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Poke the Box (Limited Deluxe Edition)

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We send our kids to school and obsess about their test scores, their behavior and their ability to fit in. We post a help wanted ad and look for experience, famous colleges and a history of avoiding failure. We invest in companies based on how they did last quarter, not on what theyâre going to do tomorrow. So why are we surprised when it all falls apart? Our economy is We send our kids to school and obsess about their test scores, their behavior and their ability to fit in. We post a help wanted ad and look for experience, famous colleges and a history of avoiding failure. We invest in companies based on how they did last quarter, not on what theyâ��re going to do tomorrow. So why are we surprised when it all falls apart? Our economy is not static, but we act as if it is. Your position in the world is defined by what you instigate, how you provoke, and what you learn from the events you cause. In a world filled with change, thatâ��s what matters â�� your ability to create and learn from change. Poke the Box is a manifesto about producing something thatâ��s scarce, and thus valuable. It demands that you stop waiting for a road map and start drawing one instead. You know how to do this, youâ��ve done it before, but along the way, someone talked you out of it. We need your insight and your dreams and your contributions. Hurry.


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We send our kids to school and obsess about their test scores, their behavior and their ability to fit in. We post a help wanted ad and look for experience, famous colleges and a history of avoiding failure. We invest in companies based on how they did last quarter, not on what theyâre going to do tomorrow. So why are we surprised when it all falls apart? Our economy is We send our kids to school and obsess about their test scores, their behavior and their ability to fit in. We post a help wanted ad and look for experience, famous colleges and a history of avoiding failure. We invest in companies based on how they did last quarter, not on what theyâ��re going to do tomorrow. So why are we surprised when it all falls apart? Our economy is not static, but we act as if it is. Your position in the world is defined by what you instigate, how you provoke, and what you learn from the events you cause. In a world filled with change, thatâ��s what matters â�� your ability to create and learn from change. Poke the Box is a manifesto about producing something thatâ��s scarce, and thus valuable. It demands that you stop waiting for a road map and start drawing one instead. You know how to do this, youâ��ve done it before, but along the way, someone talked you out of it. We need your insight and your dreams and your contributions. Hurry.

30 review for Poke the Box (Limited Deluxe Edition)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Half way through the book, I had decided that this book merits only a one sentence review: Seth Godin, surprisingly, turns out to be Mr. Obvious. After finishing the book, I have realized that this would not be fair. I particularly liked the section on Intellectual Integrity and Seth's point that anyone not putting his ideas into the world is actually stealing them from the world and should be treated as such. Yes, every section in the book is repetitive and makes the same exhortation again an Half way through the book, I had decided that this book merits only a one sentence review: Seth Godin, surprisingly, turns out to be Mr. Obvious. After finishing the book, I have realized that this would not be fair. I particularly liked the section on Intellectual Integrity and Seth's point that anyone not putting his ideas into the world is actually stealing them from the world and should be treated as such. Yes, every section in the book is repetitive and makes the same exhortation again an again - Start Innovating. And maybe, just maybe, even the obvious facts need to be drilled in. The book is mildly inspirational and some anecdotes are nice but all in all, his succinct blog entries would be a better investment for an interested reader's time than going through this book. The book does not poke the box; it is not stimulating and original enough but the central idea is worth restating: If the only reason you are not initiating your quest is that you are afraid to start, perhaps you ought to think about what is at stake. Have you fully understood the cost of not starting?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kate B

    Hey look, I started a negative review! Look at me poking the box! In fact let me take even more initiative and tell you in one sentence what he wrings torturously into a 'book': successful people are the ones that aren't afraid to try something new and fail, repeatedly, so you should get off your ass and take initiative in all aspects of your life. While I don't disagree with his thesis, Godin's book is dreadful to read. It's not a lengthy book by any stripe, but still ends up being way too Hey look, I started a negative review! Look at me poking the box! In fact let me take even more initiative and tell you in one sentence what he wrings torturously into a 'book': successful people are the ones that aren't afraid to try something new and fail, repeatedly, so you should get off your ass and take initiative in all aspects of your life. While I don't disagree with his thesis, Godin's book is dreadful to read. It's not a lengthy book by any stripe, but still ends up being way too long. It's like bad 90's techno - endless variations on a single theme, stretch far past its value. And the elitism that coats every treacly entreaty to action, ugh. We get it Seth, you're better than the poor befuddled masses, and you're talking to a crowd of your insufferable peers. In the end this becomes an object lesson in risking failure: if he can write like this and still be a famous best-selling author, you can pretty much do anything if you try new things enough times. This probably would have been better as a motivational poster with an eagle on it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheree

