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Review of Tribes, by Seth Godin

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Book review by Shannon DePaul and Scott Roger

We were assigned to read Tribes by Seth Godin. The book takes a look into the importance of leadership and its profound effect on groups or Tribes. The intended purpose of the book, from what we took away from it, is to aid the average person in becoming a well-developed leader in these changing times. Godin offers a plethora of tips and instructions with real life examples from his own life and others.

At the start we called into question Godin’s credibility as it seemed opinionated but as the book progressed we grew to trust his convictions. His application of real life situations and use of evidence help to make this happen. Godin demonstrates good leadership and successful tribes, by showing us the mishaps of failed tribes. Thus Godin makes for a clear distinction between what to strive for and what to avoid in regards to leadership and working in groups.

Tribes have been formed for millions of years around the world. Even before people started using language they assembled into groups that were connected by a main idea. These groups were also connected to a leader. This is the most important person in a tribe. Throughout the book, Godin tries to explain how in today’s society, it is important for the leader to accept and appreciate change while be innovative instead of traditional. Some companies fail because they are stuck with the same management for years who do not create new ways of doing things. Leaders are different from managers, because they do not fear what could happens if they break from the status quo. This stance on leadership was inspiring as it challenges us as readers to do more as leaders now and always.

Throughout history, tribes formed in communities and could be either large or small. Today, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it is easy for a tribe to be made up of thousands of people. In the book Godin uses the example of the band The Grateful Dead, to show how they used a tribe to create a following. The band used live performance to show that the fans could experience the music together.

The themes presented in the book are relevant to social media because everyday people communicate with their online connections.  This is a form of a tribe. This can be found evident, in blogs and Twitter. People are distributing their ideas to their followers quickly and efficiently through the Internet. Godin is interested in tightening organizations by spreading ideas.

All in all, this book was informative. We adopt some of his ideas into our own lives, and take from it his lessons on effectively leading a tribe to success.


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