Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Poke the Box” as Want to Read:
Poke the Box
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Poke the Box

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  5,619 ratings  ·  491 reviews
We send our kids to school and obsess about their test scores, their behavior, and their ability to fit in.

We post a help wanted ad and look for experience, famous colleges, and a history of avoiding failure.

We invest in companies based on how they did last quarter, not on what they’re going to do tomorrow.

So why are we surprised when it all falls apart?

Our economy is not
Hardcover, 85 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Do You Zoom, Inc. (first published January 17th 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Poke the Box, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Poke the Box

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Riku Sayuj

Half way through the book, I had decided that this book merits only a one sentence review: Seth Godin, surprisingly, turns out to be Mr. Obvious.

After finishing the book, I have realized that this would not be fair. I particularly liked the section on Intellectual Integrity and Seth's point that anyone not putting his ideas into the world is actually stealing them from the world and should be treated as such. Yes, every section in the book is repetitive and makes the same exhortation again an a
It's difficult to argue with Seth Godin's logic. He is incredibly quotable, yet when you read him you have the nagging impression that he isn't saying anything you don't already know. This seems truer in this short, quick read than in any of his other books.

I don't think he would argue the point. In fact in Poke the Box, he basically says that very thing when encouraging the reader to do what you see needs to be done. We shouldn't have to say it. But if everyone knows it, then why aren't they do
Kate B
Hey look, I started a negative review! Look at me poking the box! In fact let me take even more initiative and tell you in one sentence what he wrings torturously into a 'book': successful people are the ones that aren't afraid to try something new and fail, repeatedly, so you should get off your ass and take initiative in all aspects of your life.

While I don't disagree with his thesis, Godin's book is dreadful to read. It's not a lengthy book by any stripe, but still ends up being way too long
Um, pretty empty...

Hm. I'll agree it's a rant. It has a manifesto feeling to it, but jeez, it really doesn't say much. I'll summarize:

* Let's adopt an inappropriate metaphor: a friend made a black box with switches and buzzers and such and gave it to his son, who poked at it. Poking the box = doing stuff even if you might fail. Uh, what?
* Okay, now let's encourage everyone to try stuff, embrace the possibility of failure, because otherwise, great things won't happen. Okay, cool.
* But that's abou
James Cridland
I've worked out what Seth Godin does, and it's very simple. He takes one valid and interesting thought, and writes it in lots of different ways to fill a book.

What Seth has done in this book, I discover, is that he's had one good idea, and expanded on it, repeatedly, to make a book out of it.

Seth's a clever man, because essentially this book is full of one concept, which he's phrased and paraphrased, over and over again, to comfortably fill quite a lot of pages.

What's kind of happened here, you'
Guy Gonzalez
Poke the Box should have been titled Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - The Remix as Godin brings nothing new to the table other than a relationship with Amazon and some promotional pricing gimmicks. It's his usual mix of paper-thin insights and exhortations to be bold! to lead! to ship! -- but with notably less energy or conviction than usual, as if he wrote it in between blog posts over a rare quiet weekend.

I pre-ordered the Kindle version for $1 and read it in a total of about 2 hours, and woul
Ryan Agrimson
Poke the Box by Seth Godin is the kick in the butt everyone may need. Poke the Box encourages all minds to start up and go. It's good to have ideas, and it's even better to set those ideas into fruition. Godin mentions that one of the largest contributors to holding people back from great things is FEAR. Fear to offend others. Fear of being uncomfortable. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. He makes a compelling point that this may happen, and the better you are, the more it will happen. Not nec ...more
Janette Fuller
Seth Godin has written a book that will challenge you to start...initiate...begin...GO!
This is a manifesto about starting. Starting a project, making a ruckus, taking what feels like a risk.
This is not a book about thinking about it or making a plan.
It is about going beyond the point of no return...leaping...committing...making something happen.
This book is about having the guts and the heart and the passion to ship. The challenge is getting into the habit of starting. The desire to move for
This was a fun little book, with catchy neologisms (‘unbrainwashing’) and turns of phrase (‘reject the tyranny of picked’) that markets well as a novelty. The title derives from a story about a father who designed a toy for a child that was respond with lights and sounds to manipulation and ‘poking’. Poke the Box is about the need to do something, better now than soon, to initiate change. It very much follows, without naming it, the Gandhi-principle, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” ...more
If you're looking for scientific statistical analysis for the recipe of success, the book is definitely not for you. This book is a manifesto that aims to rally people to start innovating that not only stops at ideation but goes all the way and takes risk to execute it and find out if it works or not.

