Cyndi's Two Cents

All hat and no cattle


Seth Godin is the author of twenty bestsellers and a former dot com business executive from an inner suburb of New York City. He holds an undergraduate degree in engineering & philosophy from Tufts University and a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University. His net worth is somewhere north of $50 million.

Seth Godin is also a prolific blogger.

A dozen years ago, a couple of leaders at my company in the twilight season of their communications careers “found” and quickly became enamored with Godin’s edgy marketing concepts and “hip yet nerdy” vibe. So captivated were they in fact that Mr. Godin was hired to speak at a company event. At the end of his brief and unmemorable talk, he encouraged us all to sign up for his free e-newsletter featuring his daily blog post. I did. Occasionally, I scan his message before deleting.

Godin’s September 22, 2022, message got my attention. In “The beef tax,” his two-hundred-word commentary, Godin made the following claims:

  • American taxpayers annually subsidize the cattle industry with billions of tax dollars.
  • About half the land in the United States is “just for cattle.”
  • A substantial amount of the climate problem is “directly caused by the effects of bovine respiration as well as the clear-cutting of forests for grazing worldwide.”
  • “Climate refugees, storm-damaged assets, the loss of life and homes are directly caused by the one billion cows that humans raise each year.”

Godin suggests in his blog that the cattle industry (both beef cattle and dairy cattle) has misled consumers by persuading them beef is inexpensive, convenient, wholesome and causes no harm. Not true, he claims.

It only took a few seconds on the internet to confirm that Seth Godin does not eat meat. I also learned that he is one of three hundred contributors to The Carbon Almanac, a book Mr. Godin himself “orchestrated.”

Seth Godin does not have academic credentials in animal science or environmental studies. He was not raised on a farm or in an agricultural community nor does he live in one today. His exposure to environmental studies could very well be limited to his daily kayaking down the Hudson River. He is a marketer. He is a writer. He is a businessperson – and a very good one at that. Everyone has a right to an opinion. It should be no big deal.

But it is a big deal because Godin is not only opining but using his message to market to thousands of people every single day. He has almost 790 thousand followers on the Twitter account that features his daily blog post. I could not find current numbers, but in 2017, he had about a million subscribers who, like me, receive his comments in a daily email. I doubt those who do occasionally read the comments have any reason to question the man’s preposterous commentary about cattle and climate change because they themselves have no knowledge about cattle and climate change.

I have said it a million times: Marketing is good. Lying is not.

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