Book Review: Tribes by Seth Godin – Part II

After the first part of my review of the book tribe, now it’s time to get closer to the topic. Seth Godin’s short but influential book is generally about making a movement. Despite its small volume (125 pages) you can find so many inspiring ideas inside. Although anyone who knows Seth, sure does not expect a continuous and logical order of topics and ideas. The book is more close to a turbulent flood of ideas bundled together.

Sheepwalking is one of the terms I love in his book. Godin emphasises that many people ignore many opportunities for changing themselves and the world because they are sheepwalking their way through the whole life.

Actually for most of us, it’s easy, nice and fruitful to have a dream. But there’s a large gap between having a dream and turning it into a passion and trying to live it. Sheepwalking and laziness are two of the reasons. But blame and criticism are the other hidden barriers on the way.

What people are afraid of is not failure. It’s Blame. Criticism. Seth Godin

In the whole book, Seth Godin has an eye on today’s digital technology as a low-cost and easily accessible platform facilitating great movements.

In the old times, building a tribe was a much more complicated task. You had to rely on the people around yourself and in your neighbourhood. And it was not easy to find like-minded people outside your geographical area.

But nowadays, technology, digital media and social networks can be used as a supporting platform for initiating and expanding such movements.

However, a more serious challenge still exists. Most of the people are sunk in their daily activities and never find time to think beyond the mean concerns of the average people.

By the way, it’s not necessary anymore to claim a big change in the world as it was popular in the last centuries. With the old limited access to the people, old age leaders had to look for simple big ideas in common between most of the crowd. But using today’s technologies, it’s easy to build a tribe around very specific ideas and values.

But the one who wants to build and lead a tribe shall have specific characteristics and skills. Here are some of them:

  • An irresistible call to action
  • A cause worth fighting for
  • Believing in him(her)self
  • Motivating others and driving them into commitment
  • Enabling followers (tribe members) to get connected together
  • Being brave and challenging status quo
  • Hard Working
  • Being generous
  • Not putting money and position as the first priority
  • Finding other leaders and helping them to find followers
  • Helping lost followers to find desired leaders

As you see through the book, Godin’s idea about the tribes is applicable to both social and business contexts. It doesn’t make a big difference if you are thinking about founding and funding a charity or you are thinking about selling your product.

If you just want to sell “me too” products to a faceless crowd, skip Tribes. But if you have dreams of changing the world, Tribes is for you.Seth Godin

Complimentary Documents for download:

A companion book for tribes, published by Seth Godin: PDF: Current Cases of Tribes

A document with questions and answers about the tribes and maintaining them: PDF: Tribes Q&A

Another Review by Chris Duker (Not as positive as mine!): PDF: A book review of tribes – We need you to lead us

Two recommended videos:

The first video is a popular one shared many times on the net and you’ve probably seen it before. But after thinking about the tribes and reading about Seth Godin, would be helpful and inspiring to view it for the second time.

It’s about importance of the second and third followers. The ones who have a critical role in the expansion of the tribe but their importance is undervalued by most of us.


And the second one is a TED video. As you may know, Seth Godin spoke the TED conference about tribes. It’s about 20 minutes and worth watching.