Tribes : We Need YOU to Lead Us

There wasn't anything groundbreaking about this book, but it was filled with many small nuggets and reminders that were worth rereading/considering. Simple truths that fit in a pocket, on a sticky note, or constantly in thought.

Perhaps the deepest question it brings to the surface is with a statement made early in the book, on page three, where Godin states, "Tribes make our lives better. And leading a tribe is the best life of all."  I wrote in the margin, "Really? Why?" and he doesn't really ever answer the question. At times, he even somewhat contradicts it, but maybe that's the point - that the "best life of all" doesn't necessarily have a defined description. 

But we'll get to that. For now, here are a few nuggets worth stuffing in the pocket:

"Leadership is about creating change that you believe in. My thesaurus says the best synonym for leadership is management. Maybe that word used to fit, but no longer. Movements have leaders and movements make things happen. Leaders have followers. Managers have employees. Managers make widgets. Leaders make change" (pg 14).

"Organizations that destroy the status quo win. Individuals who push their organizations, who inspire other individuals to change the rules, thrive. Again, we're back to leadership, which can come from anyone, anywhere in the organization" (pg 35).

"You have everything. Everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself" (pg 37).

"What's missing is the will to make things happen" (pg 42).

"What people are afraid of isn't failure. It's blame. Criticism" (pg 46).

"Great leaders focus on the tribe and only the tribe" (pg 50).

"A tribe that communicates more quickly, with alacrity and emotion, is a tribe that thrives (pg 52).

"{a tribe leader} finds areas of common interest and then gets out of the way" (pg 53).

"Leadership is a choice. It's a choice to not do nothing" (pg 59).

"A curious person embraces the tension between his religion and something new, wrestles with it and through it, and then decides whether to embrace the new idea or reject it . . . it has to do with a desire to understand, a desire to try, a desire to push whatever envelope is interesting" ( pg 63).

"It's easy to underestimate how difficult it is for someone to become curious. For seven, ten, or even fifteen years of school, you are required to not be curious. Over and over and over again, the curious are punished" (pg 64). 

"Religion at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith" (pg 81).

"The reason it's so difficult to have a considered conversation about religion is that people feel threatened. Not by the implied criticism of the rituals or irrationality of a particular religious practice, but because it feels like criticism of their faith . . . in order to lead, you must challenge the status quo of religion you're living under" (pg 82).

"When you fall in love with the system, you lose the ability to grow" (pg 83).

"The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate" (pg 86).

"The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow" (pg 108). 

"Reagan's secret is to listen, to value what you hear, and then to make a decision even if it contradicts the very people you are listening to" (pg 128).

"People don't believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell themselves. What leaders do: they give people stories they can tell themselves. Stories about the future and about change" (pg 138).

"Tribes make our lives better. And leading a tribe is the best life of all." Perhaps, because of humility. Because they are using their gifts and talents and they are using (or withholding) them for the benefit of the tribe. And when we consider ourselves smaller than the bigger picture, when our role is beyond ourselves, and we see the Tribe thriving, there is immense joy and satisfaction. Because it's beyond ourselves.