Book Review: What to do when it's your turn


"Stupid is not uncommon. Stupid is the way we feel when working on a difficult problem.Stupid's the emotion associated with learning -- we are stupid and then we are not. The pre-learning state is stupidity."Seth GodinI love the way Seth Godin thinks.

He's the reason I started blogging. His blog is the favorite on my feed and his books never fail to challenge and encourage me.

What to do when it's your turn (and it's always your turn) is exceptional as always.

The most obvious thing about this book that makes it different is it's beautiful.

The images and quotes move the narrative along and you feel as if you're reading a great magazine article.  This book doesn't require heavy literary lifting (and I don't understand why Mr.Godin doesn't use semi-colons), but it DOES get in your head about weighty topics and confronts things you may wish to avoid.

For instance, Godin tackles the mixed bag of having real, concrete dreams (not dreaming you have a superpower). He says,

“Concrete dreams juxtapose the what if with the maybe, they expose us to hope and to risk at the very same time.            

Living with the possible takes guts.”

The clear theme of the book is living a free and meaningful life requires risk, discipline, and the willingness to step up and take your turn. The word picture he uses throughout is of people who get “stuck” on a escalator and wait for the repairman rather than climbing the steps.

Don’t wait for circumstances to make change easy; that won’t ever happen.

“When it’s your turn, it’s your turn. You own it. Your choice. Your freedom. Your responsibility.

Change hurts. Do it anyway. It’s personal and it matters.”

Godin routinely pulls in quotes to make his point, like this one from Elon Musk:

“Destiny is in our own hands, if we don’t succeed, it’s our own fault.”

Sounds kind of harsh, don't you think?

The context of the book doesn't really soften the blow.  He seems to be TRYING to irritate the reader and call them out on their reluctance to make the effort to create and contribute.

"There's no authority who announces that it's your turn to do much of anything. For most people, it never happens.

Sometimes, because they're confused and honestly they believe that they have to wait for the call.

But mostly, it doesn't happen because they're not thirsty enough."

If you're not ready to be challenged, skip this book. Personally, I love the slap upside the head!!

And of course Godin tells stories in the best way possible: quick, engaging, and always on point.

He tells a crazy story about Pythagoras, “the fifth hammer,” and Neil Young. He talks about Einstein and Stephen King, and Yertle the Turtle without ever missing a beat.  Everything - the pictures, quotes, insights and even the dashes - works together beautifully.

In the final two pages of the book, Godin wraps up his thoughts with a short chapter titled "Could it be love?" These pages are absolutely brilliant and so, so true.  A couple of snippets should give you a taste of  what I mean:

"One reason to write a book is to work out ideas.

As I began to wrap up this one, I came to a realization: The art I'm talking about, the bravery, the's just another way of talking about love.

The act of loving a person, an idea, a quest -- it's the same duality as the experience of taking your turn.  Knowing that it might not work. Embracing the fact that it might. Doing more for others than yourself.

And when it doesn't work, doing it again."

Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

This quick read is worth "a little bit of your time" (Seth's stated goal) and will encourage you to "make your ruckus with love."

A worthy goal indeed!