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Let me begin with a professional and personal disclosure: If Seth Godin weren’t a friend of mine, I would probably hate his guts.
He makes those of us in the word-slinging, meme-spreading trade look like a bunch of ne’er-do-well slackers. He is so preposterously creative and so endlessly productive–a new blog post every day, a new book every year, dozens of efforts to raise money for charity, Squidoo, the Domino Project, and more–that I once suspected “Seth Godin” was really a cover name for an army of elves toiling in a work camp near the Hudson River.
But after reading this remarkable book, I’ve discovered Seth’s secret: He’s willing to poke the box. To start. To initiate. To begin. That’s all.
Indeed, the message of this book is so profoundly simple and so simply profound, I can encapsulate it in a single word.
Don’t cogitate. Don’t ruminate. Don’t plan on getting started or wait for permission to begin.
Of course, that’s a little scary. Starting is a risk. Things might not work out. You could flop. But one theme of this book–and it’s a theme that you should write on a rock, imprint on your brain, and inject into your bloodstream–is that we ought to be much more concerned about mediocrity than failure. “If you can’t fail,” Seth writes, “it doesn’t count.”
Like the man who produced it, Poke the Box is inspired and inspiring. I’ll place it on my shelf alongside two other extraordinary books: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. If you enjoyed those two, you’ll love this one. It will simultaneously stir your heart and kick your butt.
Which brings us to a final question: When should you get started on that project, that business, that work of art only you can deliver to the world?
Seth has the answer to that, to “Soon is not as good as now.”