Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Book Review : Tribes

Book : Tribes
Author : Seth Godin
Publisher : Hachette India

Price : Rs 375

Book Review #7

Tribes is one of the best books I have read in recent times. This book from the marketing guru Seth Godin is inspiring and insightful. It is a book with contains simple truths of leadership in the current era.

Tribes, as the term denotes, is a book on leadership. In the first page itself, the author cites the example of an ordinary person like Joel Spolsky who created a tribe of its own through the careful use of blogs , books and conferences.

Seth Godin defines Tribes as a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, connected to an idea. He argues that in this era , any one can create and lead a tribe. The penetration and popularity of internet has opened a unique opportunity for anyone to create and lead .

The book is also refreshingly different. The book does not have chapters. It is a collection of insights and anecdotes that will stir you to think about this opportunity.
According to Seth, the concept of leadership has changed . While the traditional leadership concept is built around power, the new age leadership is built around idea and passion and ability to tell stories that inspire. The election of Obama as the President of United States is the classic case that shows the power of ideas and passion.

Seth also wisely identifies the powerful inhibition that pulls back ordinary people like me and you from becoming leaders. It is FEAR. He paraphrases Peter's Principle as " In every organization, everyone rises to the level at which they become paralyzed by fear.. How True...

Internet has made boundaries irrelevant. If you are connected, then world will become your playground . With social networks like Youtube , Facebook , Twitter etc, it has become easy for us to spread our thoughts and become a leader.

But creating and leading a tribe is not an easy task. The leader should be able to clearly and passionately advocate his ideas . The leader should be able to devote his time in nurturing and monitoring the Tribe.
Towards the end of the book , the author tells that building and leading a tribe is more of an obligation rather than an opportunity. He says " To have all these advantages , all this momentum, all these opportunities and then settle for mediocre and then defend the status quo and then worry about corporate politics - What a waste"
He then says
' I think we have an obligation to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game , and to play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible".

Tribes is a must read for all of us . It is simple and tells you the obvious. But often ,most of us fail to see the obvious. That is the tragedy.