Linchpin, schminchpin

Feb 16, 2010 • Karen

I started following Seth Godin's blog from a link somewhere. I hadn't read any of his (many) books, but it seemed that lots of Internet people paid attention to what he said.

A couple months later, I really don't get the hype. He's a very good writer, and he's had a few interesting things to say on his blog, but a lot of the content is pretty obvious when you think about it. It makes me think that he's pushing to post something on one of his trademark themes every day, even when he doesn't happen to have any true insight. "Don't be phony." "Have a product worth buying." "Do something you care about." Duh.

Godin's latest book makes a big deal about the "linchpin" metaphor as the role to strive for in one's career. The rhetoric is nice, but what his thesis comes down to is: "People who are indispensible in their jobs have better careers." No. Shit. It contains a bunch of self-congratulatory language for people who are currently linchpins in their organizations, but has little to no advice for those of us who are, at present, eminently dispensible, other than to take pride our work and be "artists." Gosh, that makes it so clear...

Godin's works have the cheerleader quality of many modern business-type books. I suppose lots of people must find that useful, inspiring, or comforting, or they wouldn't sell so well, but I'm much more interested in a how-to.