Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Image of Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
Release Date: 
January 25, 2010
Reviewed by: 

 “All I wanted to do in this book was to sell you
on being the artist you already are.”


The above sentence neatly compartmentalizes Seth Godin’s latest business book, but Seth Godin and anything he writes are never really that neatly compartmentalized. It’s because, just like that statement, Godin and his works are simultaneously complex and simple. Consider the obvious question as to why Godin needs 244 pages to get to that above point. And yet, just like his other books such as Purple Cow and The Dip—which could be easily summarized as “be remarkable” and “know when to quit,” respectively—the reader is better off with Godin taking his time in getting us from cover to cover. Far better off.


Each of Godin’s 14 chapters are divided into almost blog-like stream of consciousness which, if you’ve read any of his other works, comes across as both thoroughly knowledgeable and instantly accessible. And he borrows from his other writings such as the aforementioned, but not so much that it becomes distracting.


In fact, quite the opposite; this is easily Godin’s most humble and earnest book. In many ways, the book’s title is a bit of a misnomer; as the first sentence of this review might indicate, it’s less about becoming a linchpin and more about becoming an artist.


In fact, his real goal seems no less than just that: convincing all of his readers that they are not just businessmen, lawyers, accountants, what-have-you. We are greater than that. And that is why he takes his time through these 14 chapters and 244 pages, to bring you along his thoughtful argument as to exactly why we are all artists. And like a good teacher, he is patient as we gradually come around.


This is not to say that he’s lost his quiet logic and compelling reasoning. The section titled “Quadrants of Discernment” is perhaps one of the most compelling arguments as to why some people seem to be able to handle everything with aplomb while others cannot respond to the slightest setback without fits of rage.


Still, no book is perfect and this reviewer does take some issue with Godin’s firm belief that children should be taught to do only two things in school:


1.     Solve interesting problems2.     Lead


The statement is a little too pat and, frankly, misguided. History and English, for example, teach neither yet are crucial to understanding the world and being understood in the world.


Still, there is far more to like than to dislike with Linchpin. If you’re already a fan of Godin’s works, then this one will easily meet your satisfaction. And if you’ve not yet had the opportunity to read any of his books, Linchpin is a perfect example of why Godin’s earned a regular spot on the New York Times bestseller list.


Reviewer Logan Lo is a small business consultant under the guise of an intellectual property attorney and a certified general real estate appraiser. He is currently an associate at the commercial litigation firm Woods & Lonergan in their Intellectual Property and Real Estate Practices. He resides in the Upper West Side of New York City.