I don’t have many heroes, but one of them is Seth Godin. Do you know him? I’d try to pin Seth down in one phrase but the range of his work is so vast—from one of his early companies, Yoyodyne, through his ground-breaking books Tribes and Purple Cow and Linchpin (not to mention his educational masterpiece, the altMBA Program) and his current collective anti-climate-change enterprise, The Carbon Almanac–that the best I can say to describe him is “VISIONARY.”

My hero, Seth Godin

I follow everything Seth does, from his daily blog posts to every book and video and project he comes up with.

But this post is to give a shout-out to Seth’s newest book, out just last week, The Song of Significance. Two of the Evil Monsters that Seth regularly jousts with are Education—the factory-prep way we teach our kids—and Conventional Work—the jobs that our race-to-the-bottom economic culture holds out to us as ways of making a living. Ugh!

The Song of Significance is aimed at an audience caught in one or both of these hellholes, but it’s equally applicable (maybe more so) to those of us who are either independent operators or are striving to be independent artists/writers/filmmakers, etc.

I think of Seth sometimes as a Periclean Athenian. What I mean by that is that his ideal man or woman (and he walks this walk himself) embodies that Classical-citizen self-autonomy that I at least associate with the original democratic Golden Age. Seth’s ideal is the self-contained individual, who knows her own mind, who holds herself to a high moral standard, whose work is aimed at service to the greater community and to the planet, and who follows the calling she was born to be and to become without the need for societal approval or third-party validation. That’s a mouthful, I know. It’s what Seth means in this new book by Significance.

Can we, Seth asks, find in our lives, work, and family not just meaning … but our meaning? And how can we live it out within cultural and economic environments that are indifferent to such an aspiration, if not outright hostile?

The Song of Significance by Seth Godin. Five stars. Check it out!

Five stars, baby!

On another, semi-related note, the thirteen short videos I did for Instagram about “The Foolscap Method”, i.e. how I start a book or movie … are now available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_6twVl5XOXvZiV4JEPiwr1GeslgHj4NQ.

They’re free, they’re all in one place. You can start at Episode 1 and scroll straight through to Episode 13. I will almost certainly at some point put these ideas together into a book, but for now you can get a pretty full picture at the link above.

DO THE WORK

Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

do the work book banner 1

THE AUTHENTIC SWING

A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.

The-Authentic-Swing

NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.

noboybookcover

TURNING PRO

Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"

Turning-Pro

43 Comments

  1. Neil on June 21, 2023 at 2:01 am

    Hi Steven
    This is awesome thanks – can I just flag up that your YouTube videos are flagged as “Made for Kids” – which will suppress YouTube sharing them.

    Maybe in the ‘details’ section on your dashboard someone mistakenly selected the ‘made for kids’ option thinking it’s for a general audience, but YouTube treats this as videos specifically made for a child audience.

    It removes the ability for the video to play on a mini player, or have subscribe button or allow comments, among other features – which suppresses the overall video performance.

    Hope this helps!

    Thanks again for your work!

    • John on July 9, 2023 at 7:03 pm

      Yes, they are doing a great job. keep up good work.

  2. Yehudit R on June 21, 2023 at 3:08 am

    I just watched the first 4 videos, and wondered why Comments was turned off. Thanks Neil for clearing that up for me.

    Steve: I’ve been writing a novel, have even finished my rough first draft, and am analyzing it as I watch your videos. In the one Heroes and Villains I realized one of the weaknesses that I haven’t been able to pin down the Villian. Your discussion about how the villain doesnt have to be a person made me see that in my story, the villain is actually the protagonist’s own reluctance to to make a decision about her path to the future. Now that I have identified it, I can go back and introduce it much earlier in the story.
    Thank you

    • Steven Pressfield on June 21, 2023 at 9:32 am

      Great, Yehudit! That’s a huge breakthrough. Good luck and Godspeed!

  3. Alexandra on June 21, 2023 at 3:23 am

    Hi Steven
    Thanks for sharing your recommendation – me too, am a huge fan of Seth Godin! – and the free videos. I’ve read your books “Turning Pro” and “Do the work” several times and consider you one of the greatest teachers in the field.
    Thanks for inspiring and sharing your knowledge!

  4. Reuven on June 21, 2023 at 3:24 am

    I am a raving fan of Steve and Seth.
    But I have one question:

    does the sanitation ” pick your garbage can and trow it in the truck” find “: meaning of self through meaningfull work?
    does the man or woman who fills the bag of food you pull off the shelf at the store find themselves on the packaging line in hour three or 5 of the day?

