Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? [NOOK Book]


"The only way to get what you're worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about."

In bestsellers such as Purple Cow and Tribes, Seth Godin taught readers how to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas. But this book is different. It's about you - your ...
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Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

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"The only way to get what you're worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about."

In bestsellers such as Purple Cow and Tribes, Seth Godin taught readers how to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas. But this book is different. It's about you - your choices, your future, and your potential to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose.

There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there's a third team, the linchpins. These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They figure out what to do when there's no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.

Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. Like the small piece of hardware that keeps a wheel from falling off its axle, they may not be famous but they're indispensable. And in today's world, they get the best jobs and the most freedom.

Have you ever found a shortcut that others missed? Seen a new way to resolve a conflict? Made a connection with someone others couldn't reach? Even once? Then you have what it takes to become indispensable, by overcoming the resistance that holds people back. Linchpin will show you how to join the likes of...

*Keith Johnson, who scours flea markets across the country to fill Anthropologie stores with unique pieces.
*Marissa Mayer, who keeps Google focused on the things that really matter.
*Jason Zimdars, a graphic designer who got his dream job at 37signals without a résumé.
*David, who works at Dean and Deluca coffeeshop in New York. He sees every customer interaction as a chance to give a gift and is cherished in return.

As Godin writes, "Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It's time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must."
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In these difficult times, what does it take for an employee—or a manager, or a CEO—to be truly indispensable to an organization? Here, Godin (, author of the BusinessWeek best seller The Dip (2007), lays out a plan to help readers/listeners navigate their own route toward greatness, instructing them on how to make more meaningful contributions and forge stronger connections both at work and in their personal lives. No matter if you are in the production line or in the front office, Godin believes you can improve your position by assuming the indispensable role of "linchpin" within your organization. Godin himself reads, passionate but occasionally strident as he makes his case. For business, personal motivation, and self-help collections.—J. Sara Paulk, Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Cty. Lib., GA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101196311
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/26/2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 74,239
  • File size: 624 KB

Meet the Author

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, a sought-after lecturer, a monthly columnist for Fast Company, and an all-around business gadfly. He’s the bestselling author of Permission Marketing, Unleashing the Ideavirus, The Big Red Fez, Survival Is Not Enough, and Purple Cow.
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition ix

Introduction 1

The New World of Work 7

Thinking About Your Choice 28

Indoctrination: How We Got Here 39

Becoming the Linchpin 49

Is It Possible to Do Hard Work in a Cubicle? 80

The Resistance 101

The Powerful Culture of Gifts 150

There Is No Map 174

Making the Choice 189

The Culture of Connection 210

The Seven Abilities of the Linchpin 218

When It Doesn't Work 225

Summary 231

Acknowledgments 237

Bibliography 238

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 109 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 112 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 20, 2010

    The world is changing are you changing to meet it?

    This is the basic premise of the new book by Seth Godin - "Linchpin - Are You Indispensable?" I have to admit that this book took longer to read for me than what I thought it would. It is not an overly complex book in layout or form but for me it struck close to home on many topics that I have had to work through over the past several years. So I found myself reviewing sections and comparing with past experiences.

    Mr. Godin describes what it takes to become a linchpin in your current job or if that just isn't possible how to make changes in your life so you can become one. A linchpin is an individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create and make things happen. He describes that the constant resistance to achieving this status in your company or in your life is our biological desire to survive which prevents us from taking risks. The current machine also inhibits this by educating you to follow processes and procedures that are meant to make you a replaceable cog in the industrial framework that we live in today.

    So are you indispensable? If you believe you are, make certain you fit the model described in this book. If you have never thought about it before, are struggling with the changes that are taking place in the work place, or feel you have lost control of your career then stop everything and read this book.

    What Mr. Godin provides is a clear description of where the world has ventured and for anyone who wishes to participate he gives them the new rules of engagement.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2013

    I read LINCHPIN and couldn't put it down and read it again month

    I read LINCHPIN and couldn't put it down and read it again months later armed with a highlighter.

    One of the key themes resonating the pages is the continuum of where average comes from, the attitudes of success, and the NOW moment for reclaiming the indispensability that has been thrown to the wayside in exchange for cogs, for parts, for industrialization and dehumanization.

