Written by Seth Godin and illustrated by Hugh MacLeod. Having sub-titled the book “An ABC for Grownups” its author, a renown marketing guru Seth Godin, prefaced it with an eloquent introduction discussing his motivation and intention for the book:
“I’m hoping that this book will help you choose to see the world differently. Radically differently. I’m hoping that instead of asking “How can this book help me do a better job to keep the world as it is?” perhaps you can momentarily choose to see the world as a different place altogether.”
As a segway to the above, Seth wrote of his fascination with Dr. Seuss, whose stories he grew up with and reflected on how Dr. Seuss’s stories remind us adults about the importance of our future and encourage us to embrace opportunity and act, not merely watch and wait. “The Lorax makes me cry. Every time”, wrote Seth in the preface to “V is for Vulnerable” and, articulately as always, stated his intent as follows:
“I’m trying to get you to stop being a spectator and a pawn in the industrial system that raised us, and maybe, just mayby, to stand up and do something that scares you. I want you to do what you’re meant to do, what we’re all meant to do, which is the hard work of creating art. The artist wonders, “How can I break this?” and “Is it interesting?” Go break something.”
Every page of it hits the spot. Every paragraph is ripe with encouragement for reflection, with appeal to accept fear and act. Below is my favourite spread. “One-buttock playing is what Ben Zander would have you do.” (in case you are wondering, Ben Zander is an English conductor and currently the musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra). The piano performance analogy gets to the heart of the point. Give it your all or don’t bother doing it at all.
From the perspective of “Effort isn’t the point, impact is”, the appeal of “Dance with fear”, the ruthlessness of “Pain is the truth of art” Seth Godin speaks metaphorically, aptly, candidly and in ways that my mind and soul are most receptive too.
Is this “An ABC for Grownups”? It is for all if you ask me. The earlier we can teach our kids the wisdom packed into the 32 pages of this book the better. I have certainly read it with my teenager not once and I hope that ‘maybe, just maybe’, he would one day be able to stand up, do something that scares him and fly high.
Seth Godin is the founder of two successful Internet companies, a popular speaker and author of a dozen books. He authors a blog which brilliantly articulates his ideas and is one of the most widely read blogs on the Internet.
Hugh MacLeod, who illustrated this book worked in the advertising industry for more than a decade. Hugh is also a cartoonist and artist. He is the author of “How to Be Creative”, which is his original post downloaded by more than four million people. The post became the basis for his bestselling book “Ignore Everybody”; his latest book titled “Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underware” (both are on my ‘to-read’ list!). Hugh’s illustrations of Seth Godin’s alphabet are a perfect match for the punchy, laconic wit of its text.
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