Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

The real truth about this post: I am not done with this book. In fact, I've only made it to page 25. It's an interesting book, and I like what Godin has to say so far. I am excited to read the rest, but I am personally frustrated with Godin. Here's why: he completely ignored a big part of this book's information when he wrote the last book of his that I reviewed: Stop Stealing Dreams. He is talking about innovators and early adopters and how to hook them and bring them on board with products. I can tell that he understands this when it comes to business and products. He just missed the entire point when he switched to writing about education. You see, when it comes to education most of the innovators and early adopters are homeschoolers. And in his book about education, Seth Godin marginalizes homeschoolers. He ignores their strengths and the fact that most homeschoolers are actively looking for options when it comes to education and repeatedly pushes them aside by suggesting that homeschooling is impractical. Yet, the only people who are in a position to make the changes he outlines in his book right now are homeschoolers. We have already opted out of a system that makes change frustratingly slow. Homeschoolers are the exactly the people that, according to his book Purple Cow, Seth Godin should be embracing and connecting with when it comes to education. His ideas about the place and purpose of libraries in the future lines up with another book called Instead of Education by John Holt, a homeschooling proponent. I would guess its unlikely that Seth Godin knows about this book that was originally published in 1976 because it was written for homeschoolers and like minded individuals at the time that were looking for alternatives to traditional schooling. And yet, Holt's book talks about the future of libraries in much the same way Godin does.

Homeschoolers are so invested in education that they regularly read about it, go to classes to help them improve their teaching, and pay for educational supplies. When a new idea or way of approaching education comes along, homeschoolers are in the unique position of being able to try it out quickly. We often approach teaching as coaches, seeking out resources and the best of the educational options for our children. We are informed about education. All of these things signal that we are the innovators and early adopters that Godin's book Purple Cow suggests should be found and encouraged when starting something new. And yet, Godin uses his book on education to point out what he sees as the reasons why he isn't talking to homeschoolers at all. I think he missed the boat.

With that said, I would recommend both of these books to friends, family, and anyone else. They are both full of information that can be helpful and interesting.