Why Doesn’t Seth Godin Tell Me Exactly HOW to Be a Purple Cow?

I am currently reading Seth Godin’sPurple Cow”. I am enjoying his book and I figured I would because I enjoy reading his blog. There are other authors that I enjoy as well as that are similar to Seth Godin’s style including Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), Mitch Albom (Tuesday’s with Morrie) and Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team). They all have something in common…conversational storytelling. They share bits of wisdom and practical advice through stories, metaphors and antecdotes. 

It is through conversational storytelling (books, blogs, podcasts, face-to-face conversations) that I get more ideas than I do from “how-to” books. And here’s why. Conversational storytelling does not guide me through a step-by-step process. It inspires me. It speaks to me as an individual.

Before I started reading Purple Cow, I read a few reviews on GoodReads. There were several 1-2 star reviews, because the reader wanted a step-by-step guide to transform their business by “being remarkable”. They wanted to be told exactly how to do it. They missed the point. Godin’s purpose was not to guide and hold our hand, but to inspire creative thinking.

This got me thinking. In our culture of wanting everything now, we are losing the ability to think for ourselves. I have seen this at times with my children who are all teenagers now. The moment something becomes challenging, they begin to look for the quick-n-easy, step-by-step process whether it is a Boy Scout requirement, school homework or relational issue. It is in those times that I encourage them to think it through and try to solve the problem at hand. I am amazed at the solutions they find which are often very different than the solution I had in my head. In fact, my challenge is to remain quiet without injecting my opinion or solution first. Otherwise, I become that how-to in verbal form. In the end, they are often proud of their idea that solved the problem and I am proud of them because I see them take a step closer in problem-solving maturity.

The point is…Purple Cow and other books like Purple Cow are not meant to be a step-by-step guide to successful marketing, leadership or whatever the topic. It is meant to encourage people to think creatively for themselves. Not hold our hands. There are plenty of books that do that already. 

Want to become a respected thought leader in your field? Starting thinking for yourself. Read books by Seth Godin, Donald Miller and others…not to become replicas of them…but to bring out your unique creativity through thinking for yourself.

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