“It is entirely possible that you work in a place where you have no options, you have no agency, you have no significance. If that is actually true, you should quit, because you don’t get tomorrow over again. My guess: it is not actually true. My guess is you have more agency than you are prepared to embrace.”— Seth Godin
Seth Godin is the author of 21 international bestsellers that have changed the way people think about work. His books have been translated into 38 languages and include Tribes, Purple Cow, Linchpin, The Dip, and This Is Marketing. Seth writes one of the most popular marketing blogs in the world, and two of his TED talks are among the most popular of all time. He is the founder of the altMBA; the social media pioneer Squidoo; and Yoyodyne, one of the first internet companies.
His new book is The Song of Significance: A New Manifesto for Teams.
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Want to hear the last time Seth was on the show? Have a listen to our conversation here, in which we discussed the etymology of the word “hack,” the making of magic, why hiding behind words like “quality” or “perfection” as a means of postponing action to avoid risk is a cop-out, what Isaac Asimov and Gary Gilmore can teach us about writer’s block, skills with a disproportionate return on investment that entrepreneurs and creatives should consider cultivating, the importance of applying constraints and boundaries to the learning process, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Seth Godin:
- Seth’s previous appearances on the podcast: 476, 402, 343, 177, 138
- The Song of Significance: A New Manifesto for Teams by Seth Godin | Amazon
- Other Books by Seth Godin | Amazon
- Be Better Here | Sugarbush Resort
- The Ups and Downs of Telemark Skiing (And 5 Reasons Why You Should Give It a Try) | Appalachian Mountain Club
- What is Skate Skiing? | Advnture
- Boomer Effect (Baby Boomer Factor) | Investopedia
- The Carbon Almanac: It’s Not Too Late by The Carbon Almanac Network, Edited by Seth Godin | Amazon
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl | Amazon
- An Overview of Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy | Simply Psychology
- Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin | Amazon
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin | Amazon
- The Ministry for the Future: A Novel by Kim Stanley Robinson | Amazon
- The Place to Build Civilized Communities | Discourse
- Is Plastic Recycling A Lie? Oil Companies Touted Recycling To Sell More Plastic | NPR
- Exxon Scientists Predicted Global Warming with ‘Shocking Skill and Accuracy,’ Harvard Researchers Say | Harvard Gazette
- Big Oil Coined ‘Carbon Footprints’ to Blame Us for Their Greed. Keep Them on the Hook. | The Guardian
- What Is Nihilism? | Verywell Mind
- The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters | Amazon
- Don’t Look Up | Netflix
- Exclusive: Amazon’s Attrition Costs $8 Billion Annually According to Leaked Documents. And It Gets Worse. | Engadget
- The Best Job You Ever Had | Seth’s Blog
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss | Amazon
- Mechanical Turk | Wikipedia
- Amazon Mechanical Turk | Wikipedia
- Now is the Best Time | altMBA
- 15 Bridezillas Who Made Me Disgusted By Wedding Culture | BuzzFeed
- Song of Increase: Listening to the Wisdom of Honeybees for Kinder Beekeeping and a Better World by Jacqueline Freeman | Amazon
- How Do Honeybees Survive the Winter? | Suburban Sodbuster
- Solitary Confinement: A Brief History | Mother Jones
- What Does the Panopticon Mean in the Age of Digital Surveillance? | The Guardian
- Train, Track, and Share | Strava
- Here’s Why Apple Is Flying a Pirate Flag to Celebrate Its 40th Anniversary | Mashable
- Shark Tank | ABC
- Personalized Videos Featuring Your Favorite Stars | Cameo
- The Complete I Ching | Amazon
- Empowering the World to Develop Technology through Collective Knowledge | Stack Overflow
- Work With Us | Automattic
- Creating the Most Frightening Company on Earth | Harvard Business Review
- Saatchi & Saatchi
- Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship by Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig | Amazon
- Goals Take You to The Top!: How to Get What You Want by Zig Ziglar | Amazon
- Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar | Amazon
- See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar | Amazon
- Business Rules of Thumb by Seth Godin and Chip Conley | Amazon
- The Rise and Fall of Squidoo | Wizzley
- Steinway Model D | Steinway Grand
- Create Your Online Store Today | Shopify
- One Platform to Connect | Zoom
- We Are What You Read | Penguin Publishing
- [05:42] The changes of aging.
