The Practice by Seth Godin

2020 Book Review

Books with multiple on-ramps, make it easy to go on a short journey and arrive back home with a satiated mind. The Practice is a compact prose yet packs in 219 (two hundred and nineteen!) on-ramps of opportunity. Here’s the five that jumped off the page as I read them — I take that as a sign these my signposts for 2021.

Mileage may vary for you.

200. Domain Reading

Seth says do the work on knowing what and who has come before you. There’s probably a list of works and you should read them all, get familiar and that includes going all the way back to seminal works…not just last years latest evolution. Get to know the names of the people, their positions.

I did this in 2020 to learn about existing research on ‘Buy National Campaigns’ and there was way more out there than I expected. When you get serious about digging up the work of the people who’ve ventured this way before you, you’ll discover where you’re work fits in.

Buy National Campaigns

181. Building Streaks as a Creator

James Clear talks about streaks in Atomic Habits. The first rule of streaks is don’t break it. The second rule is if you do break it, don’t break it twice in a row.

Seth talks about looking for ‘desirable difficulty’ in your genre and then avoid shortcuts to get there. There’s more on desirable difficulty in chapter 164.

Sounds simple…but it’s not…. what’s the desirable difficulty you seek out?

5. Finding a Practice

Look to ‘the makers of what’s next’ and the ‘voices of now’. These are the people who have a practice. Seth shares that while their ‘output is different, the circumstances different, and the timing is different…the practice remains.’

We can all adopt a practice. Mine is amplifying the voices of quiet New Zealand business heroes on A Kiwi Original to show Kiwis that business is a force for good.

Seth is challenging you in this book to find your practice.

105. Who’s It For

Once we know clearly who it’s for — it’s your responsibility to bring positive change to that person. Not to all people. That’s where Seth’s concept of Minimum Viable Audience comes in.

46. Here, I Made This.

Seth unpacks these four words in detail and why each one comes with it own intent. You need to read his words verbatim to sear the concept on your memory windshield.

204. Constraints

Seth first pushed the concept of constraints in front of us in the AltMBA programme. ABN = assets, boundaries and narratives. Boundaries are the twin sister of creativity. Choose your own constraints when you’re creating. Be deliberate about what they are.

I created a video series called the Making It New Zealand series in 2018 and 2019 with a rigorous application of the ABN method. Videos were 2–4 minutes…they were completely unscripted. I interviewed 2- 3 business owners a day.

If you don’t know the constraints… well… you don’t know the possibility of the art.

How Does The Practice Compare To This Is Marketing?

The Practice feels more personal. That may be because Seth has shared some of his story enmeshed with marketing on the Akimbo podcast.

The format is the same. The length similar. The surprise inside The Practice jacket will delight just as many people as This Is Marketing. None of that matters however… all you need to think about is:

This Is Marketing (book on left with custom cover) is for people who want to understand the map of modern marketing. The concepts and the riddles.

The Practice is for people who are ready to change their behaviour and want a handful of chapters to get them started on their way.

I’d probably recommend you get both. What else?

Unexpectedly, this year I picked up a copy of Permission Marketing on a table of a very good friend of mine who passed away this year. We flatted together when the book first came out in 199 and he worked in marketing and me in sales. Both in tech. To re-read Permission Marketing now… it is quite shocking how prescient this book was… before most of the Internet, before the iPhone, before the HoloLens…before social media.

I’d probably recommend you get Permission Marketing as your third.

…and then you might as well get We are All Weird (top right).

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