This book is to encourage us to abandon our fear of 'this might not work' but to really find out if it works. This book is also for managers or organizations that adhere to 'failure free' policy an
Aaron Goldfarb
Seth Godin's new book "Poke the Box" could be a companion manifesto to my book "How to Fail." Forgive my arrogance in saying a thirteen-time bestseller's highly-anticipated new book could be a companion to my own, but Seth essentially says in "Poke the Box" that egomania can be good. Especially when it turns you into an initiator.

"Poking the box" is Seth's call for initiative. We live in a world predominantly without initiative, where people would rather maintain the status quo than shake things
POKE THE BOX is mainly for entrepreneurs (both social and business), but since the author claims: "This is a Manifesto about Starting," it could also be a book about Life. It features Seth Godin's hallmark style of taking every day things and helping you see them from a fresh and motivating perspective. The title comes from thinking about a child with a buzzer box (the kind with switches, some lights, and other controls that result in lights blinking, buzzers buzzing, etc.). A child will start p ...more
Jan 07, 2013 Megankellie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Megankellie by: The Internet
This guy totally had me until he pushed my personal buttons.

Some Questions: Is the whole "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule some kind of a regional thing? When you add four beers to yourself and you go on and on about something you don't like, your very raw feelings--are you finally admitting honest feelings which you have repressed or have you been chemically altered into a beer-fueled asshole? When you die, will St. Peter make you openly admit your true
Book Review
Poke the Box by Seth Godin

Published by Do You Zoom, Inc. 2011; 96 pp.

Yes, that is the cover of this book. Go figure. Seth Godin is supposed to be some kind of management guru, if you were to listen to his fans and his self-promotion. It was for this reason that it seemed like a good idea to read his latest book. It wasn’t. Godin writes in sound bites. Either he has spent too much time composing for Twitter or he has too many thoughts trying to spill out at one time – or some other re
Are you the box needing a poke?

Wow. Seth Godin’s newest book Poke the Box has been out for a mere 3 days, and I notice there are already 14 reviews on Goodreads and 46 more at Blogger buzz was singing high notes in my feed reader.

As an author it’s easy to feel the green monster of envy breathing down your neck, for Godin has quite a tribe of sneezers (as he calls his vocal audience of idea spreaders). However I’m someone who’s feeling mighty grateful for the energy he’s stirring up.
Seth Godin writes a manifesto in "Poke the Box" which exists to say primarily one thing: "Make something happen."

He focuses heavily on initiative, its relevance, and diagnosing many reasons people don't take initiative. He also discusses its importance in the economy.

So, if money and access and organizational might aren't the foundation of the connected economy, what is?


Godin wrote this manifest such that it's simple to read, easy to ingest, and full of quotable bites. At a length of
This whole book can be summed up in one word: "Go." However, folks won't buy a one-word book, so Seth Godin spent a few more electrons to elaborate on what form that might take.

For me, the simple message is that when I spot something that I wish someone were bringing into being... I can be that someone. Having done this a few times before, I know this, but by gum, it's easy to forget it.

Inertia takes over, and we find ourselves back on the couch wishing that someone would just do something abou
A nearly empty book of 84 pages. Godin comes up with an obtuse metaphor for starting (Poke the Box!) and then twists it 15 different ways. He never settles on a solid thesis. Along the way he mangles the language, puts way too much emphasis on failure and way too little emphasis on quality. I've liked Godin books in the past, but this one read like a rushed series of blog posts mashed together. Some fault falls on the editing since ideas contradict each other within a few pages. Laying out the c ...more
A short and sweet bit of cheerleading for taking action, for what that's worth. My favorite anti-fear/laziness hack is when he invokes the moral case for frequently trying and failing. "Wasting the opportunity both degrades your own ability to contribute and, more urgently, takes something away from the rest of us." I'm always a sucker for arguments reminding you to see the "unseen" too in your analysis.

