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[From Seth Godin] Avoid Being a Wandering Generality

Seth Godin on Rich Roll

One of the world’s greatest marketers, Seth Godin, has written dozens of terrific books, including my favorite marketing book, Purple Cow, on how to stand out in business by being remarkable.

Last week I listened to Seth Godin on the Rich Roll podcast and he delivered more wisdom than his usual interview. (And that’s saying something!) My favorite ideas ranged from how to write a book to the danger of being a generalist.

Inspiration, Walking, Writing

Seth Godin’s first book, Permissionless Marketing, broke all kinds of records without meaning to. He wrote the book to get attention for his first internet business, Squidoo. But he sold the business before the book launched and then the combined success crippled him.

With no business to run and checks coming in from his best-seller, Seth sat around unmotivated to write or research.

Then he got a message out of the blue from an unknown author (at the time) and received a galleys copy of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The book “opened the spigot” for Seth to keep creating, and he completed his next book in two weeks. Malcolm Gladwell wrote the front cover blurb.

Surround yourself with other people performing at a high level in your field and you’ll never run out of encouragement and inspiration.

What’s Seth’s advice if you want to write a book? Start by going on walks with someone you like and teach them something useful. When you record the conversations and turn them into a transcript you’ll end up with a great starting point for a book.

** You might also like my summary of Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Everyday. **

Elevator Questions, not Elevator Pitches

Seth’s answer on how he describes what he does really made me scratch my head. He doesn’t like the 30-second self-summary, so he simply tells people he’s an author.

Don’t think of your elevator pitch – no one ever bought anything in an elevator – instead aim for an elevator question, so the other person wants to follow you out and keep talking.

Universal Law of Meaningful Specifics

We have created an entire generation of wandering generalities instead of meaningful specifics… if your slogan is you can pick anyone anywhere then someone else is going to win. You want to be in and of yourself the one and only version of that. So I think that’s a universal law.

If you want to stand out among the competition you need to pick your niche and figure out how to do amazing work in that niche.

Listen: Seth Godin On Creativity & Spreading Big Ideas