    It's difficult to argue with Seth Godin's logic. He is incredibly quotable, yet when you read him you have the nagging impression that he isn't saying anything you don't already know. This seems truer in this short, quick read than in any of his other books. I don't think he would argue the point. In fact in Poke the Box, he basically says that very thing when encouraging the reader to do what you see needs to be done. We shouldn't have to say it. But if everyone knows it, then why aren't they It's difficult to argue with Seth Godin's logic. He is incredibly quotable, yet when you read him you have the nagging impression that he isn't saying anything you don't already know. This seems truer in this short, quick read than in any of his other books. I don't think he would argue the point. In fact in Poke the Box, he basically says that very thing when encouraging the reader to do what you see needs to be done. We shouldn't have to say it. But if everyone knows it, then why aren't they doing it? Loosely, this is the same principle as "why do I always have to refill the toilet tissue holder, paper towel dispenser, etc.?” Except in place of laziness the answer is fear... Or perhaps the two aren't so very different after all... I had the feeling, despite all the quotables in Poke the Box, that Seth Godin had just pumped out another best seller of re-hashed material that would still sell because the author is, after all, Seth Godin. In the end, the most original idea of this book seems to be the cover design--a picture only with no title. If you're new to Seth Godin, you will probably love this book. It's a quick, easy read. If you have read several of his writings you may enjoy this book as a sort of quick refresher. If you have read a lot of Seth Godin, you'll probably find this latest offering a bit thin. But, if you're a hard core Seth Godin junkie, you'll probably rave about how, bold, and original Poke the Box is, and praise him for "shipping" once again.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shog Al Maskery

    My brain is bursting with ideas I want to share with the world on my YouTube channel!

  5. 4 out of 5

    James Cridland

    I've worked out what Seth Godin does, and it's very simple. He takes one valid and interesting thought, and writes it in lots of different ways to fill a book. What Seth has done in this book, I discover, is that he's had one good idea, and expanded on it, repeatedly, to make a book out of it. Seth's a clever man, because essentially this book is full of one concept, which he's phrased and paraphrased, over and over again, to comfortably fill quite a lot of pages. What's kind of happened here, I've worked out what Seth Godin does, and it's very simple. He takes one valid and interesting thought, and writes it in lots of different ways to fill a book. What Seth has done in this book, I discover, is that he's had one good idea, and expanded on it, repeatedly, to make a book out of it. Seth's a clever man, because essentially this book is full of one concept, which he's phrased and paraphrased, over and over again, to comfortably fill quite a lot of pages. What's kind of happened here, you'll discover, is that Mr Godin has suddenly woken up and thought "Goodness, if I just write the same thing over and over again, but slightly differently, for a number of different chapters, then I'll manage to complete a book and then I can sell it." As a concept of a book, this is pretty clever - Seth Godin has come up with one central tenent and discussed it, in quite a circumlocutory way, over a considerable amount of paragraphs. etc

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Um, pretty empty... Hm. I'll agree it's a rant. It has a manifesto feeling to it, but jeez, it really doesn't say much. I'll summarize: * Let's adopt an inappropriate metaphor: a friend made a black box with switches and buzzers and such and gave it to his son, who poked at it. Poking the box = doing stuff even if you might fail. Uh, what? * Okay, now let's encourage everyone to try stuff, embrace the possibility of failure, because otherwise, great things won't happen. Okay, cool. * But that's Um, pretty empty... Hm. I'll agree it's a rant. It has a manifesto feeling to it, but jeez, it really doesn't say much. I'll summarize: * Let's adopt an inappropriate metaphor: a friend made a black box with switches and buzzers and such and gave it to his son, who poked at it. Poking the box = doing stuff even if you might fail. Uh, what? * Okay, now let's encourage everyone to try stuff, embrace the possibility of failure, because otherwise, great things won't happen. Okay, cool. * But that's about it. He just keeps repeating it over and over. Go. Ship. Do. Try. Fail. Fail again. Poke, poke, poke (not the facebook kind) * There's no organization, no building up, just endless repetition in short bursts so that you feel like he's just spewing words on the page * At least it's really short. * Really, don't bother UPDATE: I don't know why I gave this a 2.0 originally. Correcting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rosa

