Seth Godin and Esther Perel Discuss Their Favorite Books on The Tim Ferriss Show

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Key Takeaways


Let’s start with Seth…

Book #1 – The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde

  • Seth & his team gave The Gift to many of the first few thousand people who participated in his altMBA program
  • “It’s about the muse, being a genius. It’s about culture. It’s about society. It’s about the fact that the thing that binds us together is that we are able to create something because we got a gift from who knows where. We can turn that thing we created into a connection. We can do it by sharing. As we share with one another, we open doors.” –Seth Godin
  • Particularly when he’s feeling burnt out, Seth gives The Gift a read

Book #2 – The Pursuit of Wow! Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-Turvy Times by Tom Peters

  • Tom is also the author of In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies, another book Seth enjoyed
  • “You don’t have to read many of the books I’ve written if you just read The Pursuit of Wow – Seth Godin
  • The main point of the book: People who care can make a difference and “business as usual” isn’t going to cut it anymore
  • Seth adds: “Thank you, Tom, for showing me that putting energy into the work really can pay dividends” 

Book #3 – The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson

  • “This is a book I wish I had written” – Seth Godin
  • “If you care how ideas spread in our culture, and want to understand issues around scarcity and abundance, and how we pick what we want in an era where the gatekeepers have left the building, The Long Tail will help you see it” – Seth Godin

Book #4 – Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore

  • Crossing the Chasm helps us understand that it’s a false myth to believe we can start with an idea for a few people and ride it from early adopter to early majority to late majority to laggard” – Seth Godin
  • The book’s guiding principle: Getting to the “other side” is a LOT more difficult than it looks
    • Tim, though, did a great job of “crossing the chasm,” going from writing blog posts for geeks and nerds hacking their lifestyle all the way to 500 million podcast downloads

Book #5 – Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts by Annie Duke

  • “The first chapter alone will change your life” – Seth Godin
  • The books main point: Decisions and outcomes are different – a good decision may very well lead to a lousy outcome (but that doesn’t mean it was a bad decision)

Book (Poem) #6 – B by Sarah Kay

  • B is a simple poem from a mother to her daughter, and I have to confess, I get choked up every time I read it”Seth Godin
    • “If you have a mother, if you have a daughter, this is a great gift to share with them”

Book #7 – The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz

  • Ever since meeting her, Jacqueline has had a profound impact on Seth’s life
  • The Blue Sweater is the true story of how one woman has decided to change philanthropy, capitalism, development, and the way 2 billion poor people… engage with markets, engage with the privileged part of the world, and engage with each other” – Seth Godin

On to Esther…

Book #1 – Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg

  • A question related to the book that Esther has been pondering her whole life:
    • “What is it that disconnects us from our compassionate nature and leads us to behave violently and exploitatively? But on the other hand, what is it that allows some people to remain connected to their compassionate nature in the most challenging of circumstances?”
  • Nonviolent Communication stresses the importance of language that soothes and repairs conflicts

Book #2 – Fighting for Your Marriage: A Deluxe Revised Edition of the Classic Best-seller for Enhancing Marriage and Preventing Divorce by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg

  • On this surface, this is a book about marriage, but one layer deeper, it’s a study of the underlying issues that shape the way we relate
  • The book explores the 3 main dynamics which underlie conflicts:
    • A fight about power and control
    • A fight about care and closeness
    • A fight about respect and recognition 

Book #3 – Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance Over Time by Stephen A. Mitchell

  • This book discusses the delicate balance between the different kinds of human needs – the need for stability, safety, and security with the need for change, passion, novelty, and mystery
  • “How we straddle security and adventure, tradition and change, familiarity and novelty, comfort and edge, I think, today, is a central challenge for couples as well as for companies” Esther Perel

Book #4 – Liquid Life by Zygmunt Bauman

  • “His [Zygmunt’s] description of nomadism gave me a whole new path of thinking” – Esther Perel
    • The book describes how we’ve dismantled the traditional structures and networks that used to give us support, and now we live under conditions of constant uncertainty where “the burdens of the self have never been heavier”

Book #5 – Family Healing: Strategies for Hope and Understanding by Salvador Minuchin

  • Salvador is a personal mentor of Esther’s 
    • “He gave me a map for thinking about relationships systemically, tracking the invisible rules that govern the maps of relationships between people” – Esther Perel
  • Reading Family Healing, Esther says, will change your whole way of understanding relationships

Additional Notes

  • “The book business isn’t a business, it’s a passion and organized hobby. It’s a chance for 20 bucks to own something you can keep on your shelf and go back to again and again… Seeing the world as it is, and then choosing to make it better, I don’t know more that we could ask for.” – Seth Godin
  • “It’s the quality of our relationships that determines the quality of our lives” – Esther Perel
  • Questions (and comments) Esther things we should all ponder:
    • “What are some of the stories you tell yourself that don’t serve you anymore?”
    • “Give a time when you changed your mind”
    • “What would say is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?”
    • “Would you say you were raised more for autonomy or for loyalty?”
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Notes By MMiller

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