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3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 9 June 2009
The difference between a book and a blog is that a book has a narrative or an argument; whereas a blog is a series of thoughts, not necessarily connected.

And narrative is what's lacking in this book. Like Seth's other works, it seems to have been taken from blogs written over time. Many of the headings cover similar ground, so the book becomes repetitive.

And because there's no argument, the central idea of the book never really develops. Seth just keeps looking at the subject from different angles.

This is frustrating, and it's a shame, because Seth Godin is an original thinker and this book is a good example of the clarity with which he can see 21st issues, especially as they relate to the online world.

Seth also shies away from making any practical suggestions about how to create a Tribe.

However, the book is good on Leadership. If you're interested in that subject, it's not a bad read.
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on 3 January 2010
Seth Godin has great ideas, and the idea of leading a tribe to make change happen is another one of them. The issue is that this book could have 5 or 10 pages instead of 131. It would share exactly the same knowledge. Going for the same over and over again with lousy examples is what's made me got really tired. It's boring, exactly what he claims not to do. I won't spread the word, or at least not positevely.
Seth, this idea is worth a post, but not a book. Think it through for the future.

A (little disappointed)fan
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on 16 November 2008
If you want to change the world, or change your bit of it, this is the book for you!

Seth Godin focuses on the role that LEADERSHIP plays in change and makes some powerful observations about the difference between MANAGEMENT and LEADERSHIP. Management is about maintaining stability, about perpetuating the status quo, it is about ensuring that things are done the same way that they have always been done. It is about avoiding change. For managers, change equals risk. Leadership, on the other hand, is about creating change that people can believe in. Leadership doesn't avoid change, it thrives on it. For leaders, change equals opportunity.

The book is incredibly well written. It feels as if every page has been handcrafted. Some many find the lack of chapters disconcerting. For me, it just helped the whole flow of the book. Ironically, it almost reads as a set of blog entries (no surprise for anyone that has read "Small is the new Big" or Seth's blog). I find it amusing that many said that the online world would kill off traditional publishing. Well, here is an example of the online world inspiring traditional publishing!

It is very easy to read. I read it in a couple of sittings and the only thing that slowed me down was the fact I made so many notes in it! I highly recommend it. If you are interested in leadership, then you MUST read this book. You will not be disappointed.

I wish I could think and write like Seth Godin. However, I suspect the only thing we have in common is our initials! Great book. Inspiring reading. Thank you, Seth.
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on 29 September 2009
Want to learn how to be a leader and how it works in the digital age? Read the excellent Wikinomics, not this disappointing repackaging of anecdotes whose endlessly repeated message is only "you can do it". Well, yes I can: I can review this book as one of the worst I have ever paid to struggle through. No clear structure, no real evidence to support its claims, just a bunch of feelgood anecdotes carelessly cut and pasted from presentations and articles, and often only relevant or comprehensible to the contemporary USA. Poorly written, and patronising.

The book keeps referring to the fearful nature of people who work in balloon factories and encouraging the reader not to think like them. You should indeed be worried if your product contains only stale hot air. Perhaps the author's other books are good, or perhaps his digital followers just review his books to boost sales. I'll never know, as I will never buy or read another book by Seth Godin. I can do it.
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on 1 July 2009
I feel the whole book could basically be summed up as: "People need leaders. You're a leader. Go lead." Sure, there's a few other interesting ideas here and there, but it felt like there was too much filler and not enough revelations. Sorry Seth.
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on 6 November 2009
Seth Godin's books have always been a little like reading a three page presentation that's been turned into a hundred and fifty pages by just repeating the same message over and over and over again. This one was even worse. It didn't actually read like a book, it read like someone's collection of blog posts or notes on an idea that have been prepared to be crafted into a book, but someone forgot to actually do it. There's no coherent message beyond "groups of people working together are stronger than alone" which isn't particularly revolutionary anyway. There's absolutely no narrative, no flow, no story. I felt like I was being shouted at by an obsessed blog which was trying to indoctrinating me into a cult.
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This book's theme is unconventional leadership, taking a cause or idea and gathering support without a firm institutional foundation by finding like-minded individuals and connecting them. If that's a new idea to you, you will find the book to be flattering in its encouragement and motivational in its tone. If you are an unconventional leader already or know a lot about how to do this, you will search in vain for anything new in Tribes.

