Book Review: Poke The Box by Seth Godin

Poke The Box by Seth Godin
ISBN-10: 1936719002
ISBN-13: 978-1936719006


  • Good, "eloquent rant" style.
  • Explores a number of angles about the core subject.
  • Neither overly long or short – just right to get you going.


  • Occasionally repetitive.
  • Doesn't provide a blueprint – just the push.

SUMMARY: Godin at his best, provoking you to think and take initiative.  A definite must-read.

I have mixed feelings about Seth Godin's writing.  He's witty, imaginative, and often very eloquent–he's an idea man, and boy does he have ideas. Sometimes sadly his ideas stay very abstract; he seems to rely more on hoping his ideas inspire people giving blueprints to follow.

With “Poke The Box," he's hit the sweet spot of ranting and inspiring that is him at his best.  This is a good book.

"Poke The Box" is an extended rant/speculation/pep talk about the need for initiative. It sounds simple (it sounds like something you can't even talk about for an entire book), but there's actually a lot to talk about, and Godin does so in very fine form.

His basic point, which doesn't do the book justice, is that we lack initiative in many parts of our lives, especially in the areas of business and entrepreneurship. We're afraid, were bashful, were not taught to take initiative, so we don't do it. This ends up with us being dissatisfied, unhappy, and unsuccessful.

Godin points out that not only are we trapped in this pathological state, it's bad for economy and even our culture. Initiative is necessary, important, and grows more so by the year. Innovation is important, and it's nothing without the initiative to make it happen.

Needless to say, I can't exactly explain the book in this review – it has to be read – but you get the idea.  Godin wants to inspire you to take initiative in your business plans and career and job.  He wants you to "Poke The Box" (named after a toy a relative made to provoke a baby's curiosity).

Throughout this book, Godin takes you on a tour of fears, inspires you, and prods you to essentially Get Off Your Ass and Try Something.  That's his entire goal, and it takes a book to do since he tries several perspectives, several prods, and explores various issues.  Though at times the book is a bit repetitive, he does cover a lot of ground and there's probably something in here to get you moving.

So I'm going to put it simply – by this book.  There's a Kindle version for about $4.99 which you can read online or on your phone or something if you don't have a Kindle – it's not a long book.  If you think you'll reread this or you're a Godin fan, go buy the softcover and enjoy.

It's a good rallying cry.  Strongly recommended

Steven Savage