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Ridiculous is the new remarkable

Updated on March 7, 2013

One of the nicest things...

That anyone said about my limited edition 800 page, 19 pound book was that it was, "ridiculous".

Because it's now easier than ever to say, do or make something, there's a significant surplus of noise. What stands out? What do we talk about?

At some point, we talk about things that are so over the top we can't help it.

I'm publishing three books at the end of the year, and tried to be ridiculous in the way I approached each one. Of course, we shouldn't be ridiculous because it's a good marketing strategy. We should be ridiculous because we can.

The book you can't buy - Sorry, it was a limited edition

Real book, real baby
Real book, real baby

Making it this big was ridiculous. But not selling it is ridiculous too, one more reason it's special.

BUT! I'm doing a fundraiser in early February, 2013. Click on the baby above or go to

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/02/ge...

a blog post that explains how you *might* be able to get a copy.

V is for Vulnerable

V Is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone
V Is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone

Wait.

is it a kid's book? The first page says, "A is for anxiety." That's not a kid's book.

Is it ridiculous to make take the last chapter of the most serious business book I've ever written and turn it into an illustrated paper over board alphabet book?

I hope so.

Ridiculous in that we're establishing expectations and then shattering them. Also a challenge because the book demands to be shelved in the wrong place and then misunderstood by some. And it doesn't come in a black and white ebook edition, because we made something that's too big to fit into a little digital box.

That's okay. Once people make it to "B," it sticks.

 

The book you can buy

Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?: And Other Provocations, 2006-2012
Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?: And Other Provocations, 2006-2012

I took the ridiculous limited edition book (which costs me nearly a hundred dollars to print and ship) and turned it into a slightly less ridiculous edition that's "only" 650 pages and only weighs almost two pounds.

The magic of this book isn't the scale. It's that it took six years to write, a day at a time, a post at a time.

And it's fabulous on your Kindle, because bits don't weigh anything and it will take you a month to finish it.

 

The Icarus Deception

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?
The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

The long-term ridiculous all-star of the group is this book, because instead of giving people a map (which is easy to sell), I've delivered a compass.

Instead of a how-to, proven, case-study oriented happy book, I've written a sobering but ultimately empowering book about the death of the industrial age and the choice we all have to make about what to do next.

I didn't write this book because I needed or wanted to sell a lot of copies. I wrote this book because I had something I urgently needed to say to you. And in this day and age, that's ridiculous.

 

One more unboxing

This is all an author can dream of, isn't it? That people would care enough about a book to not only rip into it with this much delight, but to film the process too!

Ridiculous.

More photos

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Tell us what you're talking about

What's ridiculous?

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    • DreamsBloom profile image

      DreamsBloom 4 years ago

      @seth godin: Thanks! I am going to read your wonderfully ridiculous lens now. :D I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

    • seth godin profile image
      Author

      seth godin 4 years ago

      @DreamsBloom: great point. Going to move the gallery to the bottom!

    • DreamsBloom profile image

      DreamsBloom 4 years ago

      This page keeps automatically scrolling up and down on me as the pictures in the "gallery" changes. Making it next to impossible to read and damn hard to type this comment too. I hope this glitch/bug gets fixed. I really wanted to read this lens but this is Ridiculous and I am unable to finish it even though it isn't very long.

    • seth godin profile image
      Author

      seth godin 4 years ago

      @danjohnsonreal: Thank you Dan. What a kind and thoughtful note...

    • profile image

      danjohnsonreal 4 years ago

      A couple years ago I ordered a copy of Linchpin. About two weeks later a second copy arrived. Why? To share. I've told that story many times. In fact, I just shared it this week. And I'm doing it now. So it is brilliant marketing. But you have to understand that generosity (and the element of surprise) are woven into Seth Godin's DNA. The world is full of people who talk about marketing and advertising. And millions of people have blogs. The reason we track with Seth is because we like him. And we like the fact that even in business, he keeps us connected to humanity and kindness. Will I spring for more books? Yes. Am I looking at grabbing the big book? Yes. Will it help me and bleed out to the thousands of people I speak to in a year? Yes. But people don't buy our products merely because of ours skills. They buy US. And they buy into how they feel and what they can become when they are with us. Because (and this is the the point): We are the people who believe in them, and in what they can become, in the moments when they aren't seeing it themselves.

    • Onethindime LM profile image

      Onethindime LM 4 years ago

      Awesome lens. Thanks for posting it.

    • seth godin profile image
      Author

      seth godin 4 years ago

      @scgandhi: But of course, plenty of people who jumped on the Kickstarter months ago when I announced it got the book shipped to India. This time around, alas, it's a fundraiser just in the USA.

    • profile image

      scgandhi 4 years ago

      @seth godin: As a first from India, you should send me the book !!! (making an attempt to get it)

    • profile image

      scgandhi 4 years ago

      but y you don't want to sale all books? what purpose limited no sale edition will serve? Let the idea spread.