The Buddha quote at the end is nice too "There are two mistakes one can make along the road
Melek G.
More a way too long blog post than a writing that is worth being a book on its own. Good message though.
Dan Mattson
In spite of the choppy style of writing and shotgun approach to presenting ideas and illustrations, the common thread comes through clear - It's time to start something and make something happen, even if you fail. In fact failure is a good thing as it eventually leads to success. When we were young, we dreamed and did stuff because we wanted to - at some time in our lives we learned to stay in the box, fit in, etc. ANYWAY - TIME TO START SOMETHING, ACT ON AN IDEA, DO SOMETHING OUT OF THE NORM... ...more
As one reviewer said about Godin, he's eminently quotable but you get the sense that he isn't saying anything you don't already know. I agree. Especially with this book.

One sentence synopsis: If you aren't trying new things, you should be. Not just as an individual but as a business, as an institution, and as a society. Bonus sentence: We (the royal we) need to get past the point of being so critical of failure. What we need to be more critical of are those who never try anything new and always
Daniel Messer
If you want to know anything about my attitude toward work, and I mean working in libraries and in my own studio, this is the book you need to read. Don't worry. It's short. You'll get through it in a couple of hours, if that.

Seth Godin really didn't say much I didn't already know, but he said it in a way that I couldn't. Basically, I have no problems taking chances and acting on something I think is a good idea. I have no fear of failure in this regard because failure is usually a first step to
Tim Johnson
I appreciate what Godin is attempting to accomplish but the effort seems to fall a bit short. Perhaps it's just that I've got my geek hackles up because when you start bashing Yoda, that's right, Yoda; I feel the need to defend.

This is Godin's manifesto on initiative. His goal is to cajole people into starting something and he claims to not even care what it is they start. As long as something is initiated and seen through to the finish. That's a fair enough goal.

One of the problems is that the
Michael Parker
Maybe I needed this months ago. Maybe I'm reading it at just the right time.

After I graduated and got a job, I stopped starting and fell into the trap of maintaining. About a month ago, after a few days off from work, I noticed the lull and kicked things into high gear. This is a great book to recommend or buy for someone who feels stuck, hasn't started, or hasn't shipped.

It's also a wonderful kick in the ass if you've been making excuses to not start things.

Maybe the bloom is falling off the rose, but I wasn't bowled over by Seth Godin's latest. I agree with his Domino Project publishing efforts, and think he's a sharp and wise person, but this latest offering seemed disjointed and repetitive. "Poke the Box" builds on concepts in Linchpin, but seems unremarkable for a book dedicated to its premise. In my opinion, the content would have been better edited and served as a blog post. Sorry Mr. Godin.
J Scott Shipman
Pressfield recommended this slim title a week or so back. My first Seth Godin title and I was skeptical. This is good stuff, a kick in the seat of the pants. If you've not read Pressfield's The War of Art---between that classic and this, there will be no place to hide, no reason "not to do." Get this book, it is simple but powerful!
This short book has an even shorter message - go do it. In fact, Godin is so effective at impelling you into action, that reading the second half of the book seems like guilty procrastination.

Reminds me of the writing instructor who convened his seminar with, "Why aren't you all home writing?" and promptly left the hall.
Matt Maples
This is a very good book that challenged me to take risk and start something. So often we have great ideas or thoughts and we just don't act on them. Consequently, many great ideas are never realized and the world is not improved through their existence. So the purpose of this book is to challenge us to start something, be willing to fail, and start again. Keep sharing our ideas, and we will be better for having shared with the world.

Seth's style of writing is certainly different from most book
This book (like all Seth's books) was like a bunch of blog posts stuck together. He makes a few really good points and reiterates them multiple times. Take don't be afraid, take initiative, and get to work.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Read This Before Our Next Meeting
  • Do the Work
  • Zarrella's Hierarchy of Contagiousness: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas
  • The Flinch
  • Anything You Want
  • Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
  • Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination
  • The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself
  • Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust
  • End Malaria
  • The Thank You Economy
  • Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.
  • Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
  • The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing
  • The Myth of the Garage: And Other Minor Surprises
  • The Truth about Getting the Best from People (Truth about)
  • Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content
  • EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches
Seth Godin is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change.

Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world, and he is also a renowned speaker. He was recently chosen as one of 21 Speakers for the Next Century by Successful Meetings and is consistently rated among the very best speakers by the audiences he addresses.

Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the indust
More about Seth Godin...
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“I define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance.” 71 likes
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth.   Not going all the way, and not starting.”   Siddhrtha Gautama” 43 likes
More quotes…