Are you a LinchPin? My notes from this book

I read LinchPin (Are you indispensable) from Seth Godin a month or so a go.  In my weird filing and ranking system that I have created, I ranked this book 8 Stars out of 10.  It is a book that gets you thinking about how you can do more and be more, because as humans we have the ability to do whatever we want to do, if we choose to do it. So I thought I would blog my highlights from this book. My highlights are the takeaways for me from the book.  I put those notes in my journals and read through them once a month.

Here are my takeaways.  BTW, This is a nice summary of the book, however, I would encourage you to still read it.

Also, an artist as he refers to it in this book, is your unique talent and how and what you do to expand on your art and truly become a linchpin.

  • Stop asking whats in it for you and start giving gifts that change people. Then, and only then, you will have achieved your potential.
  • The attendance based compensation process if over in America.  There are fewer and fewer good jobs where you can get paid for merely showing up.  Instead successful organizations are paying people for who make a difference and are shredding everyone else.
  • The web has made kicking ass easier to achieve, and mediocrity harder to sustain.
  • The hierarchy of value:  There are always more people at the bottom of the stairs, doing hard work thats easy to learn.  As you travel up the hierarchy, the work gets easier, the pay gets better, and the number of people available to dot he work gets smaller.  Lots of people can lift.  Thats not paying off anymore. A few people can sell, Almost no one puts in the work to create or invent. Up to you.
  1. Lift
  2. Hunt
  3. Grow
  4. Produce
  5. Sell
  6. Connect
  7. Create/Invent 
  • Exceptional performers are starting to realize that it doesn’t pay to do factory work (Any job) at factory wages only to subsidize the boss.
  • Markets are crying out.  We need you to stand up and be remarkable.  Be human. Contribute. Interact.
  • Consumers say that all they want are cheap commodities.  Given the choice though, most of us, most of the time, seek out art.  And we will pay for that art.
  • I am good at school:  Being good t school is fine, if you intend to do school forever. For the rest of us, being good at school is like being good at frisbee.  Its nice, but its not relevant unless your career involves homework assignments, looking through textbooks for answers that are already known by your supervisors, complying with instructions and then, in high pressure settings, complying with instructions with limited processing on your part. 
  • What should they teach in school:  2 THINGS ONLY:
  1. Solve Interesting problems
  2. Lead
  • The law of linchpin leverage: The more value you recreate in your job, the fewer clock minutes of labor you actually spend creating that value. In other words, most of the time, you’re not being brilliant.  Most of the time, you do stuff that ordinary people can do.
  • The problem with mediocrity, you spend a little more time trying to be less mediocre than the guy next to you. This will wear you out.
  • Real leaders Solves problems that people haven’t predicted, see things people haven’t seen, and connects people who need to be connected.
  • The linchpin feels fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds.
  • The problem with meeting expectations is that its not remarkable. 
  • The linchpin says “I don’t want a job that a non linchpin could get.
  • Emotional labor is the task of doing important work, even when it isn’t easy. 
  • Emotional labor is difficult and easy to avoid. But when we avoid it, we don’t do much worth seeking out. 
  • An artist is an individual who creates art.  The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is.  WHAT IS YOUR ART?
  • Art is the product of emotional labor. If its easy and risk free, its unlikely that its art.
  • The moment your willing to seek your time for money is the moment you cease to be the artist you’re capable of being.
  • The passion isn’t in money, it is making a difference, solving a problem, creating change that could help millions.
  • The act of being generous makes your rich beyond measure, and as the goods or services spread through the community, everyone benefits. 
  • When its time for layoffs, the safest job belongs to the artist, the linchpin, the one who can’t be easily outsourced or replaced.
  • The combination of passion and art is what makes someone a linchpin.
  • An artists job is to change us.  When you have a boss, your job is to please the boss, not change them.  But the mount you treat a person like a boss, like someone in charge of your movements and your output, you are a cog, not an artist.
  • Emotional labor is more valuable than physical labor, emotional labor changes the recipient, and we care about that. 
  • The future of your organization depends on motivated human beings selflessly contributing unasked for gifts of emotional labor.
  • Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ides, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow. 
  • Shipping:  This means create art and ship it.  Don’t wait around for it to be perfect because it never will be.
  • Any project worth doing involves invention, inspiration, and at least a little but of making stuff up. 
  • Successful people are successful for one simple reason, they think about failure differently. 
  • One way to become creative is to discipline yourself to generate bad ideas. The worse the better. Do it a lot and magically you’ll discover that some good ones will slip through.
  • The race to make average stuff for average people in huge quantities is almost over.
  • Becoming more average, more quick, and more cheap is not as productive as it used to be.
  • Fear is the most important emotion we have.  It is what keeps you alive.  
  • Accept that everything in life is a draft.  Which means you can keep perfecting it.
  • You can’t sprint everyday, but it’s probably a good idea to sprint regularly.  It keeps the resistance at bay.
  • Generosity generates income.
  • The market doesn’t care about your defense. It cares about working with someone who can accurately see what was, what is, an where things are headed. 
  • Perhaps the biggest shift in the new economy is self-determination. Access to capital and appropriate connections aren’t nearly as essential as they were.  Linchpins are made not born.
  • Linchpins don’t need authority.  Authority only matters in a factory.
  • Real change occurs when someone who cares steps up and takes a risk.  People will follow because they want to.
  • Dignity is more important than wealth.
  • The only thing that separates great artists from mediocre ones is their ability push through the dip.
  • Understanding your only job is to make something happen changes what you all day.
  • If you actually work for an organization that insists you be medicare, that enforce conformity in all of its employees, why stay? What are you building? The work can’t possibly be enjoyable or challenging, your skills aren’t increasing, and your value is the market decreases each day you stay there. 
  • We can’t profitably get more average.

