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  • Steven Wilson-Beales

Book Review: ‘Linchpin’ by Seth Godin, Lizard King

Apologies Godin fans if I’m a bit late to the party on this one but I’ve finally finished reading ‘Linchpin’. It was such a bizarre experience I had to write something about it.

Firstly, if you’re looking to introduce a step-change in your career then this is a great motivational read. To paraphrase Godin: It’s all about injecting creativity and risk into your professional life to counter the kind of debasing commodity-exchange structure we find in modern capitalism. Technology enables us now to become ‘agents of change’ – we just need to be brave enough to recognise the opportunities around us and take the leap.

Stirring stuff.

Then he starts talking about Lizards.

Here’s the thing – I like Lizards, I don’t have anything particularly bad to say about our reptilian friends. But when they are used by Godin to represent the repressive side of our psyche as id (oops) this was some kind of new idea, then I start to worry a bit.

I worry because I’m sad like that – I used to be a philosophy student and old academic habits die hard. Godin might reference Marx quite a bit in this book but his main argument (take the leap, follow aesthetics, fight the Lizard within us) are so lifted from Freud and Nietzsche that I wonder if I’m reading anything new here at all.

That’s a familiar criticism I have about digital soothsayers like Godin, they have a tendency to refashion the past in their own image. A bit cheeky if you ask me and a bit taxing when you’re made to wade through 236 pages.

Maybe I’m being a little unfair. It was a motivational read, it motivated me to write this blog. Useful to carry around when you need a bit of creative boost, like listening your favourite rock n’roll band. But, I got lost at the Lizards.

Because, Seth, there was only ever one true Lizard King…

…and his name was Jim Morrison.


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