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Tribes by Seth Godin.
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Tribes by Seth Godin is a self-help book about how to create and lead your own tribe—a group of people who are connected by a leader and an idea. Godin contends that, thanks to the ability to connect easily via the internet, there’s never been a better time to build a tribe (or step up to lead an existing one).

An entrepreneur, as well as a world-renowned author and marketing guru, Godin is perhaps best-known for his book _[Purple...

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Tribes Summary What Is a Tribe?

Godin defines a tribe as a group of people who share three important connections:

  1. A connection to a leader
  2. A connection to a belief
  3. A connection to the rest of the group

He adds that tribes exist everywhere people come together, whether in-person or online. For example, a fan club is a tribe; so are the employees of a small business. In fact, it’s all but guaranteed that you personally are in a tribe, and most likely more than one.

The Tuckman Model of Group Formation

Godin goes into detail about what a tribe is, but he doesn’t really explain how they come about.

Educational psychologist Bruce Tuckman developed a four-step model to describe how people come together and form a cohesive group, such as a tribe. While Tuckman’s model is specifically about goal-focused teams (such as in a work environment), it also applies to Godin’s concept of tribes, which must form around a particular belief and vision for the future.

Tuckman’s four steps are:

  • Forming. This is when people first come together (or are brought together) to create the new group. At...

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Tribes Summary Too Many Tribes; Not Enough Leaders

Godin contends that we need leaders today more than ever. In large part, that’s because there are currently more tribes than have ever existed before, thanks to the internet (as previously mentioned), which makes it easy to connect with others.

However, the leader shortage has a societal aspect as well as a technological one.

Acolytes and Apostates

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of people:

  1. Acolytes: Those who follow others and do as they’re told.
  2. Apostates: Those who break away from traditional teachings and beliefs.

Godin says that acolytes, by definition, can’t be leaders; they don’t create new ideas or build new tribes. Only apostates—people who push their own ideas against societal pressure—can lead real change.

Godin clarifies that you can be an apostate on a small or large scale. For example:

  • You could have a new idea about how the company you work for should handle a daily task (small scale).
  • You could walk away from modern society and found a commune in the wilderness (large scale).

In both cases, you’re leading the charge toward a new way of doing things—and you’ll need to recruit followers to turn your ideas...

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Tribes Summary Become a Leader

Becoming a leader seems daunting; we’re often afraid to become apostates, or we think there’s some secret ingredient of leadership that we’re missing. However, Godin argues that all you need to become a leader is attitude and ability. In other words, if you believe in yourself and convince others to believe in you as well, then you’re a leader.

Godin points out that many of us hesitate because we think that we also need authority—in other words, we think that someone else has to give us the power or the “right” to lead. However, that misses the point: If you’re following someone else’s instructions, or waiting for permission, then you’re not leading.

Overcoming Low Self-Esteem

If you think you need someone else’s permission to become a leader, you may be suffering from low self-esteem. Norman Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking offers some advice on how to overcome self-defeating thoughts and boost your self-esteem:

  • Find the root cause. Why do you feel inferior to other people? Perhaps you struggled in school, or you were constantly overshadowed by a...

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Shortform Exercise: Create a Vision

Every tribe begins with a leader’s vision, usually because that leader sees a problem and wants to solve it. Therefore, to create a tribe, you should first create a vision.

What’s something that bothers you? This could be a problem as serious and complex as global warming, or as trivial as not having people to discuss your favorite TV show with.

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