Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Over the past week, I’ve been hiding out and reading a new book I bought. For some reason, I could not put the book down until I finally finished it up. So what book was it?

The book was Linchpin by Seth Godin. Seth is not only one of my favorite authors, but he is also one of my role models. The guy is a genius in so many ways and I’ve been a follower of his blog since college.

Whenever he comes out with a new book, I tend to make it a priority to give it a read. After finishing this one up, all I can say is “wow.”

Despite that a lot of the content was not new to me, the book still managed to open my mind in many ways. It’s much different from some of his other books and focuses on being, rather than doing.

Here’s my Linchpin review including some details about the book and what I thought of it.

The System Is Broken

In his book, Godin talks about our current work system and how it is broken. Many tasks that used to be done by white-collar employees can now be done for free, by groups of people or by machines thanks to advancements in technology. A great example of this is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

The idea of just showing up for work and putting in your time no longer works. Unfortunately, most schools teach people how to do this with perfection. When it came to working in an office, I used to be amazing at “just showing up.”

Unfortunately, people have no problems buying into the career system that basically states that if you do what your boss tells you to do, you’ll be fine. And who can blame them? It’s the way we’ve been raised and educated.

It’s Time To Be An Artist

So what is the solution to simply showing up and following orders at work? Becoming an artist.

Seth spends a good part of the book describing the modern-day artis. The modern-day artist doesn’t necessarily work as a painter or a musician. Instead, they are someone who brings their heart and soul to their work, regardless of what it is that they do.

An artist is someone who is willing to do things differently to see results. It doesn’t matter if it’s the difficult road or the road less traveled. An artist will create and invent whatever is necessary to make progress and carry out their work.

Seth also makes it a point that everyone has an artistic side. Everyone has faced a problem at some point in their life that they were able to find a solution for. It doesn’t matter if it is a big problem or a small one. The point is to realize that if you did it once, you can do it again.

The Lizard Brain

Unfortunately, most people have hidden their artistic abilities due to the lizard brain. The what?

The lizard brain is that little voice inside your head that tells you that it’s too risky or that you should just follow orders. This voice usually convinces you to stick to the old way of doing things since it would be embarrassing to fail or get caught doing something unusual.

The lizard brain tends to make you hesitate and give in to the “typical way of doing things.” I can still remember my lizard brain telling me to stick with my job. It convinced me to stay there for almost a year even though I knew I wanted to quit. The voice can be very powerful voice and can often stop you in your tracks.

The Linchpin

As I mentioned above, Seth makes it a point to remind us that we need to be artists. In other words, we need to stop being clones and start being unique. We need to be the linchpin, the piece that’s needed in order for everything to function.

A linchpin is someone who is indispensable and cannot be easily replaced. They make their own maps and follow through with them. Instead of taking instructions, linchpins take action and figure out how to get things done.

They are intelligent, creative, and do not shy away from human communication. Linchpins are the type of people who interact with customers, coworkers, and anyone else they come across in their life. They aren’t afraid to speak up and make conversation.

However, he does mention that some art cannot be monetized. If this happens to be you, don’t be afraid to give your work away. He also recommends trying to love whatever it is that you do to make money, even if it means sticking with a job that isn’t perfect for you.

My Take On The Book

The book is definitely a great read. Being an entrepreneur myself, I didn’t take much from the first few sections of the book since the idea of plugging in to the system is something I’ve disagreed with my whole life. I’ve always considered myself somewhat unique and never liked the idea of following instructions. It’s so much more fun to make your own, even if it takes you a few tries.

The whole idea of being an artist is something I enjoyed reading about. It reminded me of why I started working for myself. The freedom it offers cannot be beat. I tend to be creative and love facing new challenges and finding ways to overcome them.

If you are new to the idea of being a linchpin, the book will most likely be an eye-opening experience for you. It will really open your mind and will challenge you to look at everything you do differently.


My advice is to go out and challenge yourself today. Do something completely different and see what happens. You’ll most likely realize that the lizard brain is full of crap.

9 thoughts on “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      The Lizard Brain is more or less that chatterbox in our heads. The voice we tend to listen to, regardless of what it says. I think we definitely listen to intuition as well.

  1. Srinivas Rao

    I wrote a post on this just monday this week. I really liked the book, but I agree that as a blogger/entrepreneur it’s not things you haven’t heard. I got to see Seth speak recently. What some people will probably be frustrated by is the fact that there is no real map for this book. It’s really ideas and what you do with those ideas is up to you.

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Yeah I did notice that there is no road map laid out in the book. When I first grabbed it I did expect to have more in terms of how to go about becoming the linchpin.

      I think the key is that you have to go out and create your own map. It’s really difficult to follow a certain map since everyone tends to see different results from their actions. If anything, I think the book will definitely open some peoples minds up a bit.

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