We Are All Weird – The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal | Seth Godin

Summary of: We Are All Weird – The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal
By: Seth Godin


In ‘We Are All Weird’, Seth Godin takes a pointed look at how the mass market is dissolving and explores the rise of individualism in today’s society. This eye-opening book discusses the redefinition of what is considered ‘normal’ and delves into the growing importance of embracing what makes us unique. Diving into themes such as how the concept of normal was created to sell mass-market products, the changes in marketing, and the impact of technology, Godin explains why the weird are set to dominate in this brave new world.

Embracing the Weird

The Antwerp Zoo’s story is a testament to the power of engaging with the masses. However, the contemporary world is experiencing a shift in the mass market’s trends towards individualism, and the future is bound to be strange. Seth Godin delves into it by giving meanings to various concepts: mass, normal, weird, and rich. The ‘mass’ refers to the traditional norms or the status quo, while the ‘normal’ changes from culture to culture. The ‘weird’ category is for those who choose to break free from traditional norms. Finally, ‘rich’ people are those who have the resources to embrace their weirdness. The choice is yours; to be on the traditional or ‘weird’ side. Seth Godin advises people to take the bold step towards embracing the bizarre to succeed in this changing world.

The Invention of Normal

Discover how mass production invented the concept of normal and how choosing to be “weird” is changing consumer trends.

Have you ever stopped to think about why there is a bottle of Heinz ketchup in nearly every American fridge? Blame it on the logic of mass production. Companies discovered that catering to individual tastes was costly and instead marketed to the masses, making everyone’s desires the same. The power of advertising defined the public’s desires and ostracized anyone who didn’t conform. This led to the invention of the concept of normal. Now we all know what normal means. Normal people drive cars, drink Coke, and buy Heinz ketchup.

But are we all destined to live lives dictated by conformity? Not necessarily. We can choose to be “weird.” And it turns out more and more people are opting for the odd, changing consumer trends.

By comparing two neighborhoods in Manhattan, we see that the weird is becoming more popular. In Midtown, major retailers sell products to tourists, conforming to the masses. But in the East Village, diversity thrives, and nothing is normal. Given the option, which neighborhood would you choose?

Thirty years ago, the three big TV networks were watched by 90% of the population. Now their viewership is down to 30%, as more people turn away from mass media. As the weird in all its varieties becomes more popular, there is no doubt that this trend will continue.

The message here is clear: the concept of normal was invented to sell mass-market products, but we can choose to embrace our unique individuality and reject conformity.

Embracing the Weirdness

Being weird is a natural human trait, as seen in the ancient Chauvet caves in France. With technological advances and the internet, people can now indulge in their niche interests and connect with like minds globally. This shift in society also presents a new opportunity for businesses to tailor products and market to a dedicated few. Being weird is not about commerce but about community. The growing trend towards weirdness allows people to find and connect with their tribes.

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