“Poke the Box” Reviewed

This afternoon I devoured Seth Godin’s new book, Poke the Box.

As an activator, someone accustomed to starting things, I found much to love in this rant, as Godin calls it, devoted to encouraging all of us to start things, lots of things.

As a Guiding Coalition practitioner, I found a lot to enjoy relative to how we have institutionalized the behaviors of starting boldly, improvising as we go along, and being okay with failure of first concepts without losing momentum to keep trying to win.

Here are a few of my favorite snip-its from Poke the Box:

All my Guiding Coalition friends should be able to announce proudly the last line of this clip.

“What do you do here?”

That’s a question I often ask people in organizations.  It’s interesting to hear people describe their roles, their jobs, their sets of tasks.  Some people are self-limiting (“I sort the TPS reports every Thursday”), while others are grandiose (“I’m responsible for our culture”).

Almost no one says, “I start stuff.”

A truth that needs to be more often repeated.

If your project doesn’t have movement, then compared to the rest of the wold, you’re actually moving backward.

This is sadly true.

Those who fear risk also being to fear movement of any kind.”

This is a rallying cry:

…find the energy and the will to challenge the mediocre.”

I love this one:

…the new system depends on unpredictable human beings adding unscheduled insights.

My favorite paragraph title and a strong ending

Organizing for joy …These are the companies that give their people the freedom (and the expectation) that they will create, connect, and surprise. These are the organizations that embrace someone who makes a difference, as opposed to searching the employee handbook for a rule that was violated.


Forward motion is a defensible business asset.

Check out Poke the Box.  Since it is only 84, small, quick pages, you too can fly through the book and begin a whole new level of initiating–driving change!

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