Seth Godin biography and books

Seth Godin - Toolshero

Seth Godin (10 July 1960) is an American author, businessman, marketer, and public speaker. The American is also considered to be the ultimate entrepreneur. Seth Godin is the author of 17 books, including a series of ten children’s books with the name ‘Worlds of Power’. He also posts a daily blog.

Seth Godin Biography

Childhood and Early Career

Seth Godin was born on July 10, 1960 in Mount Vernon, New York. Seth Godin completed high school at the Williamsville East High School in 1978.

After high school, he studied computer science and philosophy at Tufts University, followed by an MBA in marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. During his MBA, Seth Godin started working for Spinnaker Software. He worked there from 1983 to 1986.

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In 1986, he resigned from his job at Spinnaker Software and started his own company under the name Seth Godin Productions. He started his company with 20,000 dollars of savings, and packaged books from his flat in New York City. During this time, he met Mark Hurst and founded the company Yoyodyne.

Yoyodyne aimed to use innovative ideas to promote these among its target demographic. After several years, he decided to focus on Yoyodyne which led to his decision to sell Godin Productions to his employees. For Yoyodyne, he focused on the promotion of the concept permission marketing.

In 1996, Seth Godin’s Yoyodyne received a boost when Flatiron Partners invested four million dollars. In return, they received a 20% share. The service almost immediately became popular and was used by large companies such as Microsoft, Volvo, Sony, and more.

Two years later, in 1998, Yoyodyne was sold to Yahoo!. The sale involved a 30-million-dollar payment and Seth Godin stayed on as the vice president Permission Marketing.


The entrepreneur in heart and soul found another challenge in writing books. In 2000, he wrote and published the e-book ‘Unleashing the Ideavirus’. According to many, this is the most downloaded book ever. The book was made available online for free, and is now available for download in ten different languages.

Seth Godin wrote another popular book in 2003: ‘Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable’. In this book, Godin shares his vision of the relevance of creative forms of advertising in the world of abundance and products. To support his vision, he founded the website ChangeThis, which is aimed at distributing ideas and focus areas in PDF format.

Seth Godin’s books became so popular in such a short time that he decided to write and publish another book in 2005: ‘All Marketers are Liars’. This book was featured in Fortune Magazine, and it was listed in the top 100 of most ordered books on Amazon. Many other books rapidly followed, including ‘The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Perfect en Start Remarkable’.

He also launched the website Squidoo, a website aimed at sharing information on interesting topics. The website was picked up and discussed by CNN and the Washington Post, and soon became one of the 500 most visited websites in the world.

In 2012, Seth Godin released a manifesto entitled: ‘what do you think we ought to do about education?’ He also started recording and broadcasting a podcast through the Earwolf network. There, he also guided some 30 starting entrepreneurs.

In total, Seth Godin has written 17 books. The books ‘Tribes’ and ‘Linchpin’ are Godin’s two bestsellers, and ‘Free Prize Inside’ was featured on the list of the Forbes Business Book of the Year in 2004.

Seth Godin is married to Helene Aronson and together they have two sons.

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Famous quotes

  1. “The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.”
  2. “What could you measure? What would that cost? How fast could you get the results? If you can afford it, try it. If you measure it, it will improve.”
  3. “The largest enemy of change and leadership isn’t a ‘no,’ it’s a ‘not yet.’ ‘Not yet’ is the safest, easiest way to forestall change.”
  4. “Remarkable visions and genuine insights are always met with resistance.”
  5. “If you don’t have time to do it right, what makes you think you’ll have time to do it over?”
  6. “Choices lead to habits. Habits become talents. Talents are labelled gifts. You’re not born this way, you get this way.”
  7. “The problem when working with a coach isn’t that we don’t know what to do. The real problem is that we don’t want to change our mind.”
  8. “All the creativity books in the world aren’t going to help you if you’re unwilling to have lousy, lame and even dangerously bad ideas.”
  9. “Go for the edges. Challenge yourself and your team to describe what those edges are, and then test which edge is most likely to deliver the marketing results you seek.”
  10. “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
  11. “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”
  12. “If failure is not an option, then neither is success.”
  13. “Either you’re going to tell stories that spread, or you will become irrelevant.”
  14. “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic”
  15. “You have everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself.”
  16. “It’s never too late to start heading in the right direction.”
  17. “If you wait until you are ready, it is almost certainly too late.”
  18. “Every great company, brand, career has been built in exactly the same way: bit by bit, step by step, little by little.”

Books and publications by Seth Godin

  • 2011. U.S. Patent No. 8,036,143. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • 2010. Linchpin: Are you indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future. Hachette UK.
  • 2010. Purple cow. Bruna..
  • 2009. Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. Penguin.
  • 2008. U.S. Patent No. 7,461,022. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • 2008. Tribes: We need you to lead us. Penguin.
  • 2007. The dip: A little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick). Penguin.
  • 2006. Small is the new big: and 183 other riffs, rants, and remarkable business ideas. Penguin.
  • 2005. All marketers are liars: The power of telling authentic stories in a low-trust world. Penguin.
  • 2002. Survival is not Enough. Fast Company, (54), 90-94.
  • 2001. El marketing del permiso: cómo convertir a los desconocidos en amigos ya los amigos en clientes. Ediciones Granica SA.
  • 2001. Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing Thing for You. Hachette Books.
  • 2001. Permission marketing. Rota Yayınları.
  • 1991. Permission marketing: Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers. Simon and Schuster.
  • 1994. The guerrilla marketing handbook. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • 1993. The smiley dictionary. Peachpit Press.

How to cite this article:
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Published on: 12/11/2019 | Last update: 04/03/2023

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Ben Janse
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Ben Janse

Ben Janse is a young professional working at ToolsHero as Content Manager. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business School where he focusses on analyzing and developing management models. Thanks to his theoretical and practical knowledge, he knows how to distinguish main- and side issues and to make the essence of each article clearly visible.


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