Are you a  linchpin?  Please share with me your thoughts on this book summary.  Did you find it valuable?  Would you be willing to read more of them?


Brian Willett




Doing Reps

I recently read two books that changed my thinking, A LOT.  The first book was “Start” by Jon Acuff and the second book was titled “LinchPin” by Seth Godin. Two very different, but similar in some ways, awesome reads.  Yes, I realize that the previous sentence doesn’t make sense.

In the book Start.  Jon talks about how we all must do Reps.  Reps is an abbreviation for Repetition, meaning repeating something over and over.  In the workout world we all say we did X amount of Reps of a certain exercise or lift to properly workout the muscle that we are wanting to work on.

Just like a muscle that we want to work, our brain, our trade, a skill, a hobby, etc. we must just do Reps to become really good at it.  I consider my blog that I write, as a Rep.  I have poor grammar, and really poor sentence structure, but I am just doing Reps.  I think I am getting better at it :).  You tell me.  My mentor Jim Rohn says it like this, you must be disciplined when the numbers are small (my blog followers are small, but growing :)) because if you don’t form the habit of discipline when the numbers are small, you won’t have the habit when the numbers are large.

So Jon says he started out giving talks to AA meetings.  AA groups are always looking for people to come in and speak.  So he considered that practice as putting in Reps.  He became really good at public speaking and delivering a message, because he put in a lot of reps.  Golfers put in a lot of Reps. You think they just hit those shots because they were born with that skill.  A good example is our current President Barack Obama.  He started out putting in Reps when he was a community organizer (what is this again?:)), so why do you think he is known as one of the best orators and speech givers in the world.  He put a lot of Reps in when he was on the streets organizing I am sure, whatever that is.

As I mentioned earlier Seth Godin in his book, says it like this.  JUST SHIP.  Meaning Don’t over analyze everything, JUST SHIP.  If you wait for everything to be perfect you will never ship, so just get in a habit of shipping.  He also said it like this “Everything in Life is a Draft”.  I said wow, when I read this.  There is so much truth to this

A lot of us get in our own way and think we have to have everything perfect before we take the next steps.  Just Ship.  Don’t be reckless, I am sure you won’t, but Just Ship.  Maybe you want to start a business, maybe you want to lose weight, maybe you want to go back to school, maybe you want to start a blog, maybe you want to “you name it”.  Just start. You have all of the skills you will ever need and guess what will happen when you start.  It will be clunky, you will encounter problems, you will get tired after 5 mins of working out, all of these things, but just start.

The first time I ran an 8 min mile, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  Now I can pace 8 min miles, for 13.1 miles. You know why, because I just Shipped, meaning I started. Every time I hit the publish button on these blogs, I say I should have said this different or “what if”, “what if”, now I am just going to hit the publish button and “Just Ship”, I know it is a just a draft.

If you read something in this blog today, that got you thinking about your business, your skills, your world, please share with me, I love to hear the stories, plus, since everything we do in life is a draft maybe we can work together and edit the draft.

Brian Willett