Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

This month one of The Savvy Reader Book Club selections was Seth Godin’s book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. I chose this book after learning Molly Ford of Smart, Pretty and Awkward recommended reading it.

What is this book about?
Seth Godin describes a tribe as any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader or an idea. In this short book, only 147 pages long, Godin inspires us to embrace our leadership potential and challenge the status quo.

My Thoughts:
I love a good business book. For me a “good” business book helps me understand the current state of business and provides new ideas I can use to improve the organization where I work or to write about on this blog.

Tribes is strong on helping me understand where business is today. Godin feels many organizations are trapped in maintaining the status quo. By doing so they fail to adapt or innovate and end up dying. Think Kodak or the music industry. Much of this is due to companies having a management problem. Godin writes:
Management is about manipulating resources to get a known job done. Burger franchises hire managers. They know exactly what they need to deliver and they are given resources to do it at low cost. Managers manage a process they’ve seen before, and they react to the outside world striving to make the process as fast and as cheap as possible.

Leadership, on the other hand is about creating change that you believe in. (Pgs. 13 - 14) 
This is where this book begins to fall short for me. I can’t exactly march into my manager’s office tomorrow and recommend he get rid of our managers and begin looking for leaders.

What the book does do is provide encouragement and inspiration to those who have an idea or wish to create a tribe and need a push to do so. Godin spends a fair amount of time writing about fear and thinking your way out of it. He also writes about the naysayers and heretics and how they are ultimately the ones who end up demoted, fired, disgraced and unhappy.

Bottom Line:
It’s possible you missed the checklists, the detailed how-to lists, and the For Dummies style instruction manual that shows you exactly what to do to find a tribe and lead it. (Pg. 146) 
That is because there aren’t any. If that is what you are looking for you will be disappointed with this book. This book is actually more of a motivational guide to inspire you to become a leader or to contribute to a tribe. If that is what you are looking for this book will be perfect for you.

Have you read this book? If so what were your thoughts? What business books do your recommend reading?
Femme Frugality


  1. I do best when I get a mix of the the inspirational/idealogical and the measurable/actionable. Perhaps this book would be well paired with a more concrete action plan guide.

  2. i've read a bunch of seth godin's articles, but not any of his books. right now i'm reading randi zuckerberg's dot complicated.

  3. I've never read this but I do enjoy similar leadership books. Thanks for sharing this review!

  4. "I can’t exactly march into my manager’s office tomorrow and recommend he get rid of our managers and begin looking for leaders." Oh gosh, if only!!

    I do like leadership/business books a lot. I love the One Minute Manager books, especially The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey for delegating. I also love "personality" books like The Art of Speed Reading People and Please Understand Me II which are both Briggs-Meyers related books.

  5. Midnight Cowgirl,
    It was.

  6. Catherine,
    Adding Randi Zuckerberg's book to my reading list. Thanks for the suggestion. It sounds like a good one.

  7. Monica,
    Thanks for stopping in. Can you recommend some of your favorite leadership books?

  8. brokeGirl rich,
    I just love your book selections and am adding all of them to be reading list. Thanks so much.