Okay, go ahead an get all the jokes about this title out now. Go ahead you have my permission.....Now let's get back to the subject at hand: Poke the Box by Seth Godin. I've had many friends recommend Seth's works so I was excited to see this turn up at the local library just days before I was going on a trip where I would have time to read it. Inside the book jacket featured one of my favorite quotes "When was the last time that you did something for the first time?" (I still shiver hearing Sean Corvelle ask these words at the start of each World's Toughest Mudder). I was so confident that this would be right up my alley, that I even put it in my Amazon cart for purchase. I often will start a book from the library and then purchase it so that I can mark it up (yes I'm that guy that underlines, circles, and writes all over the margins). Only a few pages in, and I LOVED the concept of this book. Seth wrote this book to put action in the world. To turn people into do'ers instead of play it safers. I was excited and nodding my head after just a few pages....
...but that was as good as it got. Many know that I prefer self help/leadership/business books. I am always looking for a new perspective to improve my life and my business. But what many do not know is that I LOATHE quotes books. You know the ones that are chalked full of great quotes and not much else. Quotes reinforce or emphasize a great story. They themselves are not the story. That is pretty much what this book is. Why write a book of quotes when this would have been better suited as inspirational memes on the internet.
It's not the common formula of plastering famous quotes or famous people's quotes all of the pages, it was Seth taking basically 1-2 points, GO GO GO instead of being worried about failure, and rehashing it in short quips and stories for 80 pages. I am so thankful that this was a short book. Since I am a completionist (not sure that is a real thing, but I cannot leave before the ending of a book/movie/etc. Even if it is terrible I stay through the end. I mean someone had to think this was a good idea and bankroll it so I don't want to miss that final nugget of wisdom that is right at the end and makes the whole book worth it). This book sadly never gave me more than the introductory pages.
I did get a chuckle at the end when on page 80, Seth wrote "In fact, we spend most of our days waiting for permission to start. And that's why I published this rant." That sums up my entire feeling. It was a rant that continued to circle around 1 point. It was a great point, but could have been accomplished in less than 1,000 words. Page 82 summarized the entire book into one simple and powerful page:
"Flying is not safe. You and I both know a dozen or a hundred or thousand ways an angry person can wreck havoc.
Selling is not safe. You might (in fact you will) be rejected.
Golf is not safe. My grandfather died playing golf.
Speaking up is not safe. People might be offended.
Innovation is not safe. You'll fail. Perhaps badly.
Now that we've got that out of the way, what are you going to do about it? Hide? Crouch in a corner and work as hard as you can to fit in?
That's not safe either.
Might as well do something that matters instead."
Matter closed don't fear action, the silent killer is inaction.
Score: 3/10 Would have been a better pdf.
Length: 85 small pages
Retail Cost: $19.95
Read time: Probably 2-3 days if I had enjoyed it. Instead it took 3+ weeks of painfully glossing over the same material.
If you like books full of quotes, quick stories, and a single point repeated so that you don't forget, you can purchase this book HERE ON AMAZON.