    Are you the box needing a poke? Wow. Seth Godin’s newest book Poke the Box has been out for a mere 3 days, and I notice there are already 14 reviews on Goodreads and 46 more at Amazon.com. Blogger buzz was singing high notes in my feed reader. As an author it’s easy to feel the green monster of envy breathing down your neck, for Godin has quite a tribe of sneezers (as he calls his vocal audience of idea spreaders). However I’m someone who’s feeling mighty grateful for the energy he’s stirring up. Are you the box needing a poke? Wow. Seth Godin’s newest book Poke the Box has been out for a mere 3 days, and I notice there are already 14 reviews on Goodreads and 46 more at Amazon.com. Blogger buzz was singing high notes in my feed reader. As an author it’s easy to feel the green monster of envy breathing down your neck, for Godin has quite a tribe of sneezers (as he calls his vocal audience of idea spreaders). However I’m someone who’s feeling mighty grateful for the energy he’s stirring up. Seth Godin enjoyed picking on managers in Tribes, We Need You To Lead Us, and he doesn’t let up in this book either: “So the new manager says to herself, ‘I better not tell my staff that pickles are the trendy new appetizer, or they’ll be on the menu within days— and if they flop, the buck will stop with me.’” However this time my reaction was different. I see his rant (which he admits PTB is, both rant and manifesto) as a welcome challenge to managers everywhere, one which asks, Have you been part of the problem? For if you have been (or heaven forbid, still are), here’s a guy giving you a golden opportunity: Evangelize new projects. Support their leaders. Turn into a new breed of manager, and prove that a lot of what Godin has said about you in both Tribes and Poke the Box is wrong — at least on your turf, in your workplace, and in your life. “The company policy manual has an answer for your situation, and it only takes a few vice presidents to make it clear.” Poke the Box is written for your employees, and/or you as an employee, and Godin has written it for just one reason: To convince them (and you) that they MUST have more initiative and be a self-starter in everything they do. Not should, must. And work is a great place to make your magical turnaround happen: “If there’s no clear right answer, perhaps the thing you ought to do is something new. Something new is often the right path when the world is complicated [as it often is.]” Godin’s coaching, and the sneezing of his über excited audience, is FANTASTIC news for managers — unless they’re the old schoolers he describes who much prefer employees who are “cogs” and excel at compliance, not creativity. However you… Are you ready to break some rules? Poke the Box is a quick read: Just 96 pages long. At $4.99 on Kindle and other e-readers, it’ll be a much better wake-up for managers than their morning coffee if they take Godin’s advice to heart and “Go, go, go.” I really enjoyed the book, for Seth’s trademark pithiness shines through in several spots (there aren’t chapters, just short sections). He has a talent for making contrarian thinking seem so obvious and reasonable: “Only in systems where quality is a given do we care about attempts [which might not work]. I’m not sure Yoda was right when he said, ‘Do or do not, there is no try.’ Yes, there is a try. Try is the opposite of hiding.” If your employees read this book, you’d best not be hiding either. They’re likely to need your help, for as I tell you in my own writing, over and over again, managers matter. I don’t care what Seth or anyone else says about you: To be an Alaka‘i Manager is to answer a nobler calling. Yes, I like Seth Godin and admit to being a fan. However if you’re a manager, I want you to prove him wrong. Wrong about your role, your spirit, and your demeanor. For he’s right about you in so many other ways: “You already have good ideas, already have something to say, already have a vivid internal dialogue about what you could do and how it might make things better. If you don’t, if there’s just static inside, I think it’s really unlikely you read this far… The reasons for lying low are clear and obvious and stupid. The opportunity is to adopt a new practice, one where you find low-risk, low-cost ways to find out just how smart and intuitive and generous you actually are.” At the end of Poke the Box Godin asks us to share it, his m.o. since he wrote Unleashing the Ideavirus. I hesitated after reading Tribes but this one is a win for all of us.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Guy Gonzalez

    Poke the Box should have been titled Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - The Remix as Godin brings nothing new to the table other than a relationship with Amazon and some promotional pricing gimmicks. It's his usual mix of paper-thin insights and exhortations to be bold! to lead! to ship! -- but with notably less energy or conviction than usual, as if he wrote it in between blog posts over a rare quiet weekend. I pre-ordered the Kindle version for $1 and read it in a total of about 2 hours, and Poke the Box should have been titled Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - The Remix as Godin brings nothing new to the table other than a relationship with Amazon and some promotional pricing gimmicks. It's his usual mix of paper-thin insights and exhortations to be bold! to lead! to ship! -- but with notably less energy or conviction than usual, as if he wrote it in between blog posts over a rare quiet weekend. I pre-ordered the Kindle version for $1 and read it in a total of about 2 hours, and would still rather pay full price for the hardcover version of Tribes, a far superior book that I not only devoured and raved about 2.5 years ago, but bought copies for my entire staff at the time, and still recommend to people on a regular basis. Perhaps the most interesting idea in the book gets buried in his Stuart Smalley-esque shtick: One reason organizations get stuck is that they stick with their "A" players so long that they lose their bench. In a world that’s changing, a team with no bench strength and a rigid outlook on the game will always end up losing. It's a concept worth exploring further, and one that fits perfectly under Tribes' philosophical umbrella, but in Poke it's an odd aside that gets glossed over. One of Godin's running themes throughout Poke is to be an initiator, and that risking failure is the best road to achieving success, and by making Poke the Box the first offering from The Domino Project, he's practicing what he preaches. He initiated, he shipped, and he pretty much failed to deliver a good book. Now the question will be whether or not "Powered by Amazon" and his marketing gimmicks have introduced him to a wider audience than Portfolio, his previous publisher, could have, and whether or not The Domino Project's bench is deep enough to give this publishing experiment real legs.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Agrimson

