This book is written by Seth Godin. He's perhaps most well known for his books Purple Cow and the Dip. He also has a ver popular blog.

Book summary

This book describes what Seth thinks a Linchpin is, why you should want to be a linchpin, and tries to explain how to become a linchpin.

A linchpin is indispensable, remarkable, insightful, an artist, and poses a unique talent. Every organization relies on some linchpins. A linchpin doesn't follow a set process. And a linchpin doesn't just have expert domain knowledge.

In the first chapter of the book 'the new world of work,' Seth argues that the world has changed - in the past, people did what they were told, followed instructions - and argues that in the age of increasing outsourcing and automation, this approach to work is no longer what it was. Once Seth has set out what a linchpin is, he then discusses our choice - linchpin or cog.

Seth devouts a chapter to becoming a linchpin, then a chapter to doing hard work in a cubicle.

I think I found the following two chapters the most interesting of the book - the chapters about 'The Resistance' and 'The powerful culture of gifts.' The key theme of 'The Resistance' chapter is that - 'real artists ship' - and provides insights into why people don't finish and don't ship. In the 'The Gift' chapter, Seth discusses the power of giving and receiving gifts.

Seth then returns to the theme of how to become a linchpin and the choice we need to make in the chapters. He also devouts a chapter on what to do when his advice isn't working.

My thoughts

I'm not entirely comfortable using the term 'artist' in the way Seth does. In the Chinese village, Dafen replica paintings are produced en masse - he believes that the people who paint these pictures aren't artists. He also believes that 'some classical musicians aren't artists.' Personally, I'd describe these people as artists. But I can see that a word can have multiple meanings - and I don't think that this undermines the thrust of his argument, as long as you can hold these two different definitions of the word in your head.

On the cover of the book, it asks, 'Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future' - I'd suggest this book is as much a pep talk as it is a how too - the first section in the introduction has the title - 'You are a genius.'

I think the most part, I agree with a lot of his assessment. I found this to be quite an easy read, and my summary here in no way does the book justice. There are some useful and thought-provoking ideas in there - including a few that I can start using straight away.