What others reviewers are raving about is how this book is about doers . . . kind of, but not really. This book is about people who fancy themselves single-handedly able to change the world. Change being the operative word.
Which means they are discontent now, want things to be different and heretofore really haven’t done squat about it. You and I know them as whiners. If they’re just out of college they really want to travel Europe staying in youth hostels. They think the answer, the Change, is out there. Somewhere else. Away from here.
The first 48 pages . . . Set. Me. Off.
Like reign of terror “set me off.”
Here’s what really gets my panties in a wad, he attacks the underpinnings of Mastery.
Even worse, he specifically attacks memorizing fractions….
You KNOW how I feel about fractions . . . and multiplication tables.
The reason you learn multiplication tables and fractions is for deeper domain understanding. You start to see the number 6 not as the visual 6 but as little chunks of 2s and 3s – you get understanding of the properties of numbers which is what leads you to discovery.
He later circles back to the concept of Mastery as a good thing, but …
He implies that the “always on Wikipedia” can get the answers we need when we need them. Really? What an incredibly shallow existence you must lead if Wikipedia can answer all of your questions. Can we thrive without domain knowledge?
Picasso didn’t start in his Cubist period. He started by learning the techniques of the masters before him. He started with rote painting.
Great art – the visual, the intellectual, the emotional – starts with expression of mastery. You must understand your materials before you can really give of yourself.
The other major issue I take with Linchpin is Godin’s perpetual reference to employers as huge faceless organizations. It is true that 64% of the population works for companies with >100 people. But that means 36% of us work for companies with less than 100 people. Half of those work for companies with less than 20 people (see Statistics of US Businesses at census.gov, link keeps moving). He refers to employees as wanting to contribute more, but being told to just fit in.
That hasn’t been my experience. How about yours?
He are some facts for your noodle:
1. 18% Americans are employed at companies with less than 20 people
2. 64% employed at companies with >100
3. Critical thinking skills + creative problem solving skills for those who do rote drills versus those who do not.
As for me, I’ve done different jobs at different times in life because that is my path. Despite my fussing with Godin’s Linchpin, I suspect he would agree, the change you need to seek is within you. The world “out there” changes when you change yourself.
So, reasonable people should skip the first 48 pages of the book.
Have you read it? What do you think?
**In all fairness, his attack on fractions, page 45, is more of a slight. But no one messes with my numbers.
Image courtesy of Steve Hodgson