Linchpin Book Review: Are you indispensable?

by | Jul 10, 2013 | Book Reviews

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute, 50s.


Brief Synopsis / Review

Occasionally a book comes along that completely changes the way you work. For me, a couple of years ago, that book was Linchpin by Seth Godin. I’d wager a bet that it will shake your work up too.

Linchpin is a book about how to “become indispensable”. In the book, Godin makes a distinction between what he calls “factory workers”, workers who mostly follow instructions, and “linchpins”. A linchpin is an employee who doesn’t need a rule book, and delights others because that’s what they love to do. Every day a linchpin creates art, which Godin defines as “the intentional act of using your humanity to create a change in another person”, and they overcome big mental hurdles (like fear) which come from your “lizard brain”.


If these terms seem weird and foreign to you, that’s understandable; Godin introduces a number of great concepts in Linchpin that may just become a part of your mental vocabulary, and he does an excellent job of explaining them in detail.

This is a book you should read, regardless of where you work or what you do. If you’re anything like me (and the tribe of other people who love this book), it will change your game, and to your employer and the people around you, you will become much more indispensable.

What you’ll get out of it

  • An understanding of the qualities a linchpin has, such as: they “ship” their work, they use emotional labour, they fight their mental “resistance” and lizard brain, they give gifts (like their time and attention) to those around them, and more. Godin explains why these are qualities that will make you more successful.
  • What you can do to become a linchpin where you work (even if you work for yourself), along with countless stories and examples of linchpins.

Will it make you more productive?

  • Yes, but in the medium-to-long term. This book is about a powerful new way of thinking, not about dispelling some quick productivity tips or hacks.


  • Most of the chapters in this book are a page or two long, so it’s easy to read in small doses, and it’s also easy to breeze through the book (it’s 256 pages).
  • If you’re a fan of audiobooks, I highly recommend the audio version of Linchpin. It’s read by Seth Godin, and he does a bang-up, entertaining job of it.





Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of three books: How to Calm Your Mind, Hyperfocus, and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in more than 40 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

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