    I just wonder how much of my quest for meaning and ” higher ” work is appreciative of those who society relies on day in and day out to work the current that turns my lights on and delivers the gas to the station to fuel my car? Do all the books I read apply to them ?

    Yes, I can imagine that you can find meaning in keeping the streets clean and the rats hidden; i wonder ,,

  5. Kate Stanton on June 21, 2023 at 4:55 am

    My creativity, productivity, and warrior mindset hero writing about the uniquely profound Seth Godin is an extra special treat this morning alongside my coffee & birdsong.

    I got several copies of “The Song of Significance” to share with my team at a small business (we interpret and translate documents for big biz) and for a few musicians I’m collaborating with. One of the musicians messaged me, “hey I got your book along with the manifestos in the mail”, and I said to him: “I read Seth’s blog religiously. You won’t regret this!”. Almost every musician I know balks at marketing and the business side. Godin treats marketing with his genuinely authentic wit and I find it refreshing. Do what matters. Do the work that matters. Quite frankly, Steve, you two are peas in a pod in my mind. Same message, but a different delivery. Thank you for what you do!!!

    • Kathy on June 21, 2023 at 11:48 am

      I checked your link out. MY KIND OF MUSIC!
      You say a lot, pull at the heart and the music is haunting and grand. I subscribed.

  6. Gregory on June 21, 2023 at 5:17 am

    Seth “introduced” me to Steve by way of altMBA23 in the summer of 2018. Resistance seems to prevail as I continue to moonlight on the big-idea project I started back then. Expect it’ll be significant when I buckle down and finally get it done. Seth’s daily blog and Steve’s weekly give me the prod and the prompts to keep me moving along. Thank you, Steve

    • Johnny on June 22, 2023 at 6:11 am

      The youngest of the 3.

  7. Eric Biehl on June 21, 2023 at 6:03 am

    Thank you. Yes…Seth nails it. I’m fifty-eight finding myself grappling with the emptiness of a 32 year career that left me empty and lacking due to selling out to “the race to the bottom. Finding hope in the words of Seth and the real work of creating significance based on who I am and to who others expect me to be.

    • Kathy on June 21, 2023 at 7:11 am

      💜

    • Debanjan Roy on June 23, 2023 at 6:09 am

      Dear Eric,

      I am sure you will find your calling.
      And I convey my best wishes to you for your new endeavours.

      Blessing you with joy,
      Debanjan

  8. Ed Lovern on June 21, 2023 at 6:23 am

    I’ve been paid to write for 72 years. Lately lots of autobiographical stuff — almost never with a point, a “climax. “Now at 87, you have led me to become a writer, to change! To use my brain, and try to give each story a meaning! Thank you, Steve, for teaching me. What and extraordinary teacher you are! What a life-changing blessing. Ed Lovern

  9. Jackie on June 21, 2023 at 6:54 am

    Following the beat of your own heart is sometimes challenging. This is a world of acceptance through doing what society says you should do. It’s refreshing to find my tribe here with Steve, Seth and others who strive to be true to their Self. Always looking for resources to continue on The Path. Thanks.

  10. Kathy on June 21, 2023 at 7:08 am

    I started crying at the end of all you wrote, Steve. It was everything you wrote about Seth Grodin, that made me feel as if I’m being prompted by an angel… of mercy, on me, since the passing of my husband.

    Denny wanted me to shine. He bought me everything possible to do my art. Now, I am in mourning and barely get out of bed. It’s ridiculous, I know. I still have life to live. It’s important to create. It’s so important.

    Yesterday I listened to a YouTube by Carolyn Myss. I’m not sure how much I believe in what she’s saying on the overall, but yesterday she addressed hermits, of which I am one.

    “You can’t create in a vacuum!!”, someone screamed at me, passionately, once.

    Myss brought out the fact that Emily Dickinson was a hermit. That made me feel safe.

    So, in reading about Seth, yes, I really like him too. He’s generous. He shares where to find your wings and how to use them. Meanwhile, he’s out there, soaring.

    Seth soars…. LIKE YOU. .

    That’s what made me cry, in the end. Generosity. Your generosity. The fact that, “The War of Art”, can be found online as a PDF. And then, seeing that more generosity can be viewed and absorbed on YouTube now.,

    It’s a gift without a catch.

    I wonder if art can be created any other way.

    You’re doing these newsletters…. Sigh and more tears. Inviting whomever to participate. Including me.

    Thank you. Tears.

