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Book Review: Tribes By Seth Godin

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Book Review: Tribes By Seth Godin

In my last Bloggertone post I shared with you a technique that I had just discovered for getting more out of the books that I read.  The technique was called a “Net Out” where you write a one page overview of the book under the following headings

  • A Quick Summary
  • Key Insights
  • Personal Application

I’d like to now share with you now my first ever “Net Out” which reviews the book Tribes written by Seth Godin in late 2008.

Quick Summary

In this short book (125 pages) Seth Godin argues that today everyone has an opportunity to bring together a tribe of like-minded people and do amazing things.  Yet, too many people ignore the opportunity to lead because they are “sleepwalking’ their way through their lives and work.

Tribes is for those who don’t want to be sheep and instead have a desire to do fresh and exciting work.  If you have a passion for what you want to do and the drive to make it happen, there is a tribe just waiting for you to connect them with each other and lead them where they want to go.

Key Insights

  • Working on something you believe in is much more satisfying than living for your next paycheck and waiting to get fired, or die  (p.8)
  • Great leaders don’t try to please everyone.  They don’t water down their message to get more members.  A motivated small group is better than a large unengaged group (p.57)
  • Growth and success is linked to breaking the old rules and setting your new rules loose in an industry that is too afraid to change (p.65)
  • The key isn’t to avoid being wrong, It’s important to be willing to be wrong and realize that being wrong isn’t fatal e.g. Isaac Newton’s failures with Alchemy & Steve Jobs with various Apple products (p.91)
  • Be a Listener.  People want to make sure their leaders hear what they say.  They are less focused on whether you do what they say.  Listen.  Decide.  Move on.  (p.108-109)
  • Leaders create things that didn’t listen before and they give the tribe a vision of how to reach it. (p.116)

Personal Application

  1. Find and assemble a tribe. I’ve been playing around with a few ideas about movements or communities that I might create. For example a community of Dad’s in the local area, people who are interested in learning about the history of our locality.  I’ll experiment using Social Media to create community around some of these ideas.  I will use the 5 Actions and 6 Principles framework outlined on pages 88 & 89.
  2. The author talks about the simplicity of finding leaders and amplifying their work.  On page 113 he gives a great example of this through the work of Jerry & Marian Zeitlin helping starving children in Vietnam.  I want to take more opportunities to amplify the great leaders that I come across.
  3. Take the opportunity to ask people “How was your Day” more often, both online and in real life (as suggested on Page 9)

I hope you enjoyed this review and perhaps you now might want to try this technique yourself.  If you do then please let me know how you get on.  Also if you happen to have read Tribes, let us know what you got out of it.


I live in Kilkenny, Ireland, and I'm married with one daughter. I was born in Derry, and came to Kilkenny via Manchester, England, and Dublin. My passion is all things Social Media, and for the last 2 years I have been working as a Social Media Evangelist for Oracle, where I have worked for the last 8 years. This role entails, promoting the use of Social Media internally for improved communication and collaboration. My other interests include sports, especially football (soccer), reading, video games, movies/tv, music and walking.

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  • A great post Frank, I do have a copy of the book and still haven’t read it but I see now that I will get a lot out of it when I get around to it. As Marie says, she has definitely created a tribe with her JBBC site.

  • Facundo

    Thanks for the summary Frank. I actually passed from reading this book due to some bad reviews I’d seen and lately it popped up in my Amazon suggestions. I may give it a go 🙂

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  • Hi Aoife, great tips. I would add that if you’re planning on emailing for business, make sure you have people’s permission to email. I tend to get so many emails today and because I know I didn’t sign up, I immediately hit delete.

    So I particularly like your advice on point no. 1.

    Take care,

  • Aoife Rigney

    Thanks for reading, and commenting! Totally agree with you – email marketing is such an efficient way to do marketing! I would suggest using a good platform with analytics as well as structuring your mail lists and keeping them up to date! 

  • A great checklist Aoife!
    I agree relevant content and consistency are key. A schedule helps with the “I’ll do that later” syndrome 🙂
    Great post

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