Why I Heart Seth Godin

What leads you to believe someone is credible?

What makes you trust someone? Respect them? Admire them?

Is it what they’ve done in the past? What they’re doing today? What they’re working on for tomorrow?

Or maybe it’s something else entirely.

Seth Godin falls into my coveted (totally hetero) “mancrush” category – along with the likes of Trent Reznor and Zack Morris, so you know this is reserved only for the elite of the elite.

Why Seth? Why Purple Cow and Linchpin and The Domino Project? Aside from his accomplishments, the thing I respect the most out of Seth is his ability to turn the ordinary routine thing you and I think about and/or experience everyday, and spin it, weave it into a masterpiece – a little nugget of wisdom that almost always has you saying “Huh, I never thought about it that way, but that’s brilliant”!

It’s his ability to do this in very few words that speak volumes. His posts are almost always read in under a minute, but I’m almost always left re-reading, re-tweeting – sharing his message with others. There’s something about his content that compels you to not only digest it, but to tell others about it. His writing is relevant, and it resonates on a personal level and to a wide audience.

Now there are a lot of folks out there doing similar things, but I think it’s his ability to wrap up what you and I might be thinking, but to do so in so few words – his brain is clearly working and thinking in different ways than you and I. I’m not saying he’s smarter than you (thought he probably is) – but he’s trained his brain to process things and get to the point quickly – cutting through the excess.

And yes, he would have had this post wrapped up a long time ago.

A couple things for you to go and do, today

1) As writers, shoot from the hip more often. In Seth’s writing, both on his blog and his books, you can tell he isn’t over-thinking. Stream-of-consciousness in writing can be a nightmare, but practice makes perfect. Instead of worrying about writing the PERFECT paragraph, instead of digging through the thesaurus to find “just the right” word, shoot from the hip, write what comes to mind first, and go with that. It may not always be the most eloquent, but it’s almost always more real – and I’d connect more with genuine writing over eloquent writing any day.

2) Think about who you admire and respect. Do it right now. Write them down, make a list, and next to each one, summarize in a couple words WHY you respect them. Then think about what you can do to display similar traits – and get to work.

I’d love to hear who made your list – so if you’d be so inclined, leave a couple of the “Who’s” and “Why’s” below.

Meanwhile, I’m off to work on how I could have made this post < 100 words.

Yep, I have a long way to go.


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23 Responses
  • ryanstephens Reply

    I think I’ve been obsessed since 2008ish or so. You’re right, his ability to take a relatively complex idea and weave it into something that makes complete sense with such brevity and clarity is genuinely a gift — one he undoubtedly worked hard to refine.

    More importantly I love that your man crush is on Zach Morris and not Mark Paul Gosselaar. Hyperion Bay, NYPD Blue, Raising the Bar…. blah.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I think that’s the important key, that his skill isn’t something he was simply born with, it’s something he’s worked on and, in short, perfected.

      And of course man, MPG is in no way a man-crush. Zack Morris? Always.

  • Jen Reply

    I think you are doing much better at concisely shooting from the hip, Matt. And I totally agree with you on Seth. I subscribe to his blog and read it daily. It is captivating, and I admire his style probably more than any other because he is so poignant but concise.

    Good luck with your mission!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks, Jen. It’s a continual work in progress getting a point across without throwing 1000+ words down on a page. Getting there :)

  • Natalie Sisson Reply

    I’m a Seth addict and have a woman-crush on him. As you wrap up almost as succinctly and eloquently as Seth does above (congrats on that) he manages to cut through the crap to deliver the absolute richness we all require to read, hear and chew upon. His books – both written and audio are powerpacked and I heart his ability to write me short email responses within 5 mins of me sending them!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Right on (and thanks for the kudos). He’s good at what he does, and as a writer, I really respect those who can say a lot without really saying a lot…