    The Quadrants of Discernment that Seth maps out are one of those short pause and study moments. It's a tempting place to think of where people in your life fit in here, but if you take an honest inventory of yourself, you may find that fundamentalist zealot, whiner, bureaucrat, and linchpin tendencies come to mind. The idea here is that the linchpin really stands to be mutually exclusive and carries the traits of passion and discernment and dumps the rest.

    The "When It Doesn't Work" section gives the reader valuable ways to think through this problem. "My Boss Won't Let Me" is, perhaps, placed into the bread slicer and most of that loaf gets toasted. Do art and don't get caught up in monetization. The contrast of the influence Renzo the architect has in doing his craft and real tactics you can use when you're not a big name.

    Study the venn of indispensability and the venn of surrender-- it could be a fork in the road calling you to travel the straits of surrender with the same old scenery or travel the terrain of indispensability with the artists' cycle of continuous giving and not being a cog.

    One could use words like common knowledge or cheerleader manual to describe the book and so choose to occupy the quadrants of fundamentalist zealot and whiner. They travel the straights of surrender with a small canvas and two colors of paint, black and white. Where there is a group of them, there you will find the bureaucrat, keeping the passivity in order.

    Make and Give Art, Learn, Make More. Give it to the above mentioned. Try and fail because you have the right to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    The Emperor Has No Clothes

    This is a one idea book - - one that is fairly common knowledge these days, the rest is ridiculous half truths, bad logic, and bombast.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Rich though rambling guide on how to become indispensable at work

    Warning: If you absorb all business blogger Seth Godin's advice, you could end up overworked and underappreciated. Godin's antidote to mediocrity and conformity is so effective and convincing that it may have the unintended consequence of making you the go-to person for your whole organization. Godin stipulates that everyone faces a choice: An individual can choose to live day after day, year after year, languidly going through the motions, doing work that is devoid of excitement and imagination. Or, he or she can choose a path that promotes uniqueness and ingenuity by becoming a "linchpin," an invaluable, indispensable employee, the center of all a company's activities. Godin declares that if you believe in yourself and your potential for greatness, kindle the creative spark within, embrace risk and seek the good in others, you can become an influential linchpin. Although Godin writes in his signature rambling style, which some readers may find distracting, getAbstract applauds this unique, absorbing business book, whose reach extends far beyond the conference room. The author has done his part; your path is up to you. Proceed with caution - even being a linchpin has its hazards.

    To learn more about this book, check out the following web page:

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A must read for understanding the Achilles heel of work and life.

    Those of us who have followed Seth Godin have found fulfillment and enlightenment in what we do. Seth's new book is remarkable. It opens our minds - helps us to understand the Achilles heel of work and life.

    It should be classified as business, philosophy, self-help and a must read for those open to creating a better business and life environment. Just imagine if Linchpin was required reading for every 9th grader. Just imagine how it will change each of their lives and create a better future.

    Meanwhile those wanting fulfillment in what they do will understand Seth's concern that "Most feel the fear and react to it." Embrace his mantra of "Just acknowledge it and then proceed." Seth wants us to "lean into the fear". He says, don't respond and don't react, lean hard and make a difference by initiating. Great things happen when we conquer fear to create art and when we believe in the power of interaction.

    I was fortunate to receive an advance copy and have read Linchpin through once and the adrenaline is high - I'm rereading to internalize. As the book says, "Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient." Thanks Seth for your art. Your gift of insight will spread as we all learn the power of art, interaction, gifting and the importance of "shipping,"

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Feel stuck at work? This will free you.

    Seth does incredible job of unpacking the way we look at work because of our education and our culture.

    What an incredible call to action to seek the hard and more rewarding road to great work!

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    read the cliff notes version

    Seth Godin's Lynchpin would be better as an article. He spends much of his time in over-development. There are helpful and truthful moments but as I read this book, it reminds me of a politician who overstates his cause in hopes of dispensing with the reality of discussing other variables that make up work place performance and outcome.

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  • Posted February 13, 2011

    Great insight and examples of how YOU can make a difference.

    Seth Godin contiues to bring practicality to the workplace. This book continues down the sane path as his The Dip abd Purple Cow books; but takes it to a new level of personal ownership. Easy read....,well worth the moeny and read time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2010



    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Free the artist and ditch the lizard brain mentality.

