Seth Godin remembers the very moment he realised he’d underestimated the power of the internet.
It was 1996. Yoyodyne – the direct marketing site he’d founded a year prior – was 18 months old, and had garnered the attention of major companies including AOL, Microsoft, Sony, America Express, and Volvo. Even still, Godin though the internet had no viable future.
“This was the most expensive mistake I ever made,” he admits in What Does It Sound Like When You Change Your Mind?, the blog post from which his new, titanic book takes its name.
800 pages long, and replete with over five years’ worth of blog posts, articles, and general musings, it is truly an epic creation sure to be loved by both committed fans and newcomers to the insight of one of the world’s most intelligent and clear thought leaders.
The text is accompanied by vivid and varied photos, predominantly by prolific photo blogger Thomas Hawk, a man reverently referred to as ‘The Photo Factory’. The images are fantastic, and are bound to encourage casual readers to skim through, but in the context of the book they are entirely supplementary.
There are thousands of concepts shared within the pages of What Does It Sound Like When You Change Your Mind?, and yet an underlying theme runs throughout. This is a book about rebellion and revolution, innovation and understanding of yourself, your life, and your work.
Paralleling the permission marketing system Godin pioneered throughout the 90s, the book promotes honesty, and flexibility. “All we have to do is be the person we say we are,” says Godin. It will make some people uncomfortable, but it’s how we learn to tell our story better than anyone else possibly can.
Godin admits that everything he writes is for him, not an audience. On his blog, he doesn’t allow comments, in order to keep the focus on the writing, and has never feared experimentation as a marketer, writer, or entrepreneur. In this context, his ability to transcribe complex ideas into simple content that has the ability to speak to such a diverse range of people is a testament to Godin’s brilliance. Nothing in the book feels like it’s specifically targeted to Godin’s primary audience – marketers, entrepreneurs, CEOs etc. – and yet it’s all relevant. That’s what makes him one of the best.
The brevity of the content aside, this is not a book that you will finish in only a few sittings. Attempts to do so come at the cost of the reflective time necessary to consider the vast troves of information found within. In my first session, I read 50 pages before I had to stop and get my thoughts in order. From that point on, I read no more than 20-30 at a time, taking notes all the while.
What Does It Sound Like When You Change Your Mind? is highly recommended for anyone in either business or the arts. While most of the content is freely available on Godin’s blog, there’s nothing like being able to put this towering publication on your desk and taking your time going through chronologically. There’s something visceral about it, something truly impactful, that makes it well worth the asking price.