LinchpinWhether 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