    Poke the Box by Seth Godin is the kick in the butt everyone may need. Poke the Box encourages all minds to start up and go. It's good to have ideas, and it's even better to set those ideas into fruition. Godin mentions that one of the largest contributors to holding people back from great things is FEAR. Fear to offend others. Fear of being uncomfortable. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. He makes a compelling point that this may happen, and the better you are, the more it will happen. Not Poke the Box by Seth Godin is the kick in the butt everyone may need. Poke the Box encourages all minds to start up and go. It's good to have ideas, and it's even better to set those ideas into fruition. Godin mentions that one of the largest contributors to holding people back from great things is FEAR. Fear to offend others. Fear of being uncomfortable. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. He makes a compelling point that this may happen, and the better you are, the more it will happen. Not necessarily a feel good moment. However, Godin states that most successful people have failed a considerable amount in their life yet their contributions overshadow their failures. As an example, I've included a separate video that proves this phenomena. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8Rw7D... Godin doesn't stop there. In fact, he encourages us to keep poking the box. Don't just stop when something good happens. Don't stop when you finally sold your product. Don't stop when you've met your quota in sales. However, "keep poking the box," continue to innovate. An example he gave was Google. This example resonated with me due to its overwhelming obviousness. Google became great at searching millions of internet pages and coming up with the best websites, in order, that are most relevant to your needs. This is what made it thrive. This is what put Google on the map. Yet, if that had been all that Google did, Google wouldn't be known as well as it is today. In fact, once Google became great at internet searches, it became great at map searches. "Poke." It also became great at hosting email. "Poke." It now allows you to create documents and slide presentations online. "Poke." I'm sure by the time you're done reading this review, Google will have poked the box once more. This book has inspired me to begin projects and breakaway from the fear that grips me. It has inspired me to be creative and innovative, but most importantly, it gave me a swift kick in the rear end.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    POKE THE BOX is mainly for entrepreneurs (both social and business), but since the author claims: "This is a Manifesto about Starting," it could also be a book about Life. It features Seth Godin's hallmark style of taking every day things and helping you see them from a fresh and motivating perspective. The title comes from thinking about a child with a buzzer box (the kind with switches, some lights, and other controls that result in lights blinking, buzzers buzzing, etc.). A child will start POKE THE BOX is mainly for entrepreneurs (both social and business), but since the author claims: "This is a Manifesto about Starting," it could also be a book about Life. It features Seth Godin's hallmark style of taking every day things and helping you see them from a fresh and motivating perspective. The title comes from thinking about a child with a buzzer box (the kind with switches, some lights, and other controls that result in lights blinking, buzzers buzzing, etc.). A child will start poking at the box, trying one switch and then another. From doing different things, he learns. So Seth Godin says, "Life is a buzzer box. Poke it." He's begging us to just "Start Stuff." And if we're running a company, he submits we need to encourage and empower our employees to Start Stuff. He touches on Leadership: "Human nature is to need a map. If you're brave enough to draw one, people will follow...Please stop waiting for a map. We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them." He touches on the relationship between doing and failing: "The more you do, the more you fail...The person who fails the most usually wins," ...and then the failures will have been just stepping stones. "Of course, the challenge of being the initiator is that you'll be wrong. You'll pick the wrong thing, you'll waste time, you'll be blamed...This is why being an initiator is valuable." "Failure is an event, though, and with rare exceptions, is not fatal." He ties his theme in with the theme of a previous book (LINCHPIN) in which he refers to our "lizard brain" that is always holding us back. "For many of us, the resistance is always chattering away, frequently sabotaging our best opportunities and ruining our best chance to do great work. Naming it helps you befriend it, and befriending it helps you ignore it...The purpose of this manifesto is not to magically extinguish your fear. It's to call its bluff." He has an interesting take on ego: "Somewhere along the way, ego became a nasty word. It's not...It's okay. Let your ego push you to be the initiator." One of Godin's important points: you can be an initiator wherever you are in your organization's hierarchy. He has some great examples of what this "looks like." Another gem sprinkled in: "Reject the tyranny of picked [e.g.picked by an investor, picked for a promotion, picked to lead a project)]. Pick yourself." Godin asks, "When can you start?" And he believes "Soon is not as good as now." This book may not be for everyone, but I needed and appreciated it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    A nearly empty book of 84 pages. Godin comes up with an obtuse metaphor for starting (Poke the Box!) and then twists it 15 different ways. He never settles on a solid thesis. Along the way he mangles the language, puts way too much emphasis on failure and way too little emphasis on quality. I've liked Godin books in the past, but this one read like a rushed series of blog posts mashed together. Some fault falls on the editing since ideas contradict each other within a few pages. Laying out the A nearly empty book of 84 pages. Godin comes up with an obtuse metaphor for starting (Poke the Box!) and then twists it 15 different ways. He never settles on a solid thesis. Along the way he mangles the language, puts way too much emphasis on failure and way too little emphasis on quality. I've liked Godin books in the past, but this one read like a rushed series of blog posts mashed together. Some fault falls on the editing since ideas contradict each other within a few pages. Laying out the contradictions 20-30 pages apart would have pulled the wool over the eyes a lot more effectively. To get my full review, find the book I wrote in as part of The Domino Project. A simple review does no justice to my dislike of this book. My inline comments capture the mood as I was reading it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sosi Demirtshyan

    This book was a bit boring . Seth Godin said nothing new this time, nothing special, just the same idea again and again, during the whole book: "just poke that freaking box, goddamnit" :D

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Conrey

    quick clear read on par with an extremely short version of linchpin. 88 pages that all get to the one easy point: Just Start Something Do that one thing and everything else gets much much easier.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Dixon

    Good for a kick in the ass on a lazy day, but otherwise this is a lot of reiteration of a simple point. Have an idea? Do something with it. Then do it some more. Don't be afraid.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Martinsen

    Another book I'll be reading and listening to over and over.

