Blogging may be great way for me to share what I am learning from books and how it is being implemented in education. I also hope to tell you enough about the book for you to determine if you would benefit enough from reading it to of set the time commitment.
There is a time commitment to reading and with job and family it is hard to find the time. This brings me to the first benefit of my current read: Linchpin, by Seth Godin. The table of contents has a brief description of each chapter, so you can choose which you wish to read. Beyond simply being set up well for those who like to scan and skim, the content is really informative.
The man who recommended the book to me was recently laid off after spending years developing a successful department for a large firm. Lynchpin opens with the announcement that the world has changed. It is now hypercompetitive and you must be indispensable to survive. Godin asserts that anyone can learn to be indispensable. In the following 225, pages he teaches how to go from being a cog to being a linchpin. To learn what is wrong, watch the news – to find solutions read books.
Godin shares that a linchpin is indispensable because it hold’s things together. A linchpin does not need instructions to proceed. A linchpin goes beyond what is required. A linchpin is indispensable. Godin suggests that American education is not designed to create linchpins – it creates cogs. Being a cog doesn’t work anymore. On page 47, Godin, who has the most followed business blog on the web, states that schools should teach only two things.
1. Solve interesting problems
TLE has been creating linchpins for years. In any situation if I could hire a TLE graduate, I would. Because they can step into a situation and as Godin describes it create art. He has a whole chapter on artistry. “Most artists can’t draw,” he says, “but what they create moves people.” It is a gift they share.
A few years back a TLE middle school student went to Panama City on spring break. He arrived at the pool and noticed a youth laying in at the bottom. He began to ask how long the boy had been there. I don’t know a few minutes, was the response. The student immediately got the life guard and the boy was rescued from drowning. The paramedics assured the student that he had saved the boy’s life. Although happy with being a hero, he was troubled that there were twenty to thirty adults around the pool, who were not alarmed that a child had been underwater for several minutes. You see he was not their responsibility, no one had told them to look out for him so they didn’t. They were cogs; he was a linchpin.
Godin asserts that cogs, those who play by the rules and follow the manual, will be passed over or outsourced. We have watched the blue-collar workers being replaced by machines now white-collar jobs are being outsourced too. The chapter on the new world of work describes the “Mechanical Turk,” that has made Encyclopedia Britannica extinct. A TLE graduate described how his boss passes him in the hall and hands him a folder of problems with the “detailed” instructions of fix it by Thursday. Tyler relates “I call my team together. We open the folder to see what we got.” Tyler may work for what Godin calls a linchpin company, those who only hire employees that can think outside the box.
An even more recent story comes from Ross, who graduated three years ago. Ross was gifted at IT, but had the dream of being a physician. He opted to keep growing in both areas. When his credit card was stolen and his bank account emptied he used his knowledge to discover all the places the card was used. He then built a profile of the culprit and submitted it to the bank. The perpetrator was apprehended and Ross will be prosecuting him in the spring. It never occurred to Ross that it was the banks loss not his or the responsibility of the police department. Ross has a gift so he gave it. Linchpins look for ways to give their gifts and success finds them. The book is replete with stories of linchpin successes.
I love to tell the story of my daughter Serah, who at seventeen took a job with a temporary agency. She was to work as a part-time secretary at a deck company. Three weeks later she was the executive assistant to the president. She was a linchpin. By fourteen she was home schooling herself. By fifteen she ran the household. By sixteen she graduated and ran the publishing company. She has gifts, she knows them and she gives them away. She was so indispensable that when she had a baby the company gave her time off. When she was ready to come back to work, she was allowed to bring her children with her. Being a linchpin has its benefits.
Serah was home schooled she never learned to be a cog. If you have been taught to be a cog there is a resistance that arises when you are asked to find and use your gifts, or go beyond the pack. Preparing for this weeks Fiesta, a student told me what she planned to do for her project but then asked, “What if John Doe only brings a map and a plate of food. Will he get a passing grade?” Why do you asked, was my response. She proceeded to tell me about an experience in her old school, where she unbeknownst to her was taught to be a cog. Why would you limit yourself to the ability or desire of someone else? It seems to take time to beat what Godin calls the mental resistance.
What a joy for those who do! To view school and later work as an exciting venue where they can utilize their gifts to create art and change the world around them. These master learners are truly equipped for life. If your feeling less than exhilarated in your work or home life, or you want to learn more about how to raise your son or daughter to be a linchpin, Seth Godin’s Linchpin is a valuable read.