Seth Godin Gives Away Secrets Of Success

A powerful force is loose in the marketing world, and his name is Seth Godin (former Yahoo employee and now contributing editor at Fast Company). Godin contacted me to see if I’d be willing to review his newest book. I agreed and I’m glad.

“Free Prize Inside!” was a pleasure to read. Even more, it was a joy to see someone expose–in simple peppery language–the secrets of how to get your ideas adopted in a corporate environment. Writing from his own experiences in high-visibility organizations, he gives solid hints on who, what, where, when, and how. I love this one: “Let them pee on your idea.” Frankly, this is a book I’ve long wanted to write myself (with someone else giving the actual tips of course because I’m notoriously bad at corporate politics), but couldn’t get past the first tongue-in-cheek outline. If you are serious about being a successful–even outstanding–corporate employee, with lots of promotions and plenty of mentors, this book has some excellent suggestions.

The crux of Godin’s book is the idea that you–and all of us–are capable of and should be making “soft innovations” (changes that result in improvements) in your company and thus charging up your work-life–creating your own “free prizes” as he calls them. Arriving packed in a mock cereal box, the book is titled “Free Prize Inside!”

The point, Godin says, is that you can always do more with what you have–i.e., invent new ways to use it, make it better, faster, easier, more fun, etc. And that every single person in the organization has the creativity to do that–no matter what their role in the business. This is sound philosophy for any area of work, and it’s based on the continuous improvement principles espoused so long ago by Deming.

As for writing style, Godin follows the age-old advice to address himself to a single reader–he uses “you” liberally and writes as if he were speaking to you (the single most powerful way to make your writing compelling). Easy to read.

And then the book goes on to give you suggestions on how to do this soft innovating. “Go to the edges” of an idea, says Godin. For example: “Make a product that is very safe or very dangerous: antibacterial wipes for kids…helicopter skiing.” Go extreme, get “purple” (a term he introduced in an earlier book called Purple Cow). Please do go and read the book as it is a good book.

There are lots of big names in the advertising and marketing business–just wrote about Saatchi and Saatchi in New York a couple of posts ago. In Northeast Ohio just look at the attendee list for the upcoming NOCA event (Northeast Ohio Communications Association) and you’ll see some of the big and medium-size local lights. And then there is a shortlist of a few legendary gurus.