Seth Godin: Tribes Quotes on Leadership & Community

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What are some of the most compelling quotes from Seth Godin’s book Tribes? What are their context and meaning?

Tribes by Seth Godin is a book about creating and leading a tribe—a group of people connected by an idea and a leader. It contains practical insights on leadership, community, and society.

Keep reading for some thought-provoking quotes from Seth Godin’s Tribes.

5 Quotes From Seth Godin’s Tribes

To follow are five quotes from Seth Godin’s Tribes, with explanations that flesh out each quote.

“The barriers to leadership have fallen.”

Now that we’re in the age of the internet, anyone can create his or her own tribe practically instantly. The internet is such a powerful tool because there are only two prerequisites for a group of people to become a tribe:

  1. A shared interest
  2. A shared means of communication

Godin further points out that there are already countless tribes in the world waiting for the right leaders to come along.

“Tribes are about faith.”

This Seth Godin Tribes quote is saying that, at heart, tribes are about belief: belief in an idea and belief in a community. It doesn’t matter what the belief is—believing that a particular sports team is the best is just as valid to tribe dynamics as believing in a religion or a social cause. What matters is that all members of the tribe share that belief. Members of a tribe also believe that they belong with each other; that they’re connected by their shared interests.

“If you’re a middle-of-the-roader, you don’t bother joining a tribe.”

Tribes are partisan by nature: That is, they see themselves as an “in-group” and others as an “out-group.” Partisan groups have strong visions and specific goals that they’re eager to achieve. In other words, partisan groups are naturally motivated.

“Heretics are the new leaders.”

One point Godin repeatedly returns to is that, by definition, a leader is someone who goes off the beaten path (consider a common synonym for leader: trailblazer). Such people are often viewed as odd, crazy, or even heretical; however, a leader who only goes where she’s “allowed” to go isn’t a leader at all.

“Waiting doesn’t pay. Saying yes does.”

This Seth Godin Tribes quote is saying that many of us are waiting for the right time to lead; for example, when we have the right education, the right funding, or the right support. However, Godin argues that waiting never pays off. Instead, he urges you to just get started: Make that Facebook group, publish that blog, or start that workplace petition. With how easy it is to build and lead tribes in the modern world, the only thing stopping you is yourself.

If you would like to share a favorite quote from Seth Godin’s Tribes, leave a comment below.

Seth Godin: Tribes Quotes on Leadership & Community

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Seth Godin's "Tribes" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Tribes summary:

  • What tribes are—and why we need them
  • How to create and lead a tribe effectively
  • Why we need leaders today more than ever

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, science, and philosophy. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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