  16. 5 out of 5

    imane

    Life is a buzzer box. Poke it and see what happens? Fail, succeed, fail, fail, fail, succeed—you get the idea. The box reveals itself through your poking, and as you get better at it, you not only get smarter but also gain ownership. Mathematicians call this a function. Put in one variable, get a result. Call and response. The essence of being human is to initiate. But we’re not left to our own devices. We are smothered by parents, snubbed by peers, scolded by teachers, organized by authorities, Life is a buzzer box. Poke it and see what happens? Fail, succeed, fail, fail, fail, succeed—you get the idea. The box reveals itself through your poking, and as you get better at it, you not only get smarter but also gain ownership. Mathematicians call this a function. Put in one variable, get a result. Call and response. The essence of being human is to initiate. But we’re not left to our own devices. We are smothered by parents, snubbed by peers, scolded by teachers, organized by authorities, hired by factories, and brainwashed, relentlessly brainwashed to cease any troublesome behavior. So we do (most of us). Except for those who don’t. The ones who don’t—the troublemakers, starters, instigators, questioners, and innovators are still busy starting things, big and small. Learn to be curious like a child, initiate, create situations, start ruckuses, change in a world that is constantly changing and stop waiting for a map. The world rewards those who draw maps, not those who follow them. “There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way, and not starting.” Siddhartha Gautama

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monica Silva

    Start poking!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Georgina N

    Not bad.Summarized all the motivational phrases we have heard from now and then. When feel blue ,read it .It's worth it . 3 stars and not more: because it was too typical in some points. 3 stars and not less : It's a cool reminder of what we should do at moments when we doubt ourselves the most.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cyd Madsen

    It's.Godin. Nothing more to.say Caution: Do not read if you can't tolerate a swift and blunt kick in the butt, or appreciate the value of failure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Oleksandr Golovatyi

    Seth Godin became my one of the favorite authors right after the book "Purple Cow". "Poke the box" ("Пробуй, не зупиняйся", "Poke the box - original book title) is also quite interesting and useful. This little book about innovation, about doing something new over and over again. Do not be afraid of changes, and on the contrary, make these changes yourself. No need to be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are good, you need to learn about them, and become smarter and stronger. (English) ------------ Сет Seth Godin became my one of the favorite authors right after the book "Purple Cow". "Poke the box" ("Пробуй, не зупиняйся", "Poke the box - original book title) is also quite interesting and useful. This little book about innovation, about doing something new over and over again. Do not be afraid of changes, and on the contrary, make these changes yourself. No need to be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are good, you need to learn about them, and become smarter and stronger. (English) ------------ Сет Годін став моїм одним з улюбленних авторів одразу після книги "Фіолетова корова". "Пробуй, не зупиняйся" теж досить цікава та корисна. Ця малесенька книжечка про новаторство, про те, щоб робити щось нове знову і знову. Не боятися змін, а навпаки, самому робити ці зміни. Не потрібно боятися помилок. Помилки - це добре, потрібно вчитись на них, та ставати розумнішими та сильнішими. (Українська)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Megankellie

    This guy totally had me until he pushed my personal buttons. Some Questions: Is the whole "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule some kind of a regional thing? When you add four beers to yourself and you go on and on about something you don't like, your very raw feelings--are you finally admitting honest feelings which you have repressed or have you been chemically altered into a beer-fueled asshole? When you die, will St. Peter make you openly admit your true This guy totally had me until he pushed my personal buttons. Some Questions: Is the whole "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule some kind of a regional thing? When you add four beers to yourself and you go on and on about something you don't like, your very raw feelings--are you finally admitting honest feelings which you have repressed or have you been chemically altered into a beer-fueled asshole? When you die, will St. Peter make you openly admit your true feelings about everything? Is there a graph of Midwestern Netflix ratings vs. East Coast Netflix ratings? I would politely say this is a really interesting book and you can really get fired up reading it. He has a good point and we should go for it. I felt very encouraged, and am actually completing a checklist instead of making a new one. This is the first Seth Godin book I've ever read. I've spent probably six hours reading compliments and "OMG Seth Godin" articles. At least one hour reading "if you like me you would NOT BELIEVE Seth Godin." I have also watched interviews with him. So I was coming into it with a mind waiting to be bent and then unrecognizable and for my life to fork. I realized this wasn't going to happen and I don't think this is his main book that we should all read. I also just watched Eddie Izzard's "Believe" on Netflix which is a much more emotionally true representation of 10 years of disaster spent poking the box and the eventual payoff. Huge Expectations+Recently Experienced Emotional Truth=Go for a Walk. Can we just say that business books are self-help books? Sometimes I felt like the older sister in the room watching my mom say "why can't you be more like your older sister?! SHE has tried and failed a million times and SHE's fine with it!!!" and then watching my younger sister writhe around in her room and feel terrible. I would like to take that little sister out for Dairy Queen and say "listen, mom was being harsh. Trying and failing is terrible and that's why I'm obese and in debt, I just didn't tell mom that part." So I guess the main question is, do you believe in medieval demons? That ride through your vulnerabilities with a strict shame-pillage policy? That are merciless? If so, this book is sorta food for them. It's one long manifesto with little subheadings that sometimes make sense and sometimes don't. My buttons are this: He said we have a moral obligation to treat people with respect and look them in the eye. He said SNL writers know that what they write during the week might be seen by a million people on the weekend. These are my buttons. By this rule, New York is an amoral city. It does not play by those rules unless you are isolated and rich and/or from there. Also I have worked too many horrible jobs--I once had an interview with the Provost's office of a large private school in New York City and was asked by the HR person, the recruiter, and a lawyer if it was okay if no one in the office "really, you know noticed you--they kind of act like you're not there hehehe--I mean, they don't say hi or anything like that. Is that a big deal?" The HR woman said quietly, afterwards "I wouldn't work for that guy. Honestly." Also, read any writer's account of SNL and it's fraught with competition and dread and getting fired and a few people who love it. Yes, poke the box. To quote David Wong from cracked.com writing about women: "But remember, there are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Goldfarb