- [10:07] How Seth gets over momentary lapses of optimism.
- [16:13] The Carbon Almanac.
- [18:40] Addressing 21st-century nihilism.
- [26:23] Finding significance and making a difference.
- [35:34] The boss and the bees.
- [44:47] Ethically reclaiming meaning from work in the Quaker surveillance state.
- [51:50] Seth’s impression of my efforts over the years.
- [56:21] Circumnavigating false proxies.
- [1:02:17] Employee retention.
- [1:05:54] Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play.
- [1:08:07] Zig Ziglar.
- [1:12:12] Seth’s early career life.
- [1:13:45] Seth’s current career life.
- [1:17:01] The 140-year-old piano.
- [1:19:35] Meetings.
- [1:24:04] Page 19 thinking.
- [1:27:37] Soliciting useful writing feedback.
- [1:31:36] Parting thoughts.
MORE SETH GODIN QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“What a gift I have today to be in the shoes of somebody who, at 62, gets to do things well, but only because I’m walking away from things I can’t do anymore. And instead of focusing on what I used to have, I’m really working hard and getting satisfaction out of focusing on what I do have and what I can do.”
— Seth Godin
“We are living in a culture where there’s an overhang of all these people with loud voices talking about the end of the world because it’s the end of their world, but it’s not the end of the world.”
— Seth Godin
“Some people believe that the purpose of business is to enable culture, to enable humanity. And some people believe that the purpose of humanity and culture is to enable business. And I think those people have too much influence right now, and they’re wrong.”
— Seth Godin
“When we think about tomorrow or the tomorrow after that, given the damage we’ve all done, we still live in culture, we still have this miracle. You and I are talking while thousands of miles apart. We have access to every piece of information. We have magical computers that can understand us and talk back. We can reach out to someone in need. We can connect to people who need to hear from us. And if you want to just give up because the world is going to be different in 20 years, that’s your choice. But given that we’ve got this window, it feels to me like we need to up our focus on humanity and connection and possibility and improvement of the condition, and maybe not worry so much about public demonstrations of power, firing people online, being brutal in the service of profit. Because we don’t have a profit shortage, we have a meaning shortage.”
— Seth Godin
“If you can figure out how to get five or 10 people together, you can probably ban gas-powered leaf blowers in your village. And that will have 50 times the impact of you switching to an electric car. Plus the idea of banding together with five or 10 or 15 other people, creating the conditions for other people to find something to care about and succeed at it, will fill you with meaning, not with despair.”
— Seth Godin
“Milton Friedman just made up this nonsense about the only purpose of a corporation is to maximize its profit. It lets people off the hook and they become tools of a system that grinds stuff out.”
— Seth Godin
“It is entirely possible that you work in a place where you have no options, you have no agency, you have no significance. If that is actually true, you should quit, because you don’t get tomorrow over again. My guess: it is not actually true. My guess is you have more agency than you are prepared to embrace.”
— Seth Godin
- Zig Ziglar
- Viktor Frankl
- Sigmund Freud
- Alfred Adler
- Kim Stanley Robinson
- Milton Friedman
- Frederick Winslow Taylor
- Henry Ford
- Jacqueline Freeman
- Cesar Chavez
- Susan Kare
- Matt Mullenweg
- Mahan Khalsa
- Arthur C. Clarke
- Michael Crichton
- Ray Bradbury
- Chip Conley
- Tobi Lütke
- Sergey Brin
- Danny Meyer
- Ursula K. Le Guin
- Niki Papadopoulos
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.