November 5, 2010

Recommended Reading for Artist-Entrepreneurs: 'Linchpin' by Seth Godin

Whether you choose to go to film school or not, the idea behind No Film School is to self-educate in as many ways as possible. Our goal as artists is to make something different from our peers; to me, sitting in a classroom with the same syllabus as everyone else isn't the best way to self-actualize. Any such theories aside, however, it doesn't matter whether you discover a helpful book in a syllabus, via a friend's recommendation, or via a web site like this one. Seth Godin's latest book, Linchpin, is a bit hard to describe. It's not a marketing book, it's not a self-help book -- it's more about a gradual cultural shift away from factory-based wage labor, and how artist-entrepreneurs need to escape the "lizard brain" that instills fear in us in order to ship our art.

In the book, Godin recasts our definition of who an "artist" is, by stating that we all are. This may seem oversimplified, and I find it to be one of the book's less convincing arguments. And while some of what Godin says in the book doesn't necessarily apply to filmmakers, most of it does. His take on the future of marketing, commerce, and his concept of Tribes are all concepts about which No Film School is a perfect example (I'd like to think). And while any book that starts with the statement "You Are a Genius" seems like it might unfold like a self-help book, Godin's ideas should be motivating for anyone who's dealt with bureaucratic corporate structures, or any kind of dead-end job.

I wrote about Godin previously when he declared his intention to switch to self-publishing, and I planned on writing a review of Linchpin here. I was going to pull a number of quotes applicable to filmmakers from the book, but after finishing it I found my Sony Reader had lost all of the bookmarks I made along the way (moral of the story: get a Kindle). So in lieu of a these quotes, here's the first chapter of Linchpin free. ((As Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, et al. start using free first chapters to advertise a book, I would think that a new consideration for authors is to ensure there's some sort of cliffhanger at the end of the first chapter. That, or to choose carefully which segment of the book to make free...)) If the reading column appears too narrow, which Amazon seems to do by default, you can adjust the font size and column width, or just click the full screen button.

I'm going to be recommending a number of books here going forward; while I'm by no means suggesting "these are the greatest books of all time," I found them helpful in shaping my own objectives as an artist, and I think others might too. To the same end, I'd like to hear about any books you've recently found helpful. Any suggestions?

Link: Linchpin by Seth Godin

Your Comment


Linchpin is one of the best books I have ever read, if you want to be an artist in whatever space you may be in then pick up this book! Seth Godin is the top author in the world in my opinion.

November 5, 2010 at 8:41AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


On my Kindle. Really speaks to the filmmaker or any individual/creative thinker.

November 6, 2010 at 6:20AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Seems like an interesting and easy read piece. Somehow reminds me of Malcolm Gladwells stuff. He does a great job in breaking down huge concepts into something easily understandable (with topics ranging from the success of Bill Gates and Stephen King to why Hush Puppies became such a huge hit). Personally I've read Outliers, Blink and Tipping Point and I recommend them all to anyone entrepreneural or interested in producing.

Link to his website:

I think Blink was recommended to me during a Documentary Film seminar which sparked my interest to Gladwells work in general.

November 6, 2010 at 8:09AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Looks like you've picked a winner! The book sounds awesome, and from the way you've put it forward, it sounds like I'd be a fool not to be buying it right now!

November 7, 2010 at 8:52PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Looks interesting im gonna give it a read. im always looking for interesting books to read so i will be checking to see whats next. I read Drive by Daniel H Pink and found it very interesting to discover what motivates us and what can kill our motivation (Money). Check it out!

November 12, 2010 at 4:57AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Given the topic of this entry, I thought you might be interested in these animated remarks from Sir Ken Robinson on how and why to change educational paradigms.

November 18, 2010 at 11:39AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


This is a great video, thanks for sharing D! Very interesting map of ADHD, which I've never believed is something that should necessitate prescriptions.

November 18, 2010 at 1:02PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Ryan Koo