“Perfectionism has nothing to do with perfect.”
— Seth Godin
Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog) is the author of 19 international bestsellers translated into more than 35 languages, including Tribes, Purple Cow, Linchpin, The Dip, and This Is Marketing. He writes daily at Seths.blog, which is one of the most popular blogs in the world. He’s also the founder of the altMBA and The Akimbo Workshops, online seminars that have transformed the work of thousands of people. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership, and most of all, changing everything. His newest book is The Practice: Shipping Creative Work.
In this episode, we explore many topics, including:
- The value of hacks
- The magic of Hamilton
- What learning to juggle and cultivating creativity have in common
- The myth of quality
- What Seth means by “Don’t steal the revelation.”
- Focusing on generosity instead of anxiety
- Choosing the ruleset of your own game of life
- How Joni Mitchell eschewed the safety of the sinecure
- What you would do if you knew you would fail?
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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
Want to hear the last time Seth was on the show? Click here to listen to our conversation in which we discussed how Seth deals with overwhelm, saying “no” and setting boundaries, long work vs. hard work, how to find your smallest viable audience, crafting April Fool’s jokes, and much more.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Seth Godin:
- The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin
- Other Books by Seth Godin
- Professionals, Hacks, and Amateurs | Seth’s Blog
- Hackneyed | World Wide Words
- Specification-Based Management is Not Sufficient | The W. Edwards Deming Institute
- Totaling Up the Repairs on the Cheapest Rolls-Royce Phantom in the USA | Autotrader
- Hamilton | Broadway
- West Side Story | Broadway
- Richard Serra Exhibitions | Dia Beacon
- You Can’t Say You Can’t Play | Seth’s Blog
- 1,000 True Fans | The Technium
- Nike ‘Just Do It’ Slogan Inspired by Utah Spree Killer Gary Gilmore | Business Insider
- How Long Does It Take To Climb Mount Everest? | OutdoorsmanLab
- Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
- Double Take: The Art of Elizabeth King | Prime Video
- Origin and Meaning of Amateur | Online Etymology Dictionary
- The Interview Master: Cal Fussman and the Power of Listening | The Tim Ferriss Show #145
- House Of The Rising Sun by Joni Mitchell
- The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life by Timothy Ferriss
- Tufte’s Principles | thedoublethink
- Survival Is Not Enough: Zooming, Evolution, and the Future of Your Company by Seth Godin
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
- The HBS Case Method | Harvard Business School
- Case Studies | Stanford Graduate School of Business
- The Sunk Cost Fallacy | You Are Not So Smart
- R.E.M. Reflect on ‘Radical’ ‘Out of Time’ LP 25 Years Later | Rolling Stone
- The Go-Go’s | Showtime
- On Kings by David Graeber and Marshall Sahlins
- Stone Age Economics by Marshall Sahlins
- The Flintstones | Prime Video
- Yoyodyne | Wikipedia
- Squidoo | Wikipedia
- Refuseniks | YIVO
- Throwing and Catching | Seth’s Blog
- Terry Laughlin, The Master Who Changed My Life | The Tim Ferriss Show #276
- The History of Search Engines: A Timeline | WordStream
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs | Simply Psychology
- Sinecure | Wikipedia
- Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter by Joni Mitchell
- God Must Be a Boogie Man by Joni Mitchell
Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.
- What’s the etymology of the word “hack,” and how does it relate to Seth’s new book, The Practice?
- What is the specific definition of the word “quality,” and how does it differ from its generally accepted meaning?
- What makes Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway blockbuster Hamilton more “magical,” in Seth’s estimation, than West Side Story? Perhaps the real question: what is magic, and what does it take to make it?
- Why hiding behind words like “quality” or “perfection” as a means of postponing action to avoid risk is a cop-out — especially these days.
- What Isaac Asimov and Gary Gilmore can teach us about writer’s block and other common procrastinations.
- Examining what we mean when we tell ourselves our work isn’t “good enough,” weighing the real reasons we might opt to take a less challenging path, what it sometimes takes to get us back on the right path, and why generosity doesn’t mean free.
- “Process saves us from the poverty of our intentions.” -Elizabeth King
- On the selfishness of authenticity, and why Seth believes the way we act determines how we feel way more often than the way we feel determines how we act.
- If attitudes are skills, how do we sharpen them?
- Skills with a disproportionate return on investment that entrepreneurs and creatives should consider cultivating.
- On anxiety and the futility of reassurance.
- One of the biggest mistakes ineffective teachers make, and what we should remember if we want to be effective learners.
- The importance of applying constraints and boundaries to the learning process, and understanding the gift that tension gives.
- How do you not steal the revelation as a teacher, but create tension so that people will plow ahead with developing a skill or learning something?
- Examples of how the power of positive constraints have had an impact on Seth — and how they went from being a source of frustration to the core of his useful working life.
- How would Seth usher a prospective entrepreneur through the process of deciding on constraints before they embark on creating some darling that they’re not willing to kill?
- How can an entrepreneur or freelancer apply constraints when their plans are already in motion?
- A nugget from The Practice: Seek joy. But how does one do this?
- As someone who’s succeeded in zigging where others have zagged, How has Seth chosen the games he has played, and in what ways has this changed over time?
- What provided Seth with a template to understand the difference between doing fulfilling work and simply training for the outcome? For that matter, what’s so bad about training for the outcome?
- The Practice is Seth’s 20th book. What is he saying in this one that he didn’t get around to in the 20 before, and what should prospective readers hope to get from it?
- How would Seth suggest someone literally learn how to juggle, and how does this process figuratively encapsulate the building of resilience necessary for thriving in an ever-changing world?
- How the way I learned to swim — in my 30s — was similarly counterintuitive but completely effective (and by coincidence, the technique Seth uses to swim every day).
- In what ways is cultivating creativity similar to learning how to juggle?
- How does Seth separate genre from generic, and who was Earl Stanley Gardner?
- With 230 chapters in less than 230 pages, which ones does Seth hope most resonate with readers?
- How Joni Mitchell alienated her mainstream audience in order to find her smallest viable audience and, ultimately, do better work that didn’t train for the outcome.
- What would you do even if you knew you would fail?
- Parting thoughts.
- Edwards Deming
- Alexander Hamilton
- Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Richard Serra
- Lenny Levine
- Kevin Kelly
- Isaac Asimov
- Charles Manson
- Gary Gilmore
- Malcolm Gladwell
- Elizabeth King
- Ben Franklin
- Dale Carnegie
- Cal Fussman
- Muhammad Ali
- Mikhail Gorbachev
- Joni Mitchell
- Edward Tufte
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- Marie Schacht
- Alex Peck
- Susan Rothenberg
- Ken Burns
- Fred Rogers
- Isaac Newton
- David Graeber
- Marshall Sahlins
- Milton Friedman
- Chögyam Trungpa
- Terry Laughlin
- Bill Boomer
- Earl Stanley Gardner
- Agatha Christie
- Perry Mason
- Della Street
- James Patterson
- James Bond
- Marissa Mayer
- Abraham Maslow
- Jaco Pastorius