    Seth Godin's new book "Poke the Box" could be a companion manifesto to my book "How to Fail." Forgive my arrogance in saying a thirteen-time bestseller's highly-anticipated new book could be a companion to my own, but Seth essentially says in "Poke the Box" that egomania can be good. Especially when it turns you into an initiator. "Poking the box" is Seth's call for initiative. We live in a world predominantly without initiative, where people would rather maintain the status quo than shake things Seth Godin's new book "Poke the Box" could be a companion manifesto to my book "How to Fail." Forgive my arrogance in saying a thirteen-time bestseller's highly-anticipated new book could be a companion to my own, but Seth essentially says in "Poke the Box" that egomania can be good. Especially when it turns you into an initiator. "Poking the box" is Seth's call for initiative. We live in a world predominantly without initiative, where people would rather maintain the status quo than shake things up. And, you're not going to succeed that way. "You can't get blander than bland" as Seth says. Because you know what often happens when you try to shake up the status quo, when you try to not be bland? FAILURE. You have the nerve to approach the attractive woman at the bar? FAILURE. You try to start an innovative new company? FAILURE. You produce art and put it out into the world? FAILURE. "The more you do, the more you fail." And, Seth says that's great: "Be promiscuous in your failures" he adds. Poke lots of boxes, I think to myself and snicker. (Seth is smarter than me, but I'm much crasser than him, so I think we're even.) Don't react, initiate. Don't be a pussy, SHIP. Find some balls and go after your dreams. Don't be the wallflower in the corner waiting to get picked. You never will. Quit waiting to be chosen. Quit blaming others for not picking you. Pick yourself. I meet countless people every day that tell me, "You're lucky. You're lucky you got published. I wish someone would publish me." And, yes, perhaps I was a little lucky for getting picked once. But all being picked taught me is that the picking part is the most irrelevant part. Now I know you don't need to be picked, you can create your own destiny all by yourself. In fact, you have to. "Draw your own map" as Seth says. Self publish. Start a blog. Throw that short story collection that's gathering dust in your desk drawer up onto Kindle. Do you want to be the author who whines for the rest of his life that no one has "discovered" him? Or, the one that throws her book up on Kindle just to see what happens? That latter option is much scarier. That latter option could produce a work that never sells, that could be hated by everyone who reads it, that could truly fail. And, the onus would be 100% on you. Whining and blaming others is just cowardly. "Somehow, we've fooled ourselves into believing that the project has to have a name, a blog, and a stock ticker symbol to matter." It doesn't. Certainly not in the year 2011. All that matters is putting it out there and affecting people. As I said, no one cares who published it. Not any more. I know, risk is scary, right? Failure is scary too. But, in today's world, being non-risky and never failing is an even bigger risk. And, obscurity is the worst thing in the world. "The person who fails the most, usually wins," says Seth. He's right. "Poke in the Box" will hopefully be the kick in the ass that makes you go, go, go.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This was a fun little book, with catchy neologisms (‘unbrainwashing’) and turns of phrase (‘reject the tyranny of picked’) that markets well as a novelty. The title derives from a story about a father who designed a toy for a child that was respond with lights and sounds to manipulation and ‘poking’. Poke the Box is about the need to do something, better now than soon, to initiate change. It very much follows, without naming it, the Gandhi-principle, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This was a fun little book, with catchy neologisms (‘unbrainwashing’) and turns of phrase (‘reject the tyranny of picked’) that markets well as a novelty. The title derives from a story about a father who designed a toy for a child that was respond with lights and sounds to manipulation and ‘poking’. Poke the Box is about the need to do something, better now than soon, to initiate change. It very much follows, without naming it, the Gandhi-principle, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It’s about starting things, and taking responsibility to act and act first instead of blaming others or your environment for not moving. I loved his formula, “ptb<0—poke! (If Poking The Box cost less than doing nothing, then Poke!) The idea here is that we risk too much by not trying. We are afraid of failure, but Godin’s cure is simple: become ‘promiscuous’ with your failures. “Failure is not fatal” and so we shouldn’t try so much to avoid it. He comes with examples of failure from his own life: failed record label, failed light bulb fundraising business, failed production of VHS aquarium, and many failed books. Yet these failures only prompted him to write more audaciously about failing, very nearly citing the key to success as failure itself. He believes there is nothing stopping a person from beginning a task in a spirit of success, for all true successes cannot be completely predicted from the beginning, and thus cannot be an end. Success is not an object, it is a mindset, and one can embark upon the path of success immediately, even in spite of failed projects. The author seems to target the types of people who wait on others to pick them for a successful enterprises, but this only transfers any subsequent blame or praise onto the picker and not the picked. Godin advises, “Pick yourself” and start doing the things you always asked someone else for permission (protection) to do. There may be more work to do this way, but it is more rewarding and will better equip us to accomplish our goals. The book is pretty much a rough digest of psychology for the businessman/-woman, and what science I detected in his writing seemed only a rephrasing of hearsay. The business argot on every page—stock motivation clichés and commerce terminology—started feeling like a slimy pitch. I laughed out loud when I read his attempt to become philosophical, “The essence of humanity is initiative.” What? Rubbish. How about love? Or struggle? Or sex? Or pain? Or happiness? Or…something! But initiative? It’s so completely random, except for the fact that it matches the theme of this book Godin is trying to sell. Convenient. If you’re thinking about starting something new in your life, and you need motivation, there are some good thoughts in this short 90-page-ish work that might help. If not, an ‘unbrainwashing’ might be in order.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    Book Review Poke the Box by Seth Godin Published by Do You Zoom, Inc. 2011; 96 pp. Yes, that is the cover of this book. Go figure. Seth Godin is supposed to be some kind of management guru, if you were to listen to his fans and his self-promotion. It was for this reason that it seemed like a good idea to read his latest book. It wasn’t. Godin writes in sound bites. Either he has spent too much time composing for Twitter or he has too many thoughts trying to spill out at one time – or some other Book Review Poke the Box by Seth Godin Published by Do You Zoom, Inc. © 2011; 96 pp. Yes, that is the cover of this book. Go figure. Seth Godin is supposed to be some kind of management guru, if you were to listen to his fans and his self-promotion. It was for this reason that it seemed like a good idea to read his latest book. It wasn’t. Godin writes in sound bites. Either he has spent too much time composing for Twitter or he has too many thoughts trying to spill out at one time – or some other reason that can only be imagined. In any event, this book is too short to develop any reasonable depth in thought and too choppy to come away with anything but the rant (that’s his word) of someone who thinks he has all the answers. He doesn’t. According to the blurb in the back flap, Godin has authored twelve best-selling books (translated into 35 languages, no less), writes a popular blog, and has founded a successful web site. He has written for Fast Company and the Harvard Business Review and maybe his kind of choppy, all-over-the-map way of writing is what management guru-followers seek these days. The sad part is that there are no quick answers, no universal methods for success, no go-it-alone opportunities. Yet, from reading this “manifesto” (again, Godin’s word), one might be duped into thinking that all we have to do is go (of course, the last section of the book says “GO GO GO”; it couldn’t be as simple as just “go”). We don’t need a plan, we don’t even need a viable idea. We should just start, defy the status quo, make waves, don’t be held back, stop waiting for a road map, be ready to fail. Yeah, right. Perhaps when one is an independent consultant, writing into the ether, and convincing corporate planners to pay thousands of dollars to hear one speak, this kind of approach will work. There are, however, those in the real world who have to interact with others, are accountable to bosses, are required to return something for money spent, and are expected to work in a team. Godin probably doesn’t like the idea that CEOs do expect results based on success, that stakeholders are impatient with failure, that “safe” is expected. To bad, that’s life. This book was not worth the walk to the library to pick it up. Thankfully, I didn’t buy my own copy. Hopefully, it will be quickly relegated to the same lasting value as Godin’s first Twitter feed.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Janette Fuller

