and constant querying of the traditional way of looking at things, he is a familiar figure on the internet of Ted Talks and Wired articles. He produces a remarkably frequent and lively blog that is well worth subscribing. He is also a regular speaker at the sort of marketing / Shoreditch trendy web events, where he is an engaging and likeable speaker. Indeed once you have heard him speak, it is easy to imagine him reading the book aloud to you.

His books are generally fairly short, and what they lack in research or analytical depth, they make up for in vigour. Fair to say that his stuff is all fairly one note, and if you really don’t like it, fair enough.

Fittingly for a marketing man, this is a call to action, to be unconventional, and to make things happen. It is upbeat and cheery, and within its limits it is a quick and thought provoking read.
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on 4 April 2011
Like most of Godin's writings, this is well structured and beautifully simple. I read it a few times over; it's repetitive, but in a good way. The anecdotal style is short and punchy and there are very few dull pars in there.

Like all good inspirational reads, this book makes you feel stupid for not realising how clever you are. It does so with a plethora of examples. They demonstrate, primarily, how we should aim to look at things differently (which most of us like to think we do, but don't). How we can challenge the status quo *and* produce good, disruptive, creative ideas for business. You can even download a workbook from Seth Godin's site to practice your new found 'pokiness'.

I read Godin's blog and can heartily recommend it - it would appear his books might be well worth a look in future too.
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on 15 May 2013
The very first story, while not wholly unique, delivers an incredible punch - if you let it. It is a simple story and told from an ordinary, everyday and individual perspective. If you read the rest of the book with this first story in mind then you will not be disappointed.

I don't believe Godin is trying to diminish or dumb-down previous published tomes on self-development of which there are plenty. More that he is delivering a fresh and simply said message, yet one that reiterates you must be committed to yourself, to do whatever it is you wish to do (poke) and follow through (ship). And while these terms might seem a little alien to a UK market they do translate.

Go on - poke the box...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2013
What else to expect from Seth Godin but disruptive ideas, new angles, expert advice and a good kick up the bottom? Loved it. Some quotes are priceless. Thanks, Seth
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on 24 May 2014
I'm working on a business plan and came across this. It was inexpensive and seemed relevant. It was much more than that. It is a rallying call to all would be business people to make the leap and do it! The essence of the book is that we learn from failure if we are sensible, so the fear of failure is misplaced. We still need to think about what we are doing, but worrying about failure should not be the sole reason for inaction. As Picasso put it in a different context - I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.
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