Poke The Box. Just do it in private.
Ian Lurie Jun 1 2011
“Are you OK sir?”
The guy next to me at SeaTac gate S8 was eyeing me dubiously as I sat reading Seth Godin’s Poke The Box. I’d just finished yet another passage that made me think “Hell YES!” Apparently, I was also nodding vigorously. My inner monologue was showing. It creeped out my fellow traveler.
He didn’t call the TSA. Instead, he called me ‘sir’. Sir? SIR? Should I get my walker?!
Take this story as a warning: Reading Poke The Box while conscious, thinking and/or breathing may lead to strong feelings of “Hell yeah” and “Damn right”. It may also get you off your ass. If you’re leading a large, publicly-traded company or a political party, avoid this book at all costs.
Otherwise, read it in private, or people may think you’re nuts.
Like many of Seth Godin’s books, Poke The Box (PTB) is a series of small, digestible ideas written to inspire. As he explains, he’s not providing a blueprint or a map—that’s your job. He’s explaining why it’s so important that you make things happen. He encapsulates that idea in the first of several great quotes in this book:
“Please stop waiting for a map. We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them.”
And about adaptation:
“Part of initiating is being willing to discover that what you end up with is different from what you set out to accomplish. If you’re not willing to discover that surprise, it’s no wonder you’re afraid to start.
Later on, he writes about the moral obligation to start:
“_Once you’ve engaged with an organization or a relationship or a community, you owe it to your team to start. To initiate. To be the one who makes something happen._
To do less is to steal from them.“
SAY IT BRUTHAH!!!!! TESTIFY!!!!!!!!
I won’t say that Poke The Box broke new ground for me. If you’re the target audience, it won’t be revolutionary for you, either. Instead, it will reinforce values you probably already have:
- Change is important.
- Without it, the best organization dies.
- You have to innovate. Have to. It’s not an option, it’s a moral imperative.
If you’re not the target audience, read Poke The Box, and you might join it. Read this book and you’ll want to create a ruckus.
And that’s good.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More