What’s a gift? If I see a Chuck Close painting in a museum, I didn’t pay for that painting, I just get the benefit of seeing it. If I see a Karl Lagerfeld outfit walking down the street, it didn’t cost me anything to see it. If someone takes the time to use a beautiful Bodoni typeface kerned properly, it doesn’t necessarily communicate the words more clearly, but there was a gift element associated with it. We need to start with this idea that there isn’t just a transaction every time—I do something, I get money, we move on—that what gifts do is they create a connection, because they’re not even. Someone gave me something, I couldn’t give them anything in return. We’re not even-steven.
Also worth noting is Godin’s innovative PR model:
We started by offering a review copy to the first three thousand people who gave a donation to the Acumen Fund, which is a charity I support. And it didn’t take very long to have more than 2,000 people do that. We raised $100,00 in about a day and a half, exceeding our goal. So those books went out yesterday. We also sent 250 people who live internationally a shorter digital version (about a fifth of the book) so that they wouldn’t have to wait for shipping. It’s already showing up on Twitter. It’s already being reviewed. Some people don’t like it, some people like it a lot. What will end up happening, my prediction is, that between 500 and 1,000 reviews of one sort or another will get posted online, which will certainly reach far more people than a review in The New York Times ever could. My principle goal is to leverage personal interactions so that this book reaches the people it needs to reach, the people who are open to hearing what it has to say.