Drinking the Seth Godin … Milk

Drinking the Godin Koolaid

Motivator Manipulator Maven

Which is he?

I’m going with maven.

Maven may be one of those words we’ve lost sight of, like integrity. Integrity means “wholeness” but we’ve reduced it to “honesty.” So too mavenwhich means “connoisseur” — has been ironicized, demeaned really, into something like “one who condescends” referring to someone looking down his nose at the rest of us plebes on some item or issue.

Actually, the first two words maintain that relationship we have with the third. We’re either looking up to someone to get us to do … the thing … we need to do, or we’re imagining them looking down at us as they try to make us do … the thing … they want us to do.

I’m speaking mainly here of responses to his books, in the form of Amazon reviews. I’ve read bits of Permission Marketing free online. Heard Tribes as audiobook, read All Marketers are Liars and … one other book whose title I can’t remember just now. Not being able to remember it plays right into the critics’ side, the ones who’re voting manipulator in the multiple choice question above.

His books are all the same, they’d say, and do. He says nothing new, or nothing at all, in each one.

Well the other one is Poke the Box, but though I’ve recalled it, their criticism sometimes seems valid. At least, his books can sound like a whole lotta li’l nuthin’, just blowsy and bullshit and no help at all. I’m on Linchpin now, though, and it’s finally start to make sense, the differences between those books, the very specific counsel he does give … and I still see, having been there, why some don’t get him.

The motivator voter will say (and they do) that Godin’s a god, or the bomb, or whatever the kids say these days. They can see how this one book is about this and how that other book is about that.

Repeat. Etc.

But the two voting blocs disagree about the repetition and the et cetera.

What they miss, or rather each get a part of, is that Mr. Godin is very good at saying things direct and well. Many of us get one or the other; most people get neither.

Consider the sentiment, You’re a jackass. Say it needs to be said.

There’s a way to say that direct or well or neither. And there’s a way to say it both and he does. We can be smacked with the two-by-four and wanting to murder the man who did it. Or we can hear someone gone all flowery on us, no substance, but we know what’s really going on (well, sometimes) and we want to spit on the man who won’t say what he means. The guy who does the first is direct; the one going with flowery is trying (and failing) for well.

Seth Godin does both. He can annoy us but his words help. That’s why he’s a maven. He appreciates — in the classical sense — what he’s doing. It matters not one whit what we think — and not either way, I’ll add.

Objections one way or t’other aren’t jealousy or envy (I can never remember the difference), though they may be both. You’re pissed because you don’t have it, haven’t figured it out, aren’t committed … and pissed because he does and has and is. And in addition to jealousy or envy, it is a pile of ignorance or carelessness. And the problem is, you have to care.

Or you won’t get him at all.

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