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3.7 out of 5 stars71
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 23 January 2011
Avoid. This book takes a very simple idea and repeats itself continuously for 130 pages.
A much better book is 'the Tipping Point' by Malcolm Gladwell. Not only does Galdwell's
book talk about a wider range of ideas but it also gives detailed examples of how they
are applied in the real world.
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on 10 December 2008
I think the 5 star reviews of this book must have been from friends, family and publishers, because this book is a real wasted opportunity and I'm surprised that this kind of work still gets published.

The concept and approach is interesting, but the way that it has been covered is very poor.

The book is basically made up of a series of personal observations and anecdotal evidence. Where is the research? Where are the original insights? Where are the statistics to back any of these observations up? And most importantly, where is the self-awareness or grace to realise that just because your own "tribe" hangs on your every word, does not mean that a wider audience will.

Perhaps this is the main lesson of the book. Easily accessible mass communication tools have given people with little experience or skill the chance to appeal to a group of like minded people by sharing mutually relevant experiences. The major communications channels still need filling with real insight, authenticity and dedication their topic.

This book is missing all of these because the author simply isn't up to the job.
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2009
I am a Seth Godin fan and will buy any book he publishes, so I have a high expectation. This book falls short of expectation because it is less memorable key points to come away with.

The central theme is that with the internet anyone can be a leader and harness a following. Tribes already exist everywhere and the internet is a great way to focus a tribe.

The examples are not so interesting as real world examples he gives in other books, but the style is nice and it is an intelligent read.
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on 27 September 2009
This book basically puts a case for 'heretical thinking' and for 'creating a vision' and 'developing your tribe'. I've given it 5* because I think it's a good articulation of some of the success charachteristics needed in 2009 onwards. It also got me to clarify in my mind the potential creative confict (and different skill sets) between leadership (vision, tribe and empowered followers) and management (getting stuff developed). The book has inspired to update our leadership courses.
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on 6 April 2014
I thought this book started off well but then it seemed to fade into a variety of semi-related blog posts and so lost it's purpose.
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on 11 October 2014
A good read, especially the way it's written.

This book does a great job of delivering some key points about the differences of being a manager or being a leader. It also provides guidance as to how best extend your "circle of influence" (for those who've read Stephen R Covey).

It doesn't really give much depth with a lot of what it says, so I've brought the rating down, but it's well-written and worth the time to read (it's very short).
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on 20 February 2014
Even though I agree with the points made inside, this book is hardly as inspiring as Godin believes. I wouldn't buy this again.
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on 7 February 2009
In a much-earlier book, The Purple Cow, Seth writes that too much of a remarkable thing is in danger of becoming an unremarkable thing.

Tribes is a remarkable book, filled with remarkable ideas for anyone seeking to attract and lead a tribe in business (whatever business you're in). It's so full of bright ideas, in fact, that it's best not to be dazzled by them all at once.

I read Tribes over the course of a week or so and found the ideas really shone out when I viewed them against the dull and unremarkable backdrop of mainstream business.

You'll get the most out of Seth's morning-fresh thinking if you dip in and out of the book and let his remarkable ideas shine a light on your own thinking and work.
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on 6 April 2011
Phew! I'm exhuasted after reading this. It is absolutely crammed with ideas about business, altruism and leadership. Even though it's quite a short book, it took me so long to finish it as I found I could only digest a few pages at a time. There is something thought-provoking or eye-opening on virtually every page.
Really interesting stuff. If you've ever thought you might want to change the world -read this book!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 5 November 2008
Seth Godin's books and blog provide a wealth of information, observations, opinions, and (especially) challenges that can help others to overcome what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." In this, his most recent book, he urges his reader to consider and then take full advantage of unprecedented opportunities to become a leader. He cites five different but related reasons: "everyone in an organization - not just the boss - is expected to lead," in today's workplace "it's easier than ever before to change things [and] individuals have more leverage than ever before," those and their organizations that "change things and create remarkable products and services" are rewarded in the marketplace, change initiatives are "engaging, thrilling, profitable and fun," and most of all, there is a "tribe" of other people waiting for a leader "to connect them to one another and lead them where they want to go."

In this context, I am reminded of a passage from Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching:

"Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves. "

This is precisely what Godin has in mind when asserting that great leaders "create movements by empowering the tribe [i.e. those with a shared interest] to communicate. They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow." The communication to which he refers is between and among the leader and members of a tribe who are connected by a shared interest, a common cause (i.e. "a passionate goal"), and a determination to create things that did not exist before, to achieve something that could happen but hasn't yet. Godin stresses the need for leaders with imagination. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, those who "dream things that never were and say why not."

In his recently published book, Iconoclast, Gregory Berns examines a number of leaders, each of whom was a "breaker or destroyer of images," who in recent years accomplished what others claimed could not be done. When doing so, these modern iconoclasts attacked orthodox beliefs and, in some cases, institutions. "The overarching theme of this book is that iconoclasts are able to do things that others say can't be done, because iconoclasts perceive things differently than other people." Berns goes on to explain that the difference in perception "plays out in the initial stages of an idea. It plays out in how their manage their fears, and it manifests in how they pitch their ideas to the masses of noniconoclasts. It is an exceedingly rare individual who possesses all three of these traits." One of Godin's most important points is that almost anyone can be an iconoclast if she or he creates a movement by empowering a tribe and motivating its members to attack and then destroy the status quo, meanwhile connecting them to each other to leverage their combined strengths.

I agree with Godin that leaders "make a ruckus." So did Alcibiades' drunken seamen who, while ashore and roaming the streets of Athens late one night, smashed sacred icons. But they were vandals, not leaders. They comprised a mob. It is important to keep in mind that Godin's "tribe" is not a mob, nor is it a crowd. "A crowd is a tribe without a leader. A crowd is a tribe without communication." It is easy to collect a crowd. The objective, Godin, suggests, is to create a tribe. Will it be easy? Of course not. That requires more time and effort to motivate, connect, and leverage its members. Also, it is necessary for leaders to overcome fear, not of failure but of blame. "We chose not to be remarkable because we're worried about criticism." Recent research conducted by the Gallup Organization indicates that 29% of the U.S. workforce is engaged (i.e. loyal, enthusiastic, and productive) whereas 55% is passively disengaged. That is, they are going through the motions, doing only what they must, "mailing it in," coasting, etc. What about the other 16%? They are actively disengaged in that they are doing whatever they can to undermine their employer's efforts to succeed. They have a toxic impact on their associates and, in many instances, on customer relations.

Godin would describe the passively disengaged as "sleepwalkers," those who "have been raised to be obedient" and are comfortable "with brain-dead jobs and enough fear to keep in line." For at least some of them, leaders provide the will to make something better happen. (I could be wrong but I doubt if he would characterize actively disengaged as "heretics." That is, those who are "engaged, passionate, and more powerful and happier than anyone else.") Those whom Godin calls to action are chalenged to threaten the status quo, demonstrating what Joseph Schumpeter describes as "creative destruction." With effective leadership, they support and are supported by their tribe to achieve, together, beneficial change whereas the actively disengaged seek only disruption and destruction.

In my opinion, this is Seth Godin's most important book thus far because he challenges his reader to accept full responsibility for becoming a tribal leader of principled and productive agents of positive change. "No one gives you permission or approval or a permit to lead, You can just do it. The only one who can say no is you." But he doesn't stop there. He also challenges his reader to share his book with others. "Ask them to read it. Beg them to make a choice about leadership. We need them. We need you. Spread the word. Thanks."

Now what? I presume to suggest that you read this book. Then what? That's up to you.
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