Book Summary: Leap First by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is not just a genius marketer.  He is also a deep thinker.  His audiobook Leap First: Creating Work That Matters is a compilation of his best talks.  It is a short audiobook which is only 2-hour long but it contains almost all the core ideas Seth Godin wrote about in his other best selling books.  

The following are some of the best ideas he has in this audiobook:

1. Understand that making art means doing something meaningful that you may fail at

Art is something that you want to do even if you don’t get paid.  Art is something you do that can fail.  Art is something that you do in order to improve something in the world.  

2. Treat work as art or spend an hour a day to make art

If you can do what you want and make money, great.  If you can’t, reduce your time for watching tv and make art.  

3. Choose the path that allows you to make things better instead of the path that makes you safer

Make things that can help people.  Don’t take the path that allows you to have the most financial security.  

4. Do things that matter even if your mind says “no”

Our mind wants us to not do things that we should do.  Consider doing things that you are scared of doing.  It’s not that everything your mind says “no” to is worth doing.  It’s that your mind says “no” to a lot of things that are worth doing.  

5. Be the best option for your small group of audience

Know which small group of audience you are creating art for.  Then try your best to become the best option for that group.  For example, you may want to become the best jazz piano teacher in a small district instead of wanting to become an above-average piano teacher in the world.  

6. Embrace the feeling of knowing that the thing you does may work and it also may not work

Be used to the conflict of the art you make may succeed and may fail.  If you always have to be sure that you are going to succeed at something, you are likely not going to even start working on a lot of your ideas.  

7. Hope but don’t expect

Expectations put you in a position that would make you unhappy most of the time.  On the other hand, having hope makes you want to make art.  

8. Turn your ideas into products and let the world decide which ideas are good

It’s often hard to know what ideas work and what don’t.  Turn them into products and see how well they do.  

9. People don’t like totally new things, they like things that are old with a few new elements

A good way to make art is to copy someone’s great work and add your own new elements to it.  

10. Don’t compare yourself to other people

It’s easy to compare to other people and say they are better, so you can have a good excuse to not make your art.  

11. Just keep calm and be grateful when someone gives you good or bad comment

Don’t worry too much about criticism.  At the same time, don’t feel too happy about praises.  Stay calm and be thankful that someone cares enough to leave you a comment.  

12. Everyone can make art

You don’t have to be the most talented person to make art.  Pick something you seem to be good at or pick something people seem to need.  Then trial and error

13. You are the one who decides to make art or not, not your situation or environment

Don’t use your day job, your income, or taking care of your kids as your excuses for not making art, unless you are absolutely sure that you are not spending any time daily on tv or web surfing.  

14. Enjoy the process and be okay with the feeling of not yet reaching the finish line

Most of the time, actually almost all of the time, you are in the process.  So, enjoy it.  

15. You will never be totally ready, so just do it

There’s always more that you can do before you start making your art.  So, are you going to spend another 5 years on so-called preparation or are you going to start now?

16. You don’t need the best tools

Having good tools can make your work more fun and more efficient, but you don’t really need them.  Don’t use not having the right tools or resources as your excuse.  

17. Don’t care too much about getting credits or hurting your reputation

If you don’t make your art because you worry about not getting credits or hurting your existing reputation, just make art anonymously.  Now that your problem is solved, what more excuses can you give yourself.  


This audiobook is a perfect book if you are looking for something short and thought provoking to listen to.  Go ahead and listen to Seth Godin’s Leap First if you want to check out all the details about making art, shipping art and living a more meaningful life.

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