    Seth Godin has written a book that will challenge you to start...initiate...begin...GO! This is a manifesto about starting. Starting a project, making a ruckus, taking what feels like a risk. This is not a book about thinking about it or making a plan. It is about going beyond the point of no return...leaping...committing...making something happen. This book is about having the guts and the heart and the passion to ship. The challenge is getting into the habit of starting. The desire to move Seth Godin has written a book that will challenge you to start...initiate...begin...GO! This is a manifesto about starting. Starting a project, making a ruckus, taking what feels like a risk. This is not a book about thinking about it or making a plan. It is about going beyond the point of no return...leaping...committing...making something happen. This book is about having the guts and the heart and the passion to ship. The challenge is getting into the habit of starting. The desire to move forward. Mr. Godin puts it this way in his book; "Imagine that the world had no middlemen, no publishers, no bosses, no HR folks, no one telling you what you couldn't do. If you lived in that world, what would you do? Go. Do that." Mr. Godin believes the fear of failure is the reason many people hold back and hesitate to start a new endeavor. It might be only a temporary failure, but that doesn't matter so much if the very thought of it shuts you down. Risk is avoided becuase we have been trained to avoid failure. Many people are stuck with the status quo because they are afraid to make any kind of change. The author believes that avoiding failure is counterproductive. We will learn from our failures. All great people in history have learned from their failures and moved forward. The more you do, the more you fail. It is time to take the initiative to do work you decide is worth doing. What is your calling? There are no instructions or lists. Mr. Godin is very passionate when he says; "Please stop waiting for a map. We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them." This book is a call to action. It should be a kick in the pants to all who are waiting, planning, hesitating and evaluating. The time to get started is now. Poking doesn't mean right. It means ACTION. And remember, starting means you're going to finish. If it doesn't ship, you've failed. You haven't poked the box if the box doesn't realize it's been poked. Will you poke the box? Will you change your way of thinking to allow yourself to take a risk?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    If you're looking for scientific statistical analysis for the recipe of success, the book is definitely not for you. This book is a manifesto that aims to rally people to start innovating that not only stops at ideation but goes all the way and takes risk to execute it and find out if it works or not. This book is to encourage us to abandon our fear of 'this might not work' but to really find out if it works. This book is also for managers or organizations that adhere to 'failure free' policy If you're looking for scientific statistical analysis for the recipe of success, the book is definitely not for you. This book is a manifesto that aims to rally people to start innovating that not only stops at ideation but goes all the way and takes risk to execute it and find out if it works or not. This book is to encourage us to abandon our fear of 'this might not work' but to really find out if it works. This book is also for managers or organizations that adhere to 'failure free' policy and opens their eyes that the world has evolved and sticking to 'same old same old' and 'safe' stuff will make you left behind. I like the book mostly because of personal reason. It is relevant and it speaks to me. In my industry that champions creativity, walking out of the meeting without any debate with client is often seen as the standard of success. Maybe we should change that. We know that we really poke the box (innovate) when we debate with the client because the idea is so new that the client feels anxious about it. We try out best. We take risk. We start. We make it happen. If it fails,then we are responsible for our failure. As Seth Godin wrote in this book,"Fail, fail, fail, succeed, fail, fail, succeed". The idea is after failure, "Then start again. Then ship again." The final question to ponder upon... "What would our world look like if more people started projects, made a ruckus, and took risk?"