The book's substance is rather thin beyond the few examples and rants.

Here it is:

People are turned into a tribe by "a shared interest" and "a way to communicate" ("leader to tribe, tribe to leader, tribe member to tribe member, and tribe member to outsider"). A leader increases effectiveness for the people by"

"transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change;
"providing tools to allow members to tighten their communications; and
"leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members."

As you can see, he's describing the way causes, nonprofits, political pressure groups, and save the world organizations operate.

Some will be offended by the rants. For example, he takes off rather hard on all religions while being all in favor of faith that you can accomplish whatever you want. There's no real basis for his position other than generalities about how no religions ever favor any changes. Well, if that were the case, there would still be rampant slavery in many nations. It was religious organizations that led the antislavery movement from the beginning.

Mr. Godin is very well informed about things that happened recently on the Internet (or in his own life), but he doesn't seem to have a broader understanding of leadership or change leadership. If either subject interests you, I suggest that you read better informed authors like John Kotter (Leading Change, The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, and A Sense of Urgency), John Maxwell (The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You, and Developing the Leader Within You), and Peter Drucker (Innovation and Entrepreneurship).

I found his commentary that getting ideas is unimportant to be particularly unhelpful. He feels that leadership is all about passion and communication. But with the wrong ideas, you can be passionate about communicating harmful changes.

Ultimately, this is a book that will be enjoyed by those who cannot stop admiring themselves enough. Mr. Godin will encourage them to take actions so they can admire themselves even more. Whatever happened to servant leadership?

Seth Godin fans can't seem to get enough exhortations and rants directing them to be bigger, bolder, and more assertive than ever before about anything that occurs to them. I suppose I should review these books by comparing them to what New Age gurus suggest rather than serious books about accomplishing useful things.

I was intrigued to see that Mr. Godin addressed those who give his books critical reviews by noting that he's pleased that anyone takes the books seriously. Perhaps they aren't meant to be taken seriously. My mistake.
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on 12 January 2009
Seth Godin is one of the thought leaders of the internet revolution. In this short book he explains how and why people can lead their own tribes. Tribes are groups who share a common interest or passion. The book is very concise and hard-hitting so it is easy to read for the busy person. It lacks structure and has no index so the serious student will find it frustrating. The author conveys a small number of messages with clarity and power. He gets you thinking about how you could lead a tribe and contribute to the Web 2.0 world.
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on 6 June 2011
I'm afraid that this is an over-simplistic book, one of the least satisfactory specimens of the how-to type bibliography.

It attempts to reduce the complexity of tribal consumption theory to a few recipes and in doing so, it implicitly promises that a smart marketing manager can actually turn a recalcitrant group of customers into a tame tribe.
I find this promise dangerously optimistic for managers and useless for university students.
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Seth Godin is the living, breathing embodiment of this book, he is a leader, he's not happy with the status quo and he has built up a tribe of followers who believe in the same ideas as he does. A tribe who will probably read and buy and possibly even worship everything he says or does.

Unfortunately this book is a bit of a one-trick pony, the concept is good, his arguments are relevant and his examples illustrate his points perfectly but.... it only has one idea and that idea (as other reviewers have noted) could probably have been covered in a few pages or in a blog entry but instead has been stretched though endless repetition to 130 pages of wasted paper.

To save you some money and the environment, here is a summary of the book:

1. don't stay with the same ol' same ol'
2. take a chance
3. change is good
4. be a leader
5. create a tribe of followers
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