Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We Are All Weird – Seth Godin

Godin, Seth. 2011. We Are All Weird: Saatnya Menjadi Orang Aneh. Bandung: Penerbit Kaifa.
We Are All Weird (Saatnya Menjadi Orang Aneh)

Between normalcy and weirdness, there are mass and time period. That’s the whole point I got from We Are All Weird, and I think that’s one of the most interesting points from this book. The idea is refreshing and explained very well in the beginning of the book. Yes, the whole point is explained in the beginning. The social community where we are belong can be seen like a bell curve below,

The amount of people in the normal group (in the box) is bigger than the weirdo (outside the box). But, as time goes, the normal is getting less and less, they are stepping outside of the box and became weird eventually. There’s this time when slavery towards black people is perfectly normal, there’s this time when women with zero right to vote is normal, and further more in Indonesia there’s this time when mass people killing is considered heroic AND normal! (Have you seen The Act of Killing?) But again, the time flies, and some things considered as normal in the past is perspectively changing, and it will be very weird now if those things still exist. The point is, normalcy and weirdness are not absolute.

Actually, this book is categorized as business, management, or marketing book. So, what’s the relation to being normal and weird? As Godin says, the marketers that are selling their product for the normal group only are inefficient and just wrong. People will be happier if they have choices to make. Choices also make people FEEL rich. Many people are struggling to become normal (the general normal in a mass) and try hard to fit in. The choices become limited.

Godin encourages his readers to support the weird, to sell to the weird, and if possible, to become weird. Godin encourages his readers to stand up and make the choice of their own, not the limited choices from the normal system. Although, the choices may be different for every single person, and perhaps weird. So, for those who read this book and you’re happened to be an entrepreneur, Godin encourages you to produce a weird product or to do a weird service (I guess that’s another point of this book, and yeah, I perfectly realize my awful attempt of explanation.)

I had a hard time to decide the rating for We Are All Weird, whether it’s one star or two stars. Because, although I really like the main idea from Godin in this book, it is a tremendously BORING book to be read. Is it the writing style? I don’t know. Is it because I read the translation version instead? I’m not sure. I guess I’m not going to be as much bored if I listen to the audiobook version or maybe listen to Godin himself giving a presentation about We Are All Weird. I’m just feeling this book is not a reading material (ouch!).

I really want to like this book more because it begins with such a unique idea that is delivered very well, but when I read on, the same or similar ideas are elaborated repeatedly with bunch of different analogies. I know myself, the writing construction from specific idea to more general is just not working for me (so it’s not entirely the book’s fault). From the first chapter, I guess I already understood what’s Godin trying to say over this book, but as the more pages I turned, my understanding about the whole idea was getting blurrier and blurrier, so I could say I actually am not really sure what’s the point anymore. The sad thing is, it’s even not one of those thick and brains-out books (104 pages for Indonesian edition) but yes, I dragged myself to finish this.

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