Book Reviews

Book Review: “Linchpin”

Review written by Silas Grant

This was the final book of 2020 for me. It was the best book I’ve read in some time. It was an extremely rewarding read. I highly recommend it as a book for anyone that feels as if they are in a rut, experiencing self-esteem issues, or confused about their future. You don’t have to be in those spaces to draw from the book. But it is a jolt that many people could benefit from.

The concept: There is a need for indispensable human beings. The linchpin is the one person who can bring it together and make a difference. In an organization, linchpins are a third party outside of management and labor. The new “American Dream”: be remarkable, be generous, create art, make judgment calls, connect people and ideas…. and we have no choice but to reward you.

Key Takeaways

Charm, Talent, Perseverance: All three attributes make you a linchpin. If you possess charm and talent without perseverance, you will be a prodigy. If you possess charm and perseverance without talent, you will be a princess. If you possess talent and perseverance without charm, you will be frustrated.

Linchpins within organizations: You can be a linchpin while reporting to someone. A part of your job as a linchpin is to calm your boss’s anxiety. Remain in forward motion. You may not always get it right. You may make mistakes. What matters is that you’re always moving forward. The fact is that organizing around mediocrity is too expensive for your boss and the organization. Don’t remain afraid. Linchpins feel the fear, acknowledge it, then proceed. Set your agenda: who is your boss? What is your work for? Whom are you trying to please?

Art, gifts, and emotional labor: Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient regardless of the medium. We are now in a “gift economy”. The “gift economy” : “wow this is amazing”. Question: What do you do that causes someone to “cross the street” to come see it? Emotional labor is the task of doing important work, even when it isn’t easy. In most jobs that involve a customer, all you’re getting paid for is emotional labor. Passion isn’t project specific; it’s people specific. Linchpin thinking: Deliver gifts that can never be adequately paid for.

The resistance: “Real artists ship” -Steve Jobs- The greatest shortage in society is the instinct to produce. The discipline of shipping is essential in the long-term path to becoming indispensable. The Resistance seeks comfort; go out of your way to find uncomfortable situations. One way to become creative is to discipline yourself to generate bad ideas. Some good ones will slip through.

  • Late is the first step to never. Ship on time
  • Don’t make excuses that involve a lack of money
  • Don’t start committees instead of taking action 
  • If you become indispensable, you get a better boss 

Strip away anything that looks productive but doesn’t involve shipping. Unchecked anxiety is the biggest barrier between you and your goals. Explore anxiety instead of trying to quell it with seeking positive feedback and reassurance. Don’t run from it. There is no reward for worriers. Seeking reassurance is a cycle. Reassure me about one issue and I can find something else to worry about.

The reality: Organizations rarely give linchpins all the support and encouragement they deserve. Surrendering is caused due to conformity, compliance, and obedience. Linchpins focus on dignity, humanity, and generosity. You can choose to change everything.

My conclusion is that as many people as possible should read this book. We should expose very young people to this book. Early in life, we focus on education for children. But this book focuses on values. And adjoined with educational pursuits, developing a linchpin mentality can develop an indispensable person capable of changing everything around them.

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