Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Tribes is a short book that explodes with big ideas. Best selling author Seth Godin argues powerful and tribes-booklasting change can be best be created by a “tribe.” Godin’s premise is that top-down, un-yielding organizations led by CEO’s (or “Kings”) can be out-maneuvered by sleek, motivated little people connected together by an idea, a movement, or an improved product. Like-minded “smart innovators” can use tools like the Internet to quickly attract more like-minded people … if they act consistently and quickly. (For example look at the recent success of President-Elect Obama’s campaign. He sidetracked the big guys and unleashed the power of the powerless and, BaM! Change really did happen.)

The Civil Rights Movement illustrated how black and Working Class people can out-power a Super Power if given an idea they can believe in, and simple tools to take the ball and run with it themselves. But the 60s also showed us how entire movements can be killed when the single charismatic leader is shot down.

White supremacist groups also learned the same lessons when in the 80s, they created, “Cells” … small groups of people united under an idea and armed with simple doctrines, duplicated themselves all over the nation. Like bees in a hive, they needed no visible leader, counsel, or governing body to enlist members, raise money, buy property and equipment, and successfully market their ideas. Bad ideas maybe … but successful marketing.

Godin says that Tribes can be inside or outside a corporation, and almost everyone can be a leader. “Most people are kept from realizing their potential by fear of criticism and fear of being wrong.” (Sound familiar?) Like a school-yard bully delivering blows to the head of a squealing nerd, ideas and messages erupt from the pages, motivating the reader and stimulating change simultaneously. Any and everyone can be leaders in the tribe. The tribes success is its openness. I imagine there are potentially all shapes, sizes and types of tribes. Their effectiveness have already been shown. The entire top-down, un-yielding culture of the Pentagon was changed my one, low-level, powerless guy after 9/11.

  • The Green Movement is on the runway.
  • People are yearning to either start their own businesses.
  • Intentional Communities are springing up all over the world, contradicting modern alienation and creating safe places for people to live together while “watching each other’s backs.
  • Many of us want to move out to the country … are stopped by fears over how we’ll make a living and who’ll be our friends when we get there.

As a truck driver I’ve talked with people from The Carolinas to Yakima, Washington. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans … all yearning for something different. Many young people realize that chasing that same old-dried out carrot is futile and Baby Boomers are just plain tired of it. No, not everyone wants something different, but like Tribes states … you don’t NEED everybody. Just a few like-minded people to work with on the road to creating your happy destiny.

Visit Seth Godin online and find out about his books, download his free eBooks, and subscribe to his informative blogs. In short, join the community!


Van Jones: The Green Movement’s Black Hero


“When people think about climate change, often the first thought that comes to mind has to do with all the solar panels, wind farms, and green rooftops we need, and how quickly it needs to be done. But the question that rarely follows is, “how much manual labor will this take and who’s going to do it?” It’s also becoming clear that more and more people in under-served communities, especially young people, are getting left behind while the rest of us struggle to climb closer and closer to the American dream. Can we think of these people not as a burden, but as an underused resource? The man who isn’t afraid to ask these questions, and who has an answer, is Van Jones, President and co-founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC) based in Oakland, California.” (Excerpt from, “community Heros” by Rosemary Prizker. Click on this link to read entire article.)

Van Jones inserting the reality Gratefully, there is a development occurring that makes us ask, “Is the Overwhelmingly White, Green Movement finally reaching out to blacks and other people of color … or are people like that black people can and will play an integral part of this “New Green Movement“?

“What’s a nice black guy like me doing in a movement like this?” asks Van Jones. The tall, 39 year old cuts a striking silhouette in a black turtleneck and blazer as he strides the stage at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. A charismatic lawyer who grew up in rural Tennessee, Jones graduated from Yale Law, and founded the Ella Baker Center for jobs and justice in Oakland.
“>”The Prius people, the polar-bear crowd are great,” Jones says. “We’re not mad at them. We like them! At the same time, if the only people who can participate are the kind who can afford to put solar panels on their second home, the green movement is going to be too small to fix the problem. If we want to beat global warming, there’s no way to do it without helping a lot of poor people. If you design a solution that does not do that, it’s a solution that’s too timid.”

“In Jones’ eyes, the first wave of environmentalism, led by Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir, focused on preserving the nation’s natural beauty in parks. The second wave, led by Rachel Carson of “Silent Spring,” concentrated on federal regulation of toxics. The third wave, he says, is about investment. Initially, that meant individual consumer choice: hybrid cars, organic food, energy-efficient light bulbs. Now, it’s evolved into major public spending and community-wide action.

Jones’ grand vision? Think New Deal and civil-rights movement combined with a clean-green industrial revolution. The nation needs to train masses of “green-collar” workers to conduct energy audits, weatherize and retrofit buildings, install solar panels and maintain hybrid vehicles, wind farms and bio-fuel factories. The icing? Wiring buildings and installing solar panels can’t be outsourced.

“Brother,” Jones says, “put down that hand gun and pick up this caulk gun.”

[Partially re-written from article written by Paula Bock. Click this link to read the entire article.]