The Cluetrain Manifesto on art, work and life

I’m currently (finally!!!) reading The Cluetrain Manifesto. For those unfamiliar with the title, it’s one of the most cited books in presentations/talks on the impact of the Internet/World Wide Web and the social media phenomenon on businesses. It’s tagline is a powerful one: “The end of business as usual” and one key takeaway from it is “Markets are conversations”.

But this post acts not as a sort of a review (I haven’t finished this delightful reading). What I wanted to share with you is a particular part of chapter 3 – Talk is Cheap – by Rick Levine which resonated profoundly with the motto of this blog (which reflects how I try to live my life: “Your work may not be your life but let your life ignite your work“):

“Despite too many years spent behind keyboards and display screens building software, creating Web sites, and generally using technology more than is good for me, I’m still a potter’s kid. I consider myself an artist and a craftsman, and bring a craftsman’s attitudes to my work and life. One perspective that seems to surface with some regularity is a deeply instilled obligation to do new work, create stuff people have never seen before.”

I smilled when reading this because I’ve started to notice that I’m usuallyin the flow when creating (emphasis on creating, not just making) new stuff, be it a new report, text, presentation or project. A few sentences later and the text goes:

“Artists have a stubborn faith in their ability to create newness from next to nothing. This faith shapes their work, enables to establish themselves as individuals, fingerpointing their way through their medium.

What’s this got to do with business? With organizations? Lots. Most of the creative people and knowledge workers organizations depend on, those whose sense of self-worth is centered in the pride they take in the work of their heads and hands, will have an immediate “been there, done that” reaction to this description of artistic identity“.

I smile again 🙂 A few words later and comes one of my favourite quotes:

“In the courage of creation, they find a place to hang their individuality.”

And this immediately takes me to Seth Godin’s quote from Linchpin: “Art is a personal act of courage.”


I’ll keep reading it and promise to post a sort of a review anytime soon in case you are interested. In the meantime just wanted to share these nuggets on the art of life and work, Cluetrain-style 🙂


PS – on a related note, I NEED YOUR HELP! I’m some weeks away from my summer holidays and am pondering on which books to take with me. What book(s) would you recommend? Thank you! 🙂


3 thoughts on “The Cluetrain Manifesto on art, work and life

  1. Oh, and tips for reading? How about ‘The Social Life of Information’? Or: ‘The Fifth Discipline’? Or: ‘The Living Company’? I read the 1st two. Great, older books, that give a deeper understanding of ‘social’ (social media, social business, social learning, etc). The last book also relates to ‘social’, haven’t read it yet, but the HBR article about the book is great.

    • Hi Samuel, The Cluetrain is indeed a great book and they were really ahead of their time! I’m reading the 10th anniversary edition that includes the author’s view on what changed as they “predicted” and what somehow stood the test of time (namely the “business-as-usual-but-with-new-channels” behaviour of some companies)…

      Thank you for the books tips 😀 After reading “Cognitive Surplus” by Clay Shirky (awesome book) and now The Cluetrain, the ones that come next will face the tough challenge of keeping my brain cells high on knowledge and enlightenment adrenaline as these two did 🙂

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