    I first heard of Seth Godin as a guest through a subscribed podcast. I was intrigued by his philosophies and sought out this book to look into it further. I'm so glad I did. Though some may say the message carried out is fundamental or nothing new, Mr. Godin reinforces it through metaphors and illustrations that help absorb and retain the message. It's easy to get caught up in the work "machine" and to simply be a "cog". This book brings some enlightenment and helps spark the creativity inside you to think about doing what you want to really do, to contribute simply, and most importantly, to "ship" ultimately. He tells of the message and decision that ultimately lies within us and to reach for it and run with it. It can make you indispensable in the "art" you contribute.

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  • Posted July 15, 2010

    Godin gets it right with Linchpin

    Seth Godin is on a mission to free people from the false implied contract current leadership boxes them into. In this, he is exactly right.

    How has the nature of work changed? What has happened to the implied agreement where workers do what they are told and are protected from the difficult work of thinking? Finally, what are WE to do?

    Godin dives into these meaty questions with a seasoned perspective that both clarifies and sounds a call to action.

    Godin's book is directed to the individual, to the person frustrated by the current state of affairs. It could just as easily be directed to the "bosses," those people who are using a leadership structure that is living on borrowed time, who are ham-stringing their employees and causing significant costs in terms of employee turn-off and lack of intellectual commitment. Gallup estimated that employee dis-engagement costs American businesses $300 billion a year.

    It is a timely book and we add Seth Godin to those business thinkers who recognize the current leader-follower arrangement just isn't working, and are calling for changes.

    We take Godin's point one step further. We do not believe a patch on the current leader-follower leadership structure will solve the problem; the better way to think of it is that it is the leader-follower structure itself that is the problem. Instead, replace leader-follower with leader-leader, rejecting the notion that we should put anyone into a follower role!

    Let's not lose the best of our intellectual capability by putting people into follower roles.

    My name is David Marquet, from Practicum, Inc and we help our customers get everyone be a leader and avoid casting employees into follower roles. To continue the dialogue respond to or follow our blog or follow us on twitter.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2010

    Don't bother

    If you don't know this stuff already, maybe this wouldn't seem like repetitive sensible information. But to me, it was like reading a cheerleader manual ... rah rah rah, you can do it, repeat ad nauseum.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Want Success? Read This Book!

    Listen. When you read this book, chances are real good that your paradigm will shift.IN A BIG WAY! You see, the way things used to be.well, those days are gone. You are in control of wherever you are. Seth writes how you have a choice to make. You can go through life being a rule follower. But don't be surprised when you aren't making a lot of money or going anywhere. can be a linchpin! If you aren't a linchpin now, Seth tells you how you can be one. It's YOUR CHOICE. Seth will guide you.but only you can make that decision. If this book doesn't change your life.either there is something wrong with you.or you just don't want to succeed! Which is it?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2010

    Very Exciting Read

    Seth Godin's books have always been truly compelling. His creativity is the driving force behind the majority of his work, and his sense of perspective is impeccable. With Linchpin, he takes on the task of (zealous) motivational expert, without all of the nauseating baloney. Furthermore, read this book to discover why I use the term zealous with extreme caution.
    Although, finding the book extremely entertaining, I found the actual utility of the book to be limited, in a sense that, the optimism surpasses the reader's power to implement such radical methods. His encouraging methods and ideas cannot function as gracefully in most real time environments without relentless effort.
    Overall it is a very entertaining book with many innovative real-time references and interesting examples.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This will be one of the most important books you will ever read.

    This book both disturbs and inspires. It uncovers at its very core the reason most of us will think grand thoughts and dream great dreams, and then, consciously or subconsciously, sabotage them (or never start moving towards them at all.)

    It is disturbing because in understanding the reason we don't act (or, "ship"), we have no more excuses, and nowhere to hide.

    And it inspires: because once you read this, and understand, you are released to do what you always (deep down, no matter how many times you or someone else poo-pooed you) knew you could and should do!

    Linchpin is beautifully and simply written, and for me it was over too soon as I finished, I had to read it again. I simply cannot recommend this book strongly enough to those who need the inspiration to do all those things they know they can do, and then do them greatly!