    • profile image

      mCelestebrown 4 years ago

      Seth, I heard you recently On Being, and now follow your blog, etc. I think I kind of like the way this page challenges the reader. As the pictures in your slideshow change size, the text I am trying to read (and in this case, write) keep popping up and down. It reminds me of your admonition to yourself to not do things the easy way, to step outside your comfort zone. But now I'm getting a headache. Cheers!

    • profile image

      sophie-paul-92754 4 years ago

      Answering to the question, which meme are you?Being photographed by your coworkers who then turn you into a Meme. Obviously uploading your pic to Facebook.

    • profile image

      jannymanla 4 years ago

      Everytime I read your mail in my box, one thing always hits me. "How can this man bring together words that would mean ridiculous to rave about by anyone else yet could blow minds and bring about magnanimous ideas to life?" I salute you, Seth Godin, genuinely. I wish I could have double of your genius and gift.

    • profile image

      lisalai 4 years ago

      As if there's any doubt from the above video of me opening the package... the behemoth is RIDICULOUS in the most fantastic way possible. I'm a huge fan of all things Seth Godin, but this is magic. And for anyone who hasn't read The Icarus Deception, do yourself a favor and buy it the moment it's available. It's equally ridiculous in a really special way. You'll be inspired!

    • profile image

      kevindubrosky 4 years ago

      @camcollins: Thanks Cam, I appreciate that.Interesting comment about giving the Icarus Deception to people you care about. Sometimes I wonder if this might truly be the goal of all marketing on the planet: making stuff that is so thought-provoking, weird, empowering, illuminating, surprising, and unexpected that our clients HAVE to tell someone about it, and share it with them.

    • profile image

      camcollins 4 years ago

      The megabook is ridiculous, bloated and clumsy (and I have told everyone I know about it :). All of the people I care about are getting the Icarus Deception this Christmas.@kevindubrosky Just checked out your ambergris (aka "whale vomit") post. Its both ridiculous and memorable. Well done!

    • profile image

      kevindubrosky 4 years ago

      @seth godin: Thanks for the reply, Seth.I would never label you as naive, not by a long shot. That would be arrogant, given your comparable success to date. I just find this particular aspect about your business model curious, since it seems that you lack only a small needed push into the "wow, I can't believe Seth's book is that expensive, but oh well, this thing can change my life so I'm gonna buy it anyway" category of pricing.Even if this small little reply to your reply supplies you with the tiny bit of needed momentum to try something a bit more risky in your pricing model then it was worth the 12 minutes I took to think about and write it.KevinP.S. Caveat: I am not a wildly successful published author, like yourself. I have successfully self-published two business books over the past three years. The first 220-page book was priced at $99, and the second 495-page book sold for $150. Both were published using Lulu, and both were on marketing, specific to a particular service industry.What surprised me is that people bought both. And then raved about them. I offered a money-back guarantee to remove risk, and promised that if the reader didn't find the book to be worth 10 times their investment, they could return it for a full refund, no questions asked. So far, no returns.Both books are off the market, and unavailable now.Incidentally, I quoted you several times in the more recent (495-page) one. Without giants like yourself (not flattery, genuine) who help us to connect dots (I know that you have learned from other giants yourself), I would have had difficulty taking the risks that I already have, so thanks for that.P.S.S. I sold 17 copies of the $150 book last week, before I officially retired it this past Friday at midnight.

    • profile image

      IdentitySpecialist 4 years ago

      It's ridiculous that no one has made a comment yet on this. This is Seth's top lens. Where are the comments? Can't really start a conversation without it huh? I might have missed out on the Ridiculous book, but I've pre-ordered the other ones.

    • profile image

      MiaSherwoodLandau 4 years ago

      What a giant relief to see the current bloated reality come to life in such a funny, sweet (love that tiny baby) graphic. Too many words with too little substance dilute the marketplace and our own integrity. Oh, Seth, thank you so much for knowing and showing us in your own inimitable way that we need to resist the urge to bloat content and just keep it real. Even if it's not politically correct. It's the process of finding what is real inside us and inside our readers that must replace ridiculous bloat now and in the future.

    • seth godin profile image
      Author

      seth godin 4 years ago

      @kevindubrosky: Thanks Kevin. The pricing thing is a conundrum, as it's impossible to get it right for more than one person at a time.My hope, naive as it might be, is that people who think they're getting a bargain will choose to pay it forward.Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      kevindubrosky 4 years ago

      It's one thing for people to talk about the need to break schemas.Seth puts his money where his mouth is. The only think he disappoints me with is his price points (too low). I suppose he wishes to break even on publishing, and make his money on the consulting and seminar circuit. As he says, the ideas that spread, win. The idea-maker is the (expensive) prize, not the books.We could choose the believe that he only wants to help cure the world, and help people help themselves, but the facts don't support that conclusion. He charges big bucks for his workshops and seminar appearances, so he obviously doesn't feel pangs of conscience from generating sizable income.So Seth, here's some advice from someone who's given you money: I would still feel like I received a valuable gift from you if I paid a lot more for your stuff. 50%-100% more. And beyond.Think about it.You encourage us to ignore the status quo. Break yourself free from the book publishing price points.They're imaginary. You told us yourself.