Linchpin by Seth Godin: A fascinating and insightful book

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Linchpin is a fascinating read. Seth Godin, is famous for previous his books (including Purple Cow, Tribes and The Dip) and his insightful observations.

Standing out and creating value

Godin begins by outlining how the existing work system is no longer best suited for a rapidly changing world. He makes the point that while education and organisational life has trained people to think that following orders and keeping the boss happy is the price you pay for job and financial security, this is no longer the case.

With job growth flat and tasks that previously needed white-collar employees now executed for free thanks to advancements in technology, it’s time to stand out and create value. He notes that the online market means there are myriad possibilities for your output reaching a wide audience and no excuses for not trying.

In a neat analogy, he expounds on this by stating that it’s no longer necessary (or even wise) to be just a dispensable cog in the machinery of capitalism where you do your work, get paid and go home. Rather he argues, there’s an important choice to be made by employees. That is to fully show up at work and use their unique talents to  become essential organisational linchpins. The definition of a linchpin is an unassuming and absolutely essential gadget that holds the wheel onto the wagon.

Unleashing your creativity

Godin argues it’s time to be an artist. He isn’t necessarily referring to those in the obviously creative roles. Rather that everyone has an artistic side and the ability to do great things. The measure of what makes a linchpin or artist is their willingness to really show up and make a difference in their work. This is regardless of what it is that they do, or whether they’re an employee or an entrepreneur.

Godin goes on to say that the linchpin has to chart their own map. Instead of following orders, a linchpin needs to take action and figure out how to get results. The book contains many compelling examples of individuals who are willing to do things differently to see results.

Godin also recommends trying to love whatever it is that you do. He says that this is crucial, even if it means, for the time being, staying with your less-than-perfect job. The concept of just showing up for work and putting in your time no longer works.

In summary, the linchpin is you. The essence of the linchpin/artist is about leveraging your unique talents and passion to be remarkable. Godin motivates the reader to do things differently. He talks about being generous and giving of your work (art) and exerting ’emotional labour’ (i. e. bringing your heart and soul to your work). This is a fantastic book. If you want to be indispensable at work, read it!

Anne Sexton

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