Tribes by Seth Godin | Book Summary & PDF
In the Tribes PDF summary you will learn:
- Key ideas on how to build a tribe
- What makes a true leader
- How to gain momentum for your movement
- How to stand for your message and why it is important
- The reason why your message is not gaining impact or results
Tribes by Seth Godin is an important book for anyone who’s starting a business, a movement, or any new venture. If you are in an early entrepreneurial stage or trying to get the footing in your business, this book is highly recommended.
The concept of Tribes is that we need to enroll people in our movement who will in turn enroll other people and make the movement gain momentum.
1) Stand for Something
The first most important idea of building a tribe (or followership) is that you have to stand for something.
This also means you have to challenge the status quo.
A great example: Martin Luther King Jr.
- He had a dream.
- He had a vision of a country that was not divided on the basis of race or religion.
- He wanted to make sure the dream happens.
- He was going to challenge the status quo.
- He was going to make sure that the big bullies in Washington and of the different racial demographics wouldn’t stand in his way.
- He challenged what they were saying was the right thing.
- He was going to stand in their way.
- As a result, he had enemies.
When you are creating a tribe, you will create enemies. Many people are tied to their own way of thinking and don’t want to believe that your way of thinking is any better than theirs.
The good thing about enemies
Having enemies is good. It will help propel your message forward.
When people got together in Washington, D.C. for that incredible speech that Martin Luther King gave, it wasn’t a logical step-by-step processes of how to rid America of the racial divide. Rather —
- It was an intense and emotionally charged message.
- It was all about the inequality that existed in the country at the time.
- It was about what needed to be changed.
- It was about the fact that he wanted everyone to stand together and to be able to look each other in the eye and know that we’re equals.
- He didn’t just give some simple truths or facts.
- He was all about emotions, not logic.
What he did in the process:
- He inspired the country.
- He inspired a movement.
- He made people believers.
- He made them believe that it’s possible.
- He made them join the movement.
- They were all going to stand for something,
Nobody was really doing it for Martin Luther King per se.
- They were all doing it for the sake of the movement as to what needed to be right.
- They were all doing it to challenge the status quo.
- They were all there to overcome.
2) Stand for Your Message
What would you rather have:
- a small but tightly knit tribe that’s always enrolling new people who believe in its core message
- or a diffused tribe with no direction and that doesn’t believe in its leader?
What you need is to make sure that your tribe is like the first one:
- tightly knit
- not diffused/scattered
- believes in the message that it’s trying to portray or put out there
- You can’t water down or dilute your message. You have to stand for it. That’s when you get the true believers who will stand tall with you and fight with you for your movement.
- Trying to please everyone will not make things possible.
- Martin Luther King did not try to please the people in Washington nor the different political parties. That was not his agenda.
- He merely stood for his message and delivered what he thought was essential to human equality.
- Don’t make your message become a generality as if it’s the same message as everyone else’s.
- Be very specific with what you’re going after.
Somehow we have this notion in this world today that leaders are born, and that there are certain people who are leaders and certain people who are followers — but that’s not the truth.
The truth about leaders:
- Leaders start the process.
- They are not trying to do the ordinary things but the extraordinary
- Go after what they think is wrong
- Don’t seek permission.
- Make changes happen
- Do things their own way
- Don’t need charisma in order to be a leader
- They get it as they become a leader.
- They feel what they stand for and are willing to die for it.
- Authentic about the message that they’re trying to give, and this attracts people
- Leaders are heretics.
- They challenge the status quo.
- They break the mold.
Leadership is not some managerial principle. It’s about believing in the cause so much that you will stand for it, fight for it, and dedicate your life for it.
4) Connect to People
As you continue to grow your tribe and challenge the status quo, what you might find is that it’s hard to spread the message. You might be spending a lot of money on marketing but the message is getting watered down.
The problem: Most probably you’re not connecting with the people. You’re not speaking to their hearts in a way that they get moved.
People will spread the message word for you when —
- they are moved
- they believe in what you’re trying to do
These people don’t need the monetary spending or ads to feel the conviction of the message.
So find a way to connect to people.
- Get authentic with yourself.
- Connect with that authentic part of other human beings.
- Connect with emotions, not with rationality or logic.
EXAMPLE: When Apple started, they stood for what they were trying to do and challenged the status quo. They challenged IBM (“The Big Blue”).
Their 1984 ad showed how they’re going to break the mold and that they were going to stand for something much more profound: a computer that was going to revolutionize the world.
What made Steve Jobs a leader:
- He did not water down the message
- Did not try to please everybody
- Example: He did not make a computer for everyone
- Was never a wandering generality
- Had a tight tribe
- As a heretic, he did not seek others’ permission to do what he was trying to do. (“I’m going to go change the world and you guys are going to come along for the ride.”)
- He was not trying to do something ordinary but something extraordinary.
Although today we call Steve Jobs charismatic, the truth is he was a very tough person to deal with and to work under. There were a lot of challenges that came. He was even fired from his own company.
But Steve Jobs stood his ground. You can wonder whether he was charismatic in the traditional sense or he was charismatic because he was a leader and hence he got the charisma.
Apple’s message spread because they were talking to the heart about creating simple but beautiful machines that really help. They were not just spending money to try to convince you to keep buying, which IBM was doing at the time.
There you have it, Tribes by Seth Godin. It is a great book whether you are a starting or an established entrepreneur figuring out why your message is not moving forward.