This book is about love and art and change and fear. It’s about overcoming a multigenerational conspiracy designed to sap your creativity and restlessness. It’s about leading and making a difference and it’s about succeeding. I couldn’t have written this book ten years ago, because ten years ago, our economy wanted you to fit in, it paid you well to fit in, and it took care of you if you fit in. Now, like it or not, the world wants something different from you. We need to think hard about what reality looks like now.
-Seth Godin: Linchpin, page 2
It is becoming much easier for companies to replace people, therefore Godin argues that the only way to be truly secure is to be indispensible.
Godin argues that people get brainwashed into repressing their talents and dreams to work as factory cogs because of an implicit, attractive promise made by companies and bosses: “follow these instructions and you don’t have to think.” (9)
“Like scared civilians eager to do whatever a despot tells them, we give up our freedoms and responsibilities in exchange for the certainty that comes from being told what to do.”
Seth Godin’s criticism of The E-Myth Revisited: “If you make your business possible to replicate, you’re not going to be the one to replicate it. Others will. If you build a business filled with rules and procedures that are designed to allow you to hire cheap people, you will have to produce a product without humanity or personalization or connection. Which means that you’ll have to lower your prices to compete. Which leads to a race to the bottom.” (11)
The day-laborers that wait in front of hardware stores looking to be picked up for cheap labor are not much different than most businesses and employees. They stand next to a bunch of other similar entities, waiting to be picked – usually by someone who is pressed for time and is just looking for which one seems the cheapest.
A problem: “Consumers are not loyal to cheap commodities. They crave the unique, the remarkable, and the human.” (13)
“There are no longer any great jobs where someone else tells you precisely what to do.” (14)
“History is now being written by the artists while the factory workers struggle. The future belongs to chefs, not to cooks or bottle washers. It’s easy to buy a cookbook (filled with instructions to follow) but really hard to find a chef book.” (18)
“Our world no longer fairly compensates people who are cogs in a giant machine. There’s stress because for many of us, that’s all we know. Schools and society have reinforced this approach for generations.” (19)
Capitalism demands the best in us, and as such, attendance-based compensation (ABC) jobs in which you just have to show up to get a paycheck are dwindiling. Getting an unskilled job is like putting yourself in the path of a buzzsaw.
“You don’t become indispensable merely because you are different. But the only way to be indispensable is to be different. That’s because if you’re the same, so are plenty of other people.” (27)