Nov 17, 2011- Business Book Review- Seth Godin’s We Are All Weird

“Rich is a word for someone who can afford to make choices, who has enough resources to do more than merely survive.  Not just choices about what to buy, but choices about how to live. ” – Seth Godin

Personal Favorite Points/ Highlights/Excerpts taken directly from the book:

1.) Mass is dead.  Here comes weird.

Mass is what we call the undifferentiated, the easily reached majority that seeks to conform and survive.

 Weird are what we call people who aren’t normal.

2.) The Freedom To Choose To be Weird

There are collisions of ideas and cultures and concepts, all unexpected, often filled with positive energy.

Weird means that you’ve made a choice, that you’ve stood up for what you believe in and done what you want, not what the marketer wants.  More and more, that’s precisely what’s happening.

An affirmative choice to be weird

 The weird aren’t loners.  They’re not alone, either.  The weird are weird because they’ve forgone the comfort and efficiency of mass and instead they’re forming smaller groups, groups where their weirdness is actually expected.

The key element of being weird is this: you insist on making a choice.

As productivity has skyrocketed, so has our ability to do what we’d like instead of merely focusing on survival. 

*****

Personal Reflections:

Seth Godin’s latest book “We Are All Weird” embraces creativity at its core, but the most striking thing in his short  book is his definition of riches.

(Smart Reading Tips: I read this copy in my iPad Kindle app by renting books through e-bookfling!  I think Amazon Kindle library also lets you download kindle books for free for Amazon Prime customers.  I lend my Kindle books here  so that I can get credits and read books from the community for free.  It’s a neat way of harnessing a mutual ecosystem of book readers) 

I realized that Seth is right.  Riches are all about expansion of choices.  One is considered rich when one can choose.  It makes the cliche “beggars can’t be choosers” a larger definition.  To me, if one is truly rich, one has the ability to choose the path he takes, create and live with his choices and enlarge his opportunities more and more.  If one has more money, but is limited or rather enslaved by his money to act in certain manners or assume a certain lifestyle that one’s not comfortable with, one never can be called rich.

You can only be considered rich if you are able to choose your passion.

Rich isn’t a measure of a bank balance.  Rich is making a choice and choosing an identity and following a path that matters to you.

Poor means no choice, and that the provider gets to choose.

As long as we give people choices, we make them richer.

We improve everyone and our own’s well being by enabling choice.

Today, there are a lot of people who have access to technology, and have seen their choices grow exponentially not merely for consumption channels in the way of media.  The biggest cultural shift is that the Internet (Social Media) has amplified everyone’s ability to make an impact on one’s culture.  It’s easier more than ever to make a video, spread an idea and live surrounded by like-minded people.  Picassos will never be alone in this world today.  The open door is an invitation reinforcing the impulse to create and be weird.

Artists, performers, and geniuses of all kinds can post their work online, see how others improve it, and then raise their game in return.  For instance, watch Kagemu -Black Sun :

Beyonce copies the act and follows with her own rendition of projected motion graphics

For more videos by Nobuyuki Hanabusa, see http://hana-busa.jp/. To see more work by Orientarhythm, visit http://www.orientarhythm.com/

The book cites many examples such as Threadless where graphic designers around the world design T shirts.  This is a company without an art department.  Customers (members range from freelance designers to professional designers themselves) design tshirts and other items selling to their other customers (members).

I’m sure at any moment now, a Filipino inspired graphic designer will probably incorporate Spoofs-type related to the Arroyo’s and the Lima headlines, or the DPWH Photoshop case before and happily sell it online while everyone’s still talking about it.  Oh, btw for Filipinos who are into design, in case you guys haven’t checked Punch Drunk Panda.  It’s a site that customizes laptopsleeves, camera straps and so forth. I think my friend’s business is flourishing and growing, with a larger and larger niche of people wanting to personalize and customize their techie gadgets.

The ability to make what the market desires.  The ability to identify and connect these non-mass pockets of interest encourage further weirdness from whatever niche we are in.

As soon as merchants discovered that they could make a profit by being different, they began to work at being different.

My own experience, is that every friend of mine right now is selling me their own “different” take of icecream flavor or brownie flavor for Christmas.  There’s the Jack Daniel brownies, the “spiked” Retox Icecream etc.  I’m not paid to talk about their products.  My point is that, we have so many choices today.

We are rich because we can make a choice.  If we can add people who make just a few dollars a day to the list of people entitled to the choice, we’ll have opened the doors to half of the world.  This is what Paul Polak, author of Out of Poverty, does in his IDE enterprises which I will write a book review upon.  The man and his works, and all of his team is making the marketplace bigger and bigger for everyone—even those with less than a dollar a day of income.

In this age of weird, the only alternative, since we cannot please everyone, is to be important to that “few people” who love us and our interests.  Sooner or later, before you know it “that few people” is worth thousands or even millions who share the same passions and interests as you are.  Our own little circles is in fact what we really want.

  “The opportunity lies in being the one that the weird seek out.  Which means you must be weird as well.”

The result of this is a cycle that encourages customized, optimized, interactions that push people to be individuals, not to fit in.

*****

The Key To Happiness

The ability to be weird, the freedom to make choices, and the ability to be heard are the factors most highly correlated with happiness around the world.  Regardless of income, or race, or geography, when we let people choose among things that are important to them, they become happier.  (Ronald Ingleheart’s Research c/o the book)

Cheers to the millions of individuals and small groups that learn differently, think differently, and dream differently,

Anyway, we are all weird.  You just have to really embrace it.

To weirdness and beyond,

– Faceless Trader/ Miss Bento Books

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