Tribes Book Review

By: Seth Godin

The Power of Tribes and Belonging:

Human beings have an innate desire to belong, rooted in survival instincts from our caveman past. Seth Godin defines tribes as groups connected by individuals, a leader, and an idea. In modern times, the internet has led to a realization that work satisfaction comes from believing in what we do, and organizations are shifting away from factory-centric models.

The Importance of Tribes Today:

The internet has triggered significant shifts: people seek meaningful work, organizations move away from traditional models, and consumers choose products aligned with their beliefs. This marks the “end of average,” creating a vast shortage of leaders for flourishing tribes. Godin outlines five key points, emphasizing the need for everyone in an organization to lead, increased leverage for individuals, and the rewards of creating remarkable products and services.

Leadership vs. Management:

Traditional management involves telling people what to do, but in the modern era, leadership is about inciting movements. Modern leaders empower tribes to communicate and connect, creating movements through shared interests and effective communication. Godin highlights that turning a group into a tribe requires only a shared interest and a means of communication.

Characteristics of Successful Tribes:

Godin illustrates tribes using examples like Wikipedia and CrossFit, emphasizing that impact isn’t solely about tribe size. Tribes can be powerful regardless of their scale, and success lies in connecting members and enabling communication. Leaders must understand that their tribe won’t appeal to everyone, but those who resonate will become passionate advocates.

Making the Choice to Lead:

Choosing to be remarkable involves discomfort, criticism, and the fear of failure. Remarkable people, like Elon Musk, face discomfort head-on and lead by doing. Leaders initiate change, understanding that the new may not immediately surpass the old. Tribes start as micro-movements, and leaders must embrace discomfort to create something new.

Launching a Movement:

Five essential steps for starting a movement include publishing a manifesto, making it easy for followers to connect, facilitating connections among followers, understanding that money is a means, not the end, and tracking progress. Six principles for movement success involve transparency, a movement bigger than oneself, sustained growth, clarity in comparison to the status quo, exclusion of outsiders, and a focus on building followers up, not tearing others down.

The Essence of Leadership and Building Tribes:

Leadership is simplistically about envisioning the future and rallying a tribe to reach that destination. The courage to lead, persisting despite criticism, positions leaders to change the world. Godin concludes by highlighting the unprecedented opportunity to build tribes in the present era and emphasizes the choice between leading or following, urging individuals to vote with their actions.


Seth Godin’s exploration of tribes and leadership in his book underscores the fundamental human need for belonging and connection. As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, the concept of tribes has evolved, extending beyond survival instincts to encompass shared interests and a desire for meaningful work. Godin challenges traditional notions of management, advocating for a new form of leadership that incites movements and empowers tribes through effective communication. He emphasizes the power of even small tribes, illustrating that impact lies in meaningful connections rather than sheer size. The book encourages individuals to choose leadership, embracing discomfort and initiating change. The principles for launching a movement provide a practical guide, stressing transparency, sustained growth, and the importance of a movement larger than oneself. Ultimately, Godin paints a picture of leadership simplicity: envisioning the future, organizing tribes, and, with courage and persistence, changing the world in an era ripe with opportunities for tribe-building.

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