Book Review: “Poke the Box”

Seth Godin is a book publisher, a marketer, an entrepreneur, and a blogger. I haven’t read his blog, but his book, Poke the Box, seems to be a collection of blog posts. There is no linearity, but rather, a repeating, restating, and reemphasizing of his central themes:

When you see something that needs to be done, then do it.

Once you have completed a task, find another need and repeat.

The worst you can do is to fail, which is why so many people are afraid to start. So what. Just start. The roster of the most successful people you can imagine is filled with people who have failed.

Seth Godin is so passionate about his philosophy that he disdains Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It.” He drops the “Just” in order to just get to the “Do It” part (p61).

He does not reference, but I am sure Godin would appreciate Michael Jordan's story of "I failed, which is why I succeed" story.

He does not reference, but I am sure Seth Godin would appreciate Michael Jordan’s story of “I failed, which is why I succeed.”

He refers mainly to the world of business, of launching new products or service into the market. Be aware of what is around you, and find a way to fill a need. Then repeat. The company that has a successful product but fails to innovate is doomed to fail.

Godin doesn't say, but I do: We're looking at you, Blackberry.

Godin doesn’t say, but I do: We’re looking at you, Blackberry.

Godin’s philosophy is not limited to only management and superiors. It applies to everyone. Find a need and do it. If you see something needs to be put away, then put it away. If you see something needs to be created, then create it. If your boss objects, then maybe cool it (but start looking for another boss).

The “chapters” are very short, some less than a page, most are shorter than two pages. Coming in at 85 pages (and tiny pages, at that), “Poke the Box” can be read in one sitting. But it is a bit tiring, because the chapters don’t build. It is the same message through the entire book.

(The title refers to an instance when his uncle built a box with switches that controlled lights and buzzers, and put it in his cousin’s crib. The young child would “poke the box” to see what would happen, a metaphor for Godin’s philosophy.)

Still, I appreciate Seth Godin’s philosophy because it mirrors my own:

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.


Godin, Seth. Poke the Box: When was the last time you did something for the first time? The Domino Project, Do You Zoom, Inc., 2011. Print.



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