    • Kathy on June 21, 2023 at 7:35 am

      *Godin

    • Kathy on June 21, 2023 at 8:12 am

      Foolscsp! Oh my god. I’ve been struggling to even understand a first step after the passing of Denny. How can I possibly? What’s the purpose of anything? Why be at all? But then, I’m overwhelmed by what Denny wanted for me. He helped kids in gang zones realize A’s and B’s, from failing grades and he’s still telling me to pursue things better too. I fell in to how to begin. I fell in to start, again. I’ve been stuck at, how to begin. How do I even know who I am on my own? How do I start?

      Foolscsp!

      Ok.

      Tears. Not unusual for me but maybe these are of a different kind. Maybe.

      • Kathy on June 21, 2023 at 8:13 am

        *Foolscap

        • Kathy on June 21, 2023 at 10:11 am

          I never think, Rest in Peace, so I never think that for Denny and I won’t think that for Norm Stahl. I say, continue on, wherever you are. No rest for you. Keep being who you are and doing what you have always done. Pursue PEACE for us here on earth. These are my prayers.

          • Kathy on June 21, 2023 at 10:35 am

            Oh gosh! I must seem obnoxious with so many comments. Sorry. It’s just that I finished listening to Foolscap and it’s just so good! I wanted to tell you that. Denny and I always planned on writing our story. I started a long time ago but stopped. In Denny’s last year, here, he wrote his memoirs, as best he could. He struggled with so many issues, due to Agent Orange, but he still wrote. So, as I listened to Foolscap, I felt so inspired and goal oriented, which is something that has eluded me. I understood how to begin and where the path is. Direction that leads to motivation. Wings and how to unfold them.

            Again… so much generosity.

            I got Seth’s book on Audible and just started to listen. Thank you.



      • Ariadne on June 22, 2023 at 3:59 am

        ❤️

  11. Eric Pritchard on June 21, 2023 at 7:11 am

    Love what you do Steve, and I’m familiar with Seth’s work in an introductory sense. And as someone who has spent 20+ years in the American public education system, I’m familiar with the criticisms and need for improvement. But I’m so tired of people who have never spent more than their basic schooling years (and haven’t been back since) in schools causally calling it “hellscapes” and bashing it. I know the system needs to be improved/updated/modernized what have you, but there are so many of us who get after it days after day and make our students’ and athletes’ lives better. If you’re ever out on the Jersey Shore, I would love to have you at our small school and show you the great things we’re able to accomplish.

    Thank you for your writings, they have truly made an impact on my mindset.

  12. Ed Hinman on June 21, 2023 at 8:31 am

    Great writeup, Steve. Makes me want to check out Seth’s new book. Thanks for the recommendation!

  13. Jesse Passmore on June 21, 2023 at 11:00 am

    Thank you!

  14. Sharon on June 21, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    Wow, this is like a double hitter. I have been pattering around the edges of Seth’s Song of Significance, and your post has encouraged me to dig right in. I am thrilled to know you have your shorts on Youtube now. I am not much of a social media user and am very happy to have a chance to watch your series in full.

    Thank you!

    BTW, I read all your emails, have every book you have published, fiction and non-fiction, and am continually inspired by you, your work, and your generosity to us, your readers.

  15. Yvonne Ator on June 22, 2023 at 3:58 am

    I read your email yesterday and felt such a warm glow in my heart as one of my heroes affirmed and appreciated another one of my heroes. Then this morning I read Seth’s incredible email letter in response to you. I lie here teary in bed at 3am, in one of the hardest seasons of my life, deeply inspired to see such a powerful exchange of respect, admiration and support between 2 of my favorite mentors on my hero’s journey. May God bless you Seth and Steven! The world is much better because you are who you are.

  16. Tolis on June 22, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you so much dear Steve,

    I am now a follower of his Instagram posts and with a few clicks and searches I got his first book, The Practice.

    Let us move forward, our time has come.

  17. Debanjan Roy on June 23, 2023 at 6:19 am

    Dear Steven,
    Thank you!

    I bless you with joy forever in your life for writing such an insightful yet concise post…!

    Among so many pearls of wisdom, I found this particular passage to particularly resonate with me:

    “I think of Seth sometimes as a Periclean Athenian. What I mean by that is that his ideal man…embodies that Classical-citizen self-autonomy that I at least associate with the original democratic Golden Age.

    Seth’s ideal is the self-contained individual,…whose work is aimed at service to the greater community and to the planet, and who follows the calling…without the need for societal approval or third-party validation.”

    Yes, indeed, a life of meaning indeed calls for giving of ourselves freely for the greater good and thus, leading our lives without the need for any societal approval.

    Keep writing.
    Keep shining.
    Keep inspiring.

    Best Wishes,
    Debanjan

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