  27. 5 out of 5

    Calvin

    Seth Godin writes a manifesto in "Poke the Box" which exists to say primarily one thing: "Make something happen." He focuses heavily on initiative, its relevance, and diagnosing many reasons people don't take initiative. He also discusses its importance in the economy. So, if money and access and organizational might aren't the foundation of the connected economy, what is? Initiative. Godin wrote this manifest such that it's simple to read, easy to ingest, and full of quotable bites. At a length of Seth Godin writes a manifesto in "Poke the Box" which exists to say primarily one thing: "Make something happen." He focuses heavily on initiative, its relevance, and diagnosing many reasons people don't take initiative. He also discusses its importance in the economy. So, if money and access and organizational might aren't the foundation of the connected economy, what is? Initiative. Godin wrote this manifest such that it's simple to read, easy to ingest, and full of quotable bites. At a length of 85 pages, the book is readable in two to three hours. A few of my favorite quotes: "Excellence... is about taking the initiative to do work you decide is worth doing." "The opportunity lies in pursuing your curiosity..." "The challenge is to focus on the work, not on the fear that comes from doing the work." "The relentless act of invention and innovation and initiative is the best marketing asset." "It's easy to fall so in love with the idea of starting that we never actually start." "Sure, ideas that spread, win, but ideas that don't get spoken always fail."

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lars

    This whole book can be summed up in one word: "Go." However, folks won't buy a one-word book, so Seth Godin spent a few more electrons to elaborate on what form that might take. For me, the simple message is that when I spot something that I wish someone were bringing into being... I can be that someone. Having done this a few times before, I know this, but by gum, it's easy to forget it. Inertia takes over, and we find ourselves back on the couch wishing that someone would just do something This whole book can be summed up in one word: "Go." However, folks won't buy a one-word book, so Seth Godin spent a few more electrons to elaborate on what form that might take. For me, the simple message is that when I spot something that I wish someone were bringing into being... I can be that someone. Having done this a few times before, I know this, but by gum, it's easy to forget it. Inertia takes over, and we find ourselves back on the couch wishing that someone would just do something about whatever it is that we're dissatisfied with. Godin reminds us that inertia works both ways, and that a body in motion, even if errant, tends to stay in motion, and we can constantly apply course corrections. So, read this book if you need a reminder to get moving, get rolling, get busy. Go.

  29. 5 out of 5

    David

    A short and sweet bit of cheerleading for taking action, for what that's worth. My favorite anti-fear/laziness hack is when he invokes the moral case for frequently trying and failing. "Wasting the opportunity both degrades your own ability to contribute and, more urgently, takes something away from the rest of us." I'm always a sucker for arguments reminding you to see the "unseen" too in your analysis. The Buddha quote at the end is nice too "There are two mistakes one can make along the road A short and sweet bit of cheerleading for taking action, for what that's worth. My favorite anti-fear/laziness hack is when he invokes the moral case for frequently trying and failing. "Wasting the opportunity both degrades your own ability to contribute and, more urgently, takes something away from the rest of us." I'm always a sucker for arguments reminding you to see the "unseen" too in your analysis. The Buddha quote at the end is nice too "There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way, and not starting." This book is only of any possible value to you if (a) you have any deficiency in your rate of taking initiative and (b) said deficiency is susceptible to to improvement via short pithy statements.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    As one reviewer said about Godin, he's eminently quotable but you get the sense that he isn't saying anything you don't already know. I agree. Especially with this book. One sentence synopsis: If you aren't trying new things, you should be. Not just as an individual but as a business, as an institution, and as a society. Bonus sentence: We (the royal we) need to get past the point of being so critical of failure. What we need to be more critical of are those who never try anything new and always As one reviewer said about Godin, he's eminently quotable but you get the sense that he isn't saying anything you don't already know. I agree. Especially with this book. One sentence synopsis: If you aren't trying new things, you should be. Not just as an individual but as a business, as an institution, and as a society. Bonus sentence: We (the royal we) need to get past the point of being so critical of failure. What we need to be more critical of are those who never try anything new and always play it safe. Those are the real failures.

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