    But don't expect a map from's not a "how", but a "why," a "who" (YOU) and a "when" (NOW.) You need this book. And when you go to buy it, buy one for each of your friends, too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Make me a Linchpin, Seth

    I want to be the person Seth Godin feels I am - a genius. I like his ideas and wish that I knew how to be indispensable. But mostly I feel that he is on-target with his assessment of the world. He is speaking to the 10 percenters who want to make a difference and have been excluded from the process by age, career choice or a changing landscape. Being good is no longer enough. Now, we have to be good and to find our niche. It is a big challenge for those of us who were taught to fit into the industrial world. I was definitely schooled to find a place where I could be successful within a framework that just does not exist anymore. I am young thinking and strong-willed enough to make the transition. But it takes time. Godin is unique. And I like his friend and sometimes illustrator Hugh MacLeod, too.

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    It was a good book... It was a good book ... It was a good book...

    Godin has potential to inspire millions, and i can say that if he already has, i am part of that collective enthusiasm. Linchpin's are definitely needed in our society and Godin does a good job of making sure his readers understand every aspect of what he is communicating, mostly through a large amount of repetition. "Don't be a cog in a machine... Our world today needs artists, not cogs in a machine... Becoming a linchpin is the only alternative to being a cog in a machine" If any reader is able to pull through the first 3rd of the book with its mass density of repetition then the rewards afterward are very insightful and ultimately have the ability to change your life (for the better).

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    What your job will be in the future

    Godin continues to be one step ahead. The premise - just as machines take away blue collar jobs, technology is now changing, and taking away, white collar jobs. The promise of hard work in exchange for a paycheck and job security is now gone - in the new world order, you make your own luck by being a linchpin; someone that brings art to their work. People who can solve problems. Being a do-er is no longer good enough. Technology will replace the do-ers soon enough. What projects are you working on? Are they meaningful? What have you created lately?

    The big gripe I have with this book is it can get a bit preachy, however accurate. Most of these teachings can easily be seen just by reading his blog (which is very good). Overall - the ideas are well composed and theme a good one. The future of work is changing and this book is a good glimpse into what that future may look like.

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  • Posted May 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    "Shipped" too soon!

    I really loved the beginning and middle of this book. I thought it was remarkable, maybe even revolutionary! But then the last third of it disappointed me. I think, to coin a phrase used by the author, that it was "shipped" too soon.

    If Seth Godin had perhaps let the manuscipt sit for a while, maybe a year, and then had come back to it and revised the last third with renewed energy, I think he could have had a Malcolm Gladwell kind of hit on his hands.

    Don't get me wrong. It's still a worthwhile read. I just think it could have been so much more. It's kind of like having an amazing meal at a five-star restaurant where everything is absolutely perfect until the chef rushes the cooking of the dessert and it is burnt around the edges and the coffee isn't fresh. Most of the meal was remarkable, but it's hard to forget those last few bites.

    Susan Gabriel
    author of Seeking Sara Summers

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  • Posted April 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Seth Godin is a Linchpin!

    As I typically do, I acquired both the hard copy book and the audio version since he reads it himself. I have enjoyed Seth's books for more than a decade and am a raving fan (some say groupie others say stalker!). Seth has an uncanny knack of envisioning a future trend and releasing a book at a relevant moment in history. The subtitle of the book poses an important question in today's job economy: "Are You Indispensable?"

    Linchpin reminded me a little of "Survival is Not Enough", another longer and deeper read of his. Whether self-employed, under-employed or even unemployed, this book has lessons to learn. As a former entrepreneur and current marketing professional in a non-profit organization, I applied the lessons I learned immediately. During our Haiti humanitarian response, I thought of the derivative phrase "Linchpin Leadership" and tried to apply it to leading our Internet communications and marketing team. I also observed two of my colleagues, Anne Marie and Wendy, demonstrating such linchpin leadership in leading their communications and fundraising teams.

    Seth's books over time have grown in reach and appeal from niche marketing and business, to broader social networking and "social networthing". On a personal note, his book "The Dip" helped to inspire me to break a Guinness World Record for the longest tennis rally with my twin brother.

    I love the subtle details of the book from the jacket design, which on its interior features a mosaic of profile pics of members of his tribe as he did with Tribes (I admit, I looked at the inside of the jacket for my pic before reading the book). A new addition is the word cloud in front and back inside pages. Linchpin is bigger than his recent works in length and in size. It contains 244 pages including a bibliography if you are so inspired to read related texts. This book makes a great gift whether you buy it for yourself or give it as a gift because it truly is one. Thanks Seth.

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