Book review: Linchpin by Seth Godin


In this blog post I am going to review a book “Linchpin” that I completed reading in January 2012.

One of the key take-away for me from the book was: Inside an organization, take “initiatives” without hoping for rewards. That translates to: If you see a problem in an organization, take an initiative to solve it without hoping to get rewarded for solving the problem. Other take-away for me was the idea that Linchpin is more about the mind-set rather than the skill-set that you may have. Author, I believe, does not state this in direct words but he does have a chapter in which he walks through the characteristics that one can acquire and become a Linchpin. And the benefit of being a Linchpin is that you are indispensable in this new economy. To this end, Here are few characteristics of a Linchpin worth pointing out:

  • Linchpins are good at making connections. They are a “glue” that holds the organization together.
  • Linchpins understand the power of giving gifts. They understand that – more they give, more they’ll receive.
  • Linchpins do not “strive” to fit in. They are comfortable with the unique talent that they know they own.
  • Linchpins are passionate PLUS they are NOT attached to their own viewpoint of the world. They see the world as it is.
  • Linchpins do not need a “Manual” of what they should do. They are good at figuring out path/solution on their own. (Do NOT translate it to “Asking for help is bad”)

I liked reading about this new concept of being a “Linchpin” as it exposed me to few ideas of becoming indispensable that I believe would help me advance my career. And I can’t wait to work on acquiring the characteristics that were described in the book.

Side-note: I liked it that Seth Godin, the author of this book, began by describing why he thinks the new economy is best suited for Linchpins. If you have read first couple of chapters then it’s hard to put the book down.

Conclusion: So if you are part of an organization (and you aim to advance your career) – Give this book a shot. It does NOT tell you “what” to do; After all Linchpins do not need “instructions”, right? But the book does share some key ideas that would help you advance in your career.

BTW, I like reading books; Here’s the list of the books that i have read so far:

Want to read more? Here are few book reviews i have written:

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49 thoughts on “Book review: Linchpin by Seth Godin

  1. As a newly self-employed freelance writer, all I can say is: I wish this book had come out while I was still struggling in the corporate world. It may have provided some “linchpin” inspiration!

    However, I’m loving the autonomy and freedom inherent to self employment, so I guess I can’t complain.

    Seth Godin is pretty much a genius. ‘Nuff said.

    Interesting review — now I’m off to check out the other books you’re reading for ideas!

  2. Playing devil’s advocate…I’d suggest possibly that being a linchpin is about ‘attitude’ (and therefore maybe a trait rather than a skill that can be learnt?). I read the book and discovered most of what I was reading I already did instinctively whilst working at an organisation – but still a good read and I’d recommend. Now self-employed and a blogger, I personally found The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield to be mind-blowing stuff. I’d read a line and then re-read it to let it sink in.
    Ditto Mikalee above – Seth’s a genius ‘Nuff said’.
    ps – one of the best books on ‘attitude’ I’ve ever read was ‘The magic of thinking big’ David J Schwartz. Written I believe in the 60’s or 70’s but so relevant even today. Now there’s a book I wish I’d read as a teenager.

    • Yes, you are right! Linchpin is more about “attitude”. You echo my thoughts that i have captured in the review, Quoting it here “Other take-away for me was the idea that Linchpin is more about the mind-set rather than the skill-set that you may have”. And Thanks for suggesting couple of titles. I really like it when i get suggestions on what to read next and i appreciate you sharing the titles that you love!

      One book that’s “old” but relevant today is “How to win friends and influence people”. I have the same feeling for this book as you have for “The magic of thinking big”.

      Again, Thanks for sharing the titles. And Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Scott Wagner

    Paras, based on your review and subsequent comments, I think you might also enjoy and take away some insights from another of Seth’s books called Tribes….you may want to check it out. Like most of his books, it’s a fairly quick read, full of stories and examples and entertaining, as well.

  4. Nice review, i will read the book soon …
    So I guess “Linchpins” are actually “Contributors” who give their best to the organizations rising above their selfish motives !
    right ??

  5. brianschwantner

    Does anyone on the thread think they have personal experience as a “Linchpin”? If so share I think the group would benefit from hearing about it.

      • If you write for companies and bunssesies, you can specialize based on your services, such as speechwriting or corporate histories. You can also specialize based on your experience in writing about an industry, such as healthcare or real estate. As a specialist, you can build a brand, land clients, and charge higher rates.

  6. I’ve never been disappointed with a Godin book. They’re always equal parts informative and entertaining. I recommend All Marketers Are Liars (also by SG) if you’re up for another good read.

  7. Linchipins are mobile in small and larger organizations plus engender respect along the way.

    However the “indispensable” characteristic of them is fine as long as they want this role of being “indispensable” if they want to stay in the organization forever in the same role. And might end up a bit confined /viewed in a way that limits them long term. Nothing wrong with that, because it can reduce stress for the person.

  8. While it is true that making an improvement on /anything/ is a matter of attitude than it is of skill or talent, you still have to strive for such a goal while treading carefully and avoiding problems with, say, people you might be pushing aside or even trampling inadvertently.

    Case in point, a very successful and efficient manager at my job finally got a transfer out of town after her efforts wound up angering our boss. It turns out that while being a linchpin she had started overstepping the boundaries of her responsibilities and basically nosing into the job of upper administrative figures. So when you get into this work ethic you can’t be careless like that.

    Still, great review!

    • Thanks Joe!

      You bring out a point that honestly I had not thought about and so i appreciate you took time to share the experience – Helps me, and i am sure it’ll help others too! Thanks..

  9. Nice review! I just read, reviewed Linchpin as well. I consider Godin a genius, as best i can tell and I think this book is going to be my “gateway” to several others of his. What I liked best was the fact that the linchpin doesn’t need a roadmap, and that what they give is a gift. I saw a negative review on Forbes, the writer critiqued Godin by saying that the linchpin concept perpetuates indispensability at the cost of the safety of the organization — making the organization kind of hostage to this one, indispensable player. I don’t think they got the point, the ultimate goal would be to have a lot of linchpins — and all linchpins by nature are generous and open to others, so its not a matter of them hoarding their knowledge. Anyway, cheers and thanks!

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