In 2013, Godin was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame.
We shared a coffee in a Starbucks on the Upper West Side.
I had read and loved his book Purple Cow – and contacted every person I knew who knew Seth in an attempt to meet up.
During this coffee Seth said a few things which stayed with me for all these years.
He mentioned that a book’s message should be simple enough that it could be explained at a cocktail party.
Because a lot of a book’s success is word of mouth. And people need to feel confident that they can accurately and entertainingly explain a book to other people (without getting tripped up) for them to want to talk about a book to others.
For the same reasons, Seth also said a book’s message should be simple enough that a 6 year old child could explain it.
Here’s some of what we discussed.
What are 1 or 2 books you’ve read – or listened to as an audiobook – which you’ve benefited greatly from?
The War of Art, Steve Pressfield. He explains, in a passionate and simple way, why we’re afraid and what to do about it. (Hint: We’re all afraid, at least when we’re doing important work.
Just Kids, Patti Smith, in audiobook format: The most poignant, powerful audiobook I’ve ever heard. It’ll help you feel even more alive…
Which books have you enjoyed reading/listening to more than once?
I regularly relisten to the works of Pema Chodron, Zig Ziglar, Ben Zander (art of possibility)… and the podcasts of Krista Tippett and Brian Koppelman. I also re-read Gary Larson (!) but that doesn’t really count.
During our coffee I also remember you told me that a lot of your beginning success as an author (a few decades ago) was due to doing a lot of public speaking. In today’s high tech world, what are your views on the power of public speaking?
Let’s see: You gain clarity in your thoughts. You learn how to sell. You gain confidence in front of strangers. And you earn trust. Sounds like it’s worth the journey.
What are some tips and philosophies for morphing from “wantrepreneur” to “entrepreneur”?
Well, this is easy: Begin. Merely begin. Sell stuff on ebay. Start a lemonade stand. Buy low and sell high. Hint: You need to figure out if you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur.
You’re very productive and prolific. What are some of your dietary tips and scheduling and organizational routines which give you the energy and ability to be so damn productive and prolific?
Tips don’t matter. Don’t look for tips, don’t look for shortcuts. Merely do the work.
You’ve been quoted as saying “The lessons we remember are the lessons we learn the hard way.” What’s a lesson you’ve learned on how to be happier in life that you’d like to pass on to my readers?
The single best way for someone who has met their basic physical needs to become happier is this:
Redefine the current situation.
What is happening right here and right now is filled with possibility. Define your response to that moment as, “happiness.”
Check out Seth Godin’s blog here!