Tribes – Seth Godin Book Summary

Tribes – Seth Godin | Free Book Summary

Tribes – Seth Godin

A fresh look at Leadership and how to manage change.

Doing Nothing At All

Not all leadership involves getting in the face of the tribe. It takes just as much effort to successfully get out of the way. Effective leadership does not work by inciting, but by enabling others to fill the vacuum.

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The one path that never works is the most common one: doing nothing at all.


A leader who backs off is making a commitment to the power of the tribe and is alert to the right moment to step back in. Someone who is doing nothing is merely hiding.

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Leadership is a choice. It’s the choice to not do nothing. Lean in, back off, but don’t do nothing.

Being Curious

Curious is the key word. It has to do with a desire to understand, a desire to try, and a desire to push whatever envelope is interesting. Leaders are curious because they can’t wait to find out what the group is going to do next. The changes in the tribe are what are interesting, and curiosity drives them.

In order to lead a tribe, all you need to do is motivate the people who choose to follow you.

Less Followers Is Good

Imagine two classrooms with similar teachers. One has 15 students, the other, 32. Which group gets a better education? The smaller class – because the teacher has more time to spend customizing the lesson to each student. She has fewer students, hence fewer disruptions as well.

Great leaders don’t try to please everyone.

Great leaders don’t water down their message in order to make the tribe a bit bigger.

Instead, they realize that a motivated, connected tribe in the midst of a movement is far more powerful than a larger group could ever be.

The Religions In Our Lives

There are countless religions in our lives.

The religion of Broadway determines what a musical is supposed to look and feel like.

The religion of the MBA standard curriculum and perceptions of what is successful.


Religion gives our faith a little support when it needs it.

Religion at its best is a sort of mantra, a subtle but consistent reminder that belief is OK, and that faith is the way to get where you’re going.

Religion at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith.

Leadership is A Sleath Attack

Leadership almost always involves thinking and acting like the underdog. That’s because leaders work to change things, and the people who are winning rarely do.

Leaders go first.

initiating: seeing something others are ignoring and jumping on it.

cause the events that others have to react to.

Make change.

Not Being Afraid Of Change

Everyone believes that what they’ve got is probably better than the risk and fear that come with change.

At first, the new thing is rarely as good as the old thing was.

If you need the alternative to be better than the status quo from the very start, you’ll never begin.

Soon enough, the new thing will be better than the old thing. But if you wait until then, it’s going to be too late.

When you hire amazing people and give them freedom, they do amazing stuff.

The Key Elements Of Micro-Movement

1. Publish a manifesto.

Give it away and make it easy for the manifesto to spread far and wide. It doesn’t have to be printed or even written.

2. Make it easy for your followers to connect with you.

3. Make it easy for your followers to connect with one another. There’s that little nod that one restaurant regular gives to another recognized regular.

4. Realize that money is not the point of a movement.

5. Track your progress.

The Principles Of A Tribe Movement

1. Transparency really is your only option.

2. Your movement needs to be bigger than you.

3. Movements that grow and thrive

4. Movements are most clearly understood when compared to the status quo or to movements that work to push in the opposite direction.

5. Exclude outsiders.

6. Tearing others down is never as helpful to a movement as building your followers up.

A Bigger, Faster, Cheaper Tribe

It’s OK to abandon the big, established, stuck tribe.


You can build a bigger, faster, cheaper tribe than you used to be able to. Transaction costs are falling while the costs of formal organizations (offices, benefits, management) keep increasing.

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