Practicing your Genius and Creating Art: Being A Linchpin

One of my favorite things about Seth Godin’s work is his language. His books each have their own unique vernacular which can make grasping the concepts he is presenting to you really easy to understand – but make it a little difficult to talk about these concepts with those who have never read the book – or have experience with Seth Godin’s writing. Linchpin is full of new additions to the Godin Glossary like art, genius, gift, cog, factory, work, and even some old favorites like remarkable and tribe. His practice of giving new meaning to words reiterates his message of defining your own path (and sometimes your own definitions) in life.

The first line in this book is enough to keep a conversation going all night. “You are a genius.” Seth Godin says everyone, each and every human on this earth is a genius. Now I know what you might be thinking, Really? Everyone? Yeah I was skeptical too, but I kept reading.

We are all able (and have at some time in our lives — even if it hasn’t been since toddler-hood,) solved a problem in a way that no one had ever thought of before, done something remarkable! The reason why many of us aren’t practicing our genius and don’t even believe ourselves capable is for a multitude of reasons — many of which get examined in depth over the 236 pages of Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Fear of judgment or not fitting in, fear of being noticed, being held responsible for our actions. All these tiny voices in our “lizard brain” that start being encouraged at the start of life — by parents, friends, school, media, etc. It’s something we accept as the way things have always been, you have to play by the rules to get ahead. Seth Godin says, if you want to be valued, playing by the rules is dangerous!

work, has been transformed in just a hundred years from doing things that involve heavy lifting to leveraging and enhancing your personality. (page 210)

The only way to affect change in another person (what Seth calls creating art!) is NOT fitting in, NOT falling in line and NOT following the map, but to make your own. Being remarkable (worth remarking about,) is not something you can do a little bit of while still playing it safe, to be a linchpin you must commit yourself to your art, acknowledge your genius and live up to it!

This book is inspiring, thought provoking and like many of my favorite business books, it doesn’t take any shit. You have no excuse for not practicing your art anymore… So if you are happy with the status quo… if living up to your genius is more responsibility that you are willing to accept, then this book is going to scare the pants off you — cause it gives you nowhere to hide.

If you’re intrigued — but nervous, give it a chance, be nervous, it’s OK. But don’t let it stop you, start reading.

the best future available to us is a future where you contribute your true self and your best work. Are you up for that? (page 2)


  1. Hi Liz, I follow you on twitter (@kitchenrockstar) and I’d been thinking of getting into Godin’s books when I saw this post. Where would you recommend someone start with his work? Or, if I could only buy one SG book, which one should I buy?

    1. Amanda… if you had asked me this a few weeks ago, i would have said “Tribes”, but today, I say get his latest “Linchpin” …Seth’s stuff is always good reads, but if you want to get the full experience, start with his latest (and greatest.)

  2. Liz, I’ve seen Seth Godin mentioned quite a lot later, though I’ve yet to read one of his books. “You are a genius.” – the line from his book you quoted, you are right I am thinking, Really? I guess it could make perfect sense in the context of the book but my initial thought is that it’s not possible for everyone to be a genius – the very meaning refers to something extraordinary. Sure, I believe we are all capable of doing remarkable things, but if we were all doing them everyday they would not seem remarkable and only someone doing something much more remarkable might be classed as genius. Apologies if I’ve completely missed the point he was making in his book.

    1. no, i totally get you, and the definition is something unique to this book and it’s ideas. He isn’t meaning genius as you may historically have seen it. But he does point out that being a genius doesn’t mean you are a genius ALL THE TIME, “No one is genius all the time. Einstein had trouble finding his house when he walked home from work every day. But all of us are geniuses sometimes.” (Page 1)

  3. I see, I’m still not convinced that we can all be geniuses, even if just for a short period. At least not going by the standard definition of the word, but I get where he’s going with it. Enjoyed the post though Liz, look forward to your next.

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