Seth Godin and Clear Thinking

Tim Ferriss's interview of Seth Godin was stunning. It made me feel the way I did at my first TED conference, at 16 in Monterey - "Why didn't anyone tell me that it was okay to think this way?" Seth thinks about the world, his mission and his choices with a clarity that was startling.

I fired up this podcast during a long walk to the Alpine Modern cafe in Boulder, expecting Tim's usual mildly interesting breakdown of his guest's habits. The interview starts a little mechanically, but Seth takes over after about twenty minutes and those wide-eyed, holy-fuck "where is my PEN" moments start flowing.

Some things that got to me:

  • Seth turned down a MASSIVE job offer in the late 90's with a billion (!) in stock options because accepting it would make him the kind of person who said yes to jobs like that. Hell yes. Most of us have enough money, and the only reason to take a job should be that you love the work and believe in the mission. (And if you don't feel like you have options, go read "So Good they Can't Ignore You" by Cal Newport and get after it.)
  • A slew of book recommendations that you can find in the podcast's show notes.
  • An amazing, impromptu seminar on how to make the best chocolate in the world
  • A great reminder of how if you were lucky enough to read Snow Crash before the internet or the Diamond Age before the iPad and Kindle, you were catapulted forward in time. That's what science fiction is all about. You can't un-see what those books show you.
  • the belief that people, habits and skills are almost always made, not born.

The interview reminded me of A Guide to the Good Life, William Irvine's overview of Stoic philosophy. Bill makes a strong case that you should develop a "philosophy of life" that you can use to guide your life's choices. Seth's dedicated his life to making a certain kind of change in the world, and we're all benefitting from the purpose and drive that his philosophy gives him.

Seth's latest book is called What To Do When It's Your Turn I've just ordered a copy. It comes with a free copy to give away, so let me know if you want it and I'll mail it to you. Do that or buy the book, then go read his incredible blog while you wait for it to show up.


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