Tag Archives: Seth Godin

What’s On Your Summer Reading List?

16 Aug

There’s nothing like summer to catch up on our reading. And there’s no better time to reflect on the state of books. To that point, this week Seth Godin’s admonitory post, An End of Books, riled our sensibilities and our core emotions. In it he states, “Books, those bound paper documents, are part of an ecosystem, one that was perfect, and one that is dying, quickly.” Then he evaluates these endangered species: bookstore, library, publisher, our book shelves, and even the Pavlovian response of our reading process (!). But he ends on a hopeful note of reinvention. Thankfully. Because I love to read. I love the feel of a book, the turn of a page, and the thrill of discovery.

Books.snoopySo, it’s summer. We can take the plunge into that pile we’ve been building for just this moment. I’m starting with my favorite author’s latest, Daniel Silva’s The English Girl. Gabriel Allon, master art restorer plus Mossad assassin equals #1 bestseller. Then it’s on to Khaled Hosseini’s And The Mountains Echoed, The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, I mean J.K. Rowling, and The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, hailed as this summer’s must read, much as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was last year. And what a great read that was!

The rest of my summer reading includes Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews, Lexicon by Max Barry, and Brad Thor’s latest thriller, Hidden Order. He’s always topical and always action-packed. And the urban drama, Ivy Pachoda’s Visitation Street, is said to recall another fave author, Richard Price. In that case, I’m into it.

I’m really looking forward to getting into Roots drummer and Jimmy Fallon’s bandleader, Questlove’s memoir, Mo’ Meta Blues and to learning much more in Harry Nilsson: The Life of a Singer-Songwriter by Alyn Shipton.

Still to come is Roy Peter Clark’s next glamorous book on grammar, How to Write Short, out August 27, Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep in September, and Jo Nesbo’s next Harry Hole thriller, Police, in October.

Last but not least, The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think by Brian Hare will remind me who’s really the smart one around here.

I order a lot of my books from the Public Library. You can also check out Amazon’s Best Sellers of 2013 and the weekly NY Times Sunday Book Review.

Now it’s time for me to stop writing and start reading. What are you reading this summer?


Seth Godin’s quote: Seth’s Blog, August 15, 2013
Pic: Charles Schultz

Seth Godin’s Got a Point. Doing Marketing? Get It Right!

12 Aug

A Seth Godin blog post about marketing – marketing gone bad – not only resonated with me at the time I read it, it stayed with me. I want to share it with you.

First, why did it resonate with me? It was because of two recent conversations. The first was with an actor who told me that he understands my challenges because he’s “been marketing [himself] his whole career.” Well, that’s not so. My retort left unsaid was, “No, what you’ve been doing is trying to sell yourself.” Using the tools of his profession in the way it’s always been done. Sending postcards and head shots, posting projects and appearances. And that’s just not the same thing. When you have strategy and planning – with the know-how! – well, that’s marketing.

The second example was with a new client. After I outlined such a marketing strategy – with the basics and supplemented with thoughtful ideas to generate new audiences – she told me that she had already done all those basics. Meaning, she was set. But that’s just the beginning. Those basics must then do the work they’re supposed to do. That will involve refining each of those tactics. Getting them right so that they will reach your target. Getting them right so that the target will know what action to take. Getting them right so that your message is delivered.

Marketing and strategyIn both these examples, they’re not getting the results they desire. Why? Because it’s not enough to do the basics, it’s not enough to go through the motions. Marketing is not just a word to bandy around. It’s not something anyone just knows how to do. It took me many years of working with colleagues and clients. Of doing it again and again. Many clients from diverse worlds – music, the arts, corporations, tech products, luxury brands, nonprofits. A gamut of interesting projects. Different targets, but with similar goals. Promote the product, bring in the audience, get new customers, make them loyal. I can do that. Effectively. The magic word. It’s what I do. I also know where my experience doesn’t live. That would be acting, for one, and running a school for another. I’ve honed my strengths and love to share them.

So, Seth Godin’s treatise resonated with me. Everyone isn’t a marketer. Notice what isn’t working. And get help – from a pro. Hey, I do!

Seth Godin’s Blog Post

More people are doing marketing badly…
than any other profession I can imagine. What an opportunity…

If we were building bridges this badly, the safety of our nation would be in doubt.

The local sub shop makes a fine sub, but has a dumb name, a typo in its sign, no attention paid to customer service and on and on. Same for the big hospital down the street and the politician you wish would get a clue.

There are three reasons for this:

1. Everyone is a marketer, so there’s a lot more of it being done.
2. Most people who do marketing are actually good at doing something else (like making subs) and they’re merely making this up as they go along.
3. There’s no standards manual, no easy way to check your work. Without a rule book, it’s hard to follow the rules. (For the innovators and creators out there, this is great news, of course.)

The cure? Noticing. Notice what is working in the real world and try to figure out why. Apply it to your work. Repeat. Learn to see, to discern the difference between good and bad, between useful and merely comfortable. And after you learn, speak up. Noticing doesn’t work if you don’t care and if you don’t take action.


Posted by Seth Godin on July 18, 2013

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