My boss recently gave me a copy of Tribes by Seth Godin. Considering how excited I was to do some "assigned" reading in the summer months, I was a little reluctant to crack this book open. Now that I've finished though, I'm sure glad I did.
Tribes is short, relevant, and to the point. Most of the "chapters" are a few paragraphs long, with some being as short as a few sentences. English majors would surely rip this book apart, but as one of the major themes of the book suggests, it's OK to be a heretic.
Seth's take on the current state of the business world is spot-on. He knows that most people despise the workplace hierarchy, having six different bosses to yell at you, and the overall feeling of never really accomplishing anything. Seth understands that people want to break free, want to be pushed to the best of their abilities, and want to be a part of something truly unique.
This is what Tribes is all about – not being afraid of challenging the status quo. We all feel the need to break away, but it's up to you to actually do it and, more importantly, to inspire those around you to do the same. You have the power to assemble a group of people into a force to be reckoned with. I think the picture below sums up very nicely how Godin imagines most people think not only of the workplace, but also of life in general.
Although he's short on the details of how exactly to go about breaking the rules and starting your own tribe, Seth does provide some of his own recollections centered around challenging the typical way of thinking and embarking on your own path. He talks about all the new lines of communication the internet has created and how to use these new tools to help build and support your tribe. One of the most interesting parts of the book are the short case studies about small tribes and their dedicated leaders. These tribes started as nothing more than ideas, but with support and commitment and passion these ideas blossomed and eventually changed the world (at least a little bit).
More importantly than ever, the world needs leaders who are ready to push the envelope and embrace change. No time is better than now to make things happen rather than waiting for them to happen. As Seth puts it, "We need you to lead us."