Poke the Box Hardcover – Mar 1 2011
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Book Description: If you're stuck at the starting line, you don't need more time or permission. You don’t need to wait for a boss’s okay or to be told to push the button; you just need to poke.
Poke the Box is a manifesto by bestselling author Seth Godin that just might make you uncomfortable. It’s a call to action about the initiative you’re taking-– in your job or in your life. Godin knows that one of our scarcest resources is the spark of initiative in most organizations (and most careers)-– the person with the guts to say, “I want to start stuff.”
Poke the Box just may be the kick in the pants you need to shake up your life.
Love the ideas in Poke the Box? Be sure to visit TheDominoProject.com for the latest news and special offers.
A Q&A with Seth Godin
Question: What does it mean to Poke the Box?
Seth Godin: Conformity used to be crucial--fitting in, not standing out. Compliance used to be the heart of every successful organization, every successful career. The reason? We all worked for the system, in the factory, doing what we were told. Now, though, compliance is no longer a competitive advantage.
Poke the Box is about the spark that brings things to life. We need to be nudged away from conformity and toward ingenuity, toward answering unknown questions for ourselves. Even if we fail, as I have done many times in my life, we learn what not to do by experience and doing the new.
This isn’t the same thing as taking a risk. In fact, the riskiest thing we can do right now is nothing.
I’ve had an extraordinary run, creating a dozen nationwide bestsellers, starting Internet companies and giving speeches around the world. The key thing I bring to the projects I take on is not more talent than most (I don’t) or even more hours than most (hardly). My contribution is a willingness to poke, to start, to lean into the project and to get it out the door.
Question: What will I learn from reading Poke the Box?
Seth Godin: Hopefully you will learn lots but do more. Start thinking about when you’ve taken initiative in a way that really meant something to you and your team, your family. When was the last time you did something for the first time? How did it feel?
There are no step-by-step how-to instructions in Poke the Box. Instead, you’ll find a series of layers, a foundation for taking a different approach to your work. Instead of learning to be more compliant, I want to push you to be the one who takes initiative.
Question: Why did you write this book?
Seth Godin: I’ve been fortunate enough to hear from almost a million people over the years, to talk with CEOs and bosses and customers around the world. And they all tell me precisely the same thing: it’s the motive force they demand, the person who will shake things up and move them forward.
Static is not an acceptable state. The status quo is no longer something we want at work or in politics or in any organization we care about.
The market is just waiting for people to step forward. I wrote the book for those people, the ones who’ve been hesitating to take the leap.
Question: Why did you start The Domino Project?
Seth Godin: The Domino Project is my latest attempt at "poking." It’s an independent publishing imprint founded by me and powered by Amazon. This is an opportunity to publish "idea manifestos" committed to readers, rather than being bookstore friendly. It’s named after the domino effect--where one powerful idea spreads down the line, pushing from person to person.
I have two audacious goals: I want to change the people who read (not enough do) and I want to change the way books are published (they’re too hard to find and spread). I honestly believe that a book can change a mind like nothing else, and that’s our focus. To help anyone to do work they’re proud of and to make a difference.
Question: Why Amazon?
Seth Godin: I partnered with Amazon so we could leverage what we both do best--Amazon is the leader in global distribution, multiple format production capabilities, and reaching people in the right way, and I want to spread powerful ideas to the people who want to read them.
For 15 years, Amazon has been building an audience and gaining our trust. Many surveys identify them as the most-trusted new brand in the world. Now that Amazon is interacting with more people more often, they have a chance to bring those customers new ideas in innovative ways. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring ideas worth spreading to a huge and eager audience.
Question: Who is Seth Godin?
Seth Godin: I’m an author, entrepreneur, and a person who starts things.
"SETH GODIN MAY BE THE ULTIMATE ENTREPRENEUR FOR THE INFORMATION AGE."
"IT’S EASY TO SEE WHY PEOPLE PAY TO HEAR WHAT HE HAS TO SAY."
—Annie Duke, world poker champion, author, and talk show host
—Sarah Jones, playwright
—Jill Greenberg, photographer, manipulator.org --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
As it turns out, he views himself as a "box" and has poked it to begin, to complete, and then (his term) to "ship" (i.e. publish) a book in which he affirms his thoughts and feelings about why it is (his word) "essential" for all of us to take the initiative to accomplish something (anything) "that really matters." No more waiting for approval and permission from anyone else. No more self-serving alibis. No more delusions and denials.
Long ago in a book he titled The Book, Alan Watts observes: "We need a new experience -- a new feeling of what it is to be 'I.' The lowdown (which is, of course, the secret and profound view) on life is that our normal sensation of self is a hoax, or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing -- with our own tacit consent, just as every hypnotized person is basically willing to be hypnotized. The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego."
Here we are, 41 years later, and Godin encourages, indeed strongly urges his reader to cast aside what Watts views as a "temporary role" and come out from behind a "mask" that conceals a "separate, independent, and isolated ego." Build something really special. Try lots of stuff. Find a need and fill it as best you can. Seek out unfamiliar territory. Be careful but not cautious. Be bold but not foolish. Expect to fall down and then get up. Expect to make lots of mistakes and learn from each. Ignore "them" and what "they say.Read more ›
Not because it's bad. Actually, it's good. So good that my mind started racing about all the projects I want to start, but haven't yet. So good that I was tossing and turning about my Big Hairy Audacious Project and wondering if I'm being audacious enough.
And that's the point of this manifesto.
'Poke The Box' refers to those 'busy box' toys for toddlers, which have dials and cranks and buttons and make noise and flash lights. Do something and there is a response. The child's face lights up and wants more, so she pokes it more, discovering the joy of initiating stuff.
But somewhere in the system, we bleach initiative out of children, so when they become adults, the natural action is to conform, to wait for permission.
The message Seth Godin started in 'Linchpin' continues with his latest missive: Get Going, Do Something and Ship It. Initiative creates momentum, and momentum generates power.
The directness of the message in Poke The Box makes me uncomfortable. Because I really don't have any more excuses holding me back.
Making you uncomfortable is the point of this slim book. I'm sure that when you read it, you won't be able to sleep either.
And as he says - soon is not as good as now.
Full of motivational words and tidbits to get you off your butt and STARTING, it's well worth grabbing a copy and then sharing it with others while you get working on whatever it is you need to do to make an impact.
WARNING: if you're afraid of getting nudged you should probably not get this book. It will be hard to sit in the status quo once Seth's ideas get in your head!!
His perspective on innovation is worth reading about in addition to his inspiration to get started. He suggests organizing for Joy and challenges the methodology many big companies use to handle customers, basically saying if you have to put it in a manual, the chances of amazing someone are quite low. Joy comes from surprise, connection, humanity and new ... and that is hard to regulate.
And remember, if you're afraid of failure: ideas that don't get spoken ALWAYS fail. :)
Most recent customer reviews
I read this book and really enjoyed it. It stirs up your thinking and challenges the way you look things. A couple years later and I've forgotten most of the book... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Jason Tomljanovic
It's short and easy to read each chapter in the morning as a reminder to poke the box.Published 9 months ago by Bill
Good book. Made me think. His books are simple, the messages are simple just like many authors. It's up to the reader to act of what is written.Published 13 months ago by lcd
Poke the box is about getting started and seeing an idea or project through with out a boss or someone picking you to do it. Its about taking initiative and doing something. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Christopher Shoesmith
It got me off my butt and gave me the courage to find a way where there was no way before.
That's not precisely accurate. Read more
This is the fist book of Seth Godin's I have read. I must admit I was a little skeptical when I first saw the small size of the book.
My sketicism was quickly dismissed. Read more
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