Seth Godin Interview: Innovative Marketing and Finding Happiness

Seth Godin Interview: Innovative Marketing and Finding Happiness

Seth Godin a massively successful entrepreneur and best selling author who loves to write about how ideas spread, innovative marketing, good leadership, strategic quitting, and the importance of challenging the status quo. In 2013, Godin was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame.  

His blog is not only one of my favorites – it’s one of the most popular blogs in the world. Some of Seth‘s many companies he founded include Yoyodyne and Squidoo. Recently, Seth has gotten known for shaking up the world of book publishing by launching a series of four books via Kickstarter. The campaign reached its goal in only 3 quick hours, thereby becoming the most successful book project in Kickstarter history.

Seth – I still warmly remember the first time I met you. It was over a coffee I shared with you in a Starbucks in 2006 on the Upper West Side.

I had read and loved your book Purple Cow –  and contacted every person I knew who knew you in an attempt to meet up with you. 

During this coffee you said a few things which stayed with me for all these years.

You 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.

You said a book’s message should be simple enough that a 6 year old child could explain it. Which brings me to my first question…

books karen salmansohn interview seth godin

What are 1 or 2 books you’ve read – or listened to as an audiobook – which you’ve benefited greatly from – and can you give me the 6 year old child’s summary of the book’s content?

Seth Godin:

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?

Seth Godin:

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.

key to success karen salmansohn

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?

Seth Godin:

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.

karen salmansohn wuss dreams

What are some tips and philosophies for morphing from “wantrepreneur” to “entrepreneur”?

Seth Godin:

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?

Seth Godin:

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?

Seth Godin:

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!

Featured image by Steve Jurvetson

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Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.

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