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A reaction to POKE THE BOX by Seth Godin

March 30, 2011

So I just read POKE THE BOX by Seth Godin, which has been released through his new partnership with Amazon, The Domino Project.

Now, I must admit, before I launch into my rather verbose reaction to this book, I didn’t buy PTB when it was first published–even at it’s very accessible introductory price (.99). Why? Because I am not a big fan of motivational or self-help books. I generally find such books a slog to get through, and it always seems that I already know (even if I don’t practice every day) their fundamental principals. However, when I received an email yesterday via The Domino Project about Steven Pressfield’s new book, DO THE WORK, I was intrigued enough to click through and read more. First of all, this book has a corporate sponsor (GE), which is completely brilliant. And second Mr. Pressfield wrote THE WAR OF ART, which occupies a spot among all my “creative” and writing books, possibly right next to Syd Field. The thing is, this book was a gift, a birthday gift from a beloved cousin, who has since chosen to leave his mortal coil, and, I must further admit, I have never read it. So I signed up to get a free copy of DTW and vowed to read AofW beforehand.

Then I started to feel a little guilty that I hadn’t supported The Domino Project further when I completely believe in its principals–so I downloaded POKE THE BOX.

And then I read it.

As I was reading, I kept coming across underlined passages. This was my first time reading with the Kindle App and I had not turned off the “others have highlighted this” option. Then, out of the blue, I too felt like noting down a section. So out came a blue post it note (hence the picture with this post), because I thought it might be a good exercise if I took the time to answer this question Seth had posed–the one that had captured my attention enough that I actually scrawled it across a sticky note.

Then I made more notes and more notes.

Next thing I knew, I was thinking about the book–thinking about my reaction. Thinking about how it felt like it was time to wake up, it was time to step forward; it was time to stop listening to that voice–the one inside my head that had been undermining me for such a long time. And it was time to stop listening to the voices around me, at least the echoes of voices around me, that I had been listening to, that I had been giving so much power.

I realized I have been hiding. I have been waiting. And that it was time to move.

So, I decided to share my reaction to POKE THE BOX.

Then I decided to self-publish some of my writing, because I am tired of waiting to be handed the opportunity to have people read my work–just read it, and hopefully react. I’ve got stories to tell. I’ve written a lot of them down. I’ve even filmed some of them, but I’ve always waited–for film festivals, for broadcasters, for agents and now for publishers.

And you know what? I hate line-ups. Almost nothing is worth the time lining up takes–especially when you can order it online. So let’s do that.
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Upcoming POKE THE BOX posts (not necessarily in this order, as the 1st topic, aka sticky note, is the most daunting):

  • If you had a chance to do a TED talk, what would it be about?
  • You haven’t poked the box if the box doesn’t realize it’s been poked.
  • The challenge is to focus on the work, not on the fear that comes from doing the work.
  • Hollerado
  • 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 could build anything (and you can) what would you build?
  • If you can’t fail, it doesn’t count. &  When was the last time you set out to be promiscuous in your failure?
  • Don’t speak up. If you see something, don’t say anything. & Speaking up is not safe. People might get offended.
  • “There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way, and not starting.” – Siddhartha Gautama via POKE THE BOX
4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2011 3:41 PM

    So does this mean you’re going to take more of a role in the actual dissemination of your writing? Self-publishing, self-producing and ultimately, self-distribution? Does the book have tips about taking this challenging role, or is it just encouragement to even try?

    • March 30, 2011 3:49 PM

      Karen – actually the book is more about “doing” than “trying”. It makes an interesting argument that it is not just about initiating something but actually finishing (even in the face of failure). And yes, you will see some self-published works from me very soon. Also I believe the next book coming out from The Domino Project, DO THE WORK, will hopefully be more tip filled. Thanks for reading and commenting! Would love to chat about it further – seeing as you rock at “doing” rather than “trying”!!

  2. March 30, 2011 7:19 PM

    All of Seth’s books are great–“The Purple Cow” is a classic.

    Not to be overly picky, but I read this post twice and I didn’t really know much about how you felt about the book. I don’t think you’ve actually shared your reaction yet. But maybe that’s for upcoming posts.

    • March 30, 2011 7:36 PM

      Darren – 1st thanks for reading. 2nd- looks like I have 9 more reaction posts coming, so if I didn’t make it clear the book has really focused and affected me in a way I want to share and share and share. Haven’t read
      Purple Cow yet and you’ve previously recommended The Tribe to me as well.

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