  • Edward - Entry Level Dilemma Reply

    I’m personally not a big fan of Godin. I read Linchpin. Although he made some good points (and I certainly enjoyed his blasting the “do what you love” idea- I agree, much better to try to “love what you do” instead), I didn’t like his style of writing and his “I’m so right, it’s painfully obvious and your a moron if you’re not doing this” attitude. And he repeated himself endlessly. The book felt like a blog post that was expanded into 200+ pages.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I can see your point, and I think that’s part of the problem with bloggers turned authors – that their writing does often come across like one long blog post or a compilation of many. That being said, I was a big fan of Linchpin and thought it was one of his best. Like everything, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

  • dougshaw Reply

    Edward kinda beat me to the punch. I can’t figure out whether SG is so darned clever because he can distil his point into so few words, or so darn stupid because he seems incapable of deep thought. I’m not against everything he says but on the whole his smugness, and his closed blog (Seth knows best so what the hell does he want your opinions for anyway – having said that I guess he may be put off by loads of people sucking up to him..?) Maybe I should experiment with his style and see how it goes? I could be underestimating him or I could be about to open a new door to success through brevity and wondrous insight.

    On the plus side at least Matt and I aren’t in danger of both trying to date the same dude! And also on the plus side I think it’s cool that he replies to folk – Natalie’s example of this is encouraging.

    Oh brother – maybe I’m starting to like the guy!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I don’t think at all he in incapable of deep thought, quite the contrary. I think so many of us think we have to explain in detail every point we have – but it’s Seth’s ability to say a lot without saying a lot that hits home for me. He understands that everything doesn’t need to be said and that some things should be left up to reader interpretation without “spelling it all out” (though this is just my humble take on it).

      The comments thing I never quite understood – but it’s because my view on a blog is clearly different from his – I see a blog as more than a platform for me to shout from – instead, I think the best blogs are one’s that provide a community for conversation.

      Read this post – it includes some of my thoughts on the issue and some great thoughts from others: http://www.lifewithoutpants.com/blogging/blog-comments-should-you-close-up-shop/ – in fact, I think you make an appearance :)

      And I already called dibs on Seth! Find your own man-crush.

  • Megan Cassidy Reply

    My sister, because she’s afraid of nothing and the funniest person I know.

    My best friends, because they’re accepting and understanding above everything else.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Awesome. Having people close to you on a personal level that you admire and respect – there’s nothing better, and it pushes you to be at YOUR best.

  • Jenny Foss Reply

    I just sat her for a solid 8 minutes trying to think up the perfect 4-word statement. And then I realized that I, too, need at least 22 words to say what Seth can in 2.

    While I do admittedly have occasional waves during which I, too, feel he’s being a bit smug? You just can’t deny that Seth Godin knows his stuff, and conveys it perfectly.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Agreed on all accounts – I can see why some think he’s smug – but I think almost anyone who has been very successful can come across that way.

      Hope all’s well in your hood, Jenny!

  • Theresa Moretti Reply

    Hi Matt:

    I loved Purple Cow and Linchpin, and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Seth speak. That’s the golden ticket. I heard his voice in Linchpin and it made a lot more sense. In person, he’s incredibly funny and a great story teller. I will be seeing him again next week in Orange County (squee!).

    A couple of my favorite people are Tom Asacker and Scott Stratten. I could talk to Tom for hours. His blog, http://www.acleareye.com, is wonderful. He, too, looks at life from a different lense and it makes you want to try new things and expand your thinking. His new book is Opportunity Screams. Check it out.

    And Scott, aka @UnMarketing, is hilarious and brilliant. I had the chance to hear him speak a few months ago and he was amazing. Simple concepts, but so much what we need to hear. His UnMarketing blog is great.

    Enjoy!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Yes, Scott is up to some great stuff – I’m not familiar with Tom so I’ll have to check him out!

  • Graham Phoenix Reply

    Think slow… Write fast… Publish and be damned.

  • Tim Reply

    I agree with you about Seth and his ability to say so much with so few words. If I had to put a finger on my man crush it would have to be Matt Damon. Why? He’s a pretty good actor, but I think I really love the choices he makes as an actor – the movies and the roles. He’s also pretty smart and just seems like the type of guy I’d sit down and have a few beers with. And he seems to have his stuff together. Thanks for some great insight in this post.

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