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February 17, 2012 > We Are All Weird: an audiobook review

We Are All Weird: an audiobook review

The writing on the package could not be more succinct: One Size Fits All. As you pull the garment from the packaging, you wonder: are the manufacturers serious?

The garment you hold with two fingers is miniscule. It is fashion-doll size. It is crumpled and woefully too tiny for your grown-up body. It is One Size Fits All, but only if the "all" is five months old.

Does anything ever "fit all" in this world any more? No, says Seth Godin. He explains why in his new audiobook, "We Are All Weird."

For a very long time, businesses have reached for the masses. Create a must-have, the old paradigm said. Make something that everybody wants, sell it to the world, and rake in the money. Be everything to everyone.

Godin asserts that, today, this is wrong. Business can no longer be all things to the masses because there are no masses anymore, no top-of-the-bell-curve. Our culture's most influential people are now outliers.

Weird is what sells, says Godin. Weird is normal. Weird can't be faked. Furthermore, "on close inspection, everybody is weird." And we just get weirder.

Weird is unique and individual, and it is made of choices. That is good, says Godin, because choice makes people feel rich. Choice "means more," which is not to say that you should rush out to make more or different products for your clients. No, we are wired to do the new, but not to follow something that gives off the merest whiff of mass. People want businesses that offer choices that are particular, not general.

Since, as Godin claims, this book is not about marketing to niches, how can you attract customers who will sing your praises? First of all, understand that "us" and "not us" does not work anymore. Secondly, do not insist upon conformity to the detriment of talent in your workplace. Most importantly, says Godin, find and assemble your "tribe": the people who are passionate about you and your product. Speak to them alone and your business will prosper.

True to its title, "We Are All Weird" is an odd little audiobook.

Expounding upon a previous book, author Seth Godin takes his "tribe" theories further here, explaining in two hours what I thought could have been said in ten minutes; to wit: people no longer want what everybody else wants, and they are more willing to be fervent about products, causes, and ideals than ever before. Find them, connect with them, sell to them, and they will be loyal.

I appreciated that someone is finally pointing out this "revolution" made real by politics and protests, but "We Are All Weird" is repetitious, scattershot, and worth listening to, but only for the last few tracks. You would be better-served, I think, by looking for something by Malcolm Gladwell, who tackled this subject more suitably.

If you are a big fan and follower of Seth Godin, you might appreciate this audiobook. For most people, though, "We Are All Weird" is not a good fit.

"We Are All Weird" by Seth Godin, performed by the author
c.2011, Brilliance Audio
2 CDs: 2h 16m
$14.99 / $16.99 Canada

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