I just finished reading your new book Tribes. Normally when I read a book that relates to the Dark Matter Matters subjects (and Tribes talks about leadership and community and all kinds of good stuff), I write a review and post it here. I’m not going to do that this time. I think the reviews on Amazon pretty well cover it, so I’ll just point people there.
Seth, I have something a bit more personal I’d like to discuss with you. If I may be so bold.
But, honestly, I always get this weird, hollow feeling after reading a book of yours. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I finished this one.
OK, let me just spit it out. I think your books can be kind of superficial and tend to preach to the choir a lot.
There. I said it. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be a hater.
You even call out haters in this book. Said that you shouldn’t let people like that get you down. So please don’t get down, like I said, I really respect your work, it’s just I think you might be limiting your audience. You could be bigger.
So in the hope that I’m being a heretic (in the way you talk about in the book), rather than a hater, I’d humbly suggest some constructive ideas.
Seth, I’d like you to write a book that will do more than rally the tribe that thinks like you. I think you have a book in you that will educate those that don’t think like you. They need your help.
Are you familiar with the work of Roger Martin from the University of Toronto? Dr. Martin showed a slide at a conference once that has always stuck in my mind. I hope he doesn’t mind that I included it below.
This slide really changed the way I think about things. Basically, what Dr. Martin said is that business-minded people measure success in terms of reliability (heavy reliance on data and replicable outcomes) and creative-minded people measure success in terms of validity (i.e. did we do the “right thing”, what great thing could we do?).
And according to Dr. Martin, the world is pretty polarized– most people are in the left hump or they are in the right hump. But there is this small group of people in the middle who have it figured out… they can translate into both the language of reliability and the language of validity. I personally am desperately trying to make my way from the right nearer to the middle. Which is part of the point of this blog– figuring out how to measure the “dark matter” of brand, culture, and community. So we can get some of them left-humpers in our camp.
After reading some other reviews of your books on Amazon, I’m pretty sure most of the one-star reviews you get are from people who speak the language of reliability. They view your books as shallow… a bunch of disjointed stories with little data backing them up.
But you get great reviews from the people who speak the language of validity. They read your work and they say, “preach it, brother and preach it loud!”
I know in Tribes you say “who isn’t in your movement matters almost as much as who is,” but I think if you really tried to reach across the void, you could write a book that appealed to both audiences. Expand the tribe a bit.
Anyway, I’m sorry again if I am being a hater. But if you wrote your next book not for the people who love what you say, but for the people who hate what you say, I think it would be awesome. I hope you are having a good day. You seem like a pretty cool guy.