The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

4.2 5
by Seth Godin

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What are you afraid of?
The old rules: Play it safe. Stay in your comfort zone. Find an institution, a job, a set of rules to stick to. Keep your head down. Don’t fly too close to the sun.
The new truth: It’s better to be sorry than safe. You need to fly higher than ever.
In his bravest and


What are you afraid of?
The old rules: Play it safe. Stay in your comfort zone. Find an institution, a job, a set of rules to stick to. Keep your head down. Don’t fly too close to the sun.
The new truth: It’s better to be sorry than safe. You need to fly higher than ever.
In his bravest and most challenging book yet, Seth Godin shows how we can thrive in an econ­omy that rewards art, not compliance. He explains why true innovators focus on trust, remarkabil­ity, leadership, and stories that spread. And he makes a passionate argument for why you should be treating your work as art.
Art is not a gene or a specific talent. It’s an atti­tude, available to anyone who has a vision that others don’t, and the guts to do something about it. Steve Jobs was an artist. So were Henry Ford and Martin Luther King Jr.
To work like an artist means investing in the things that scale: creativity, emotional labor, and grit. The path of the artist isn’t for the faint of heart—but Godin shows why it’s your only chance to stand up, stand out, and make a difference.
The time to seize new ground and work without a map is now. So what are you going to do?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The latest of Godin's cheerleaderly books is written in bumper sticker fashion, urging readers to overcome "brainwashing" and release the artist within. Unfortunately, this means Godin (Poke the Box) doesn't offer anything that hasn't been espoused by every generation since Socrates: "Art is what we do when we are truly alive." "Fly closer to the sun." "Art has no right answer." "We don't need more stuff; we need more humanity." Art is about breaking out of the box, not being a cog in the system; it's standing up to authority. But only once does Godin mention that this might result in a lack of ability to pay the rent. In that case, art should be arrived at in little steps. He gives tips to becoming an artist: notice, don't be afraid of humiliation, and "when art fails, make better art." Perhaps smarting from comments on previous books, he warns against critics: "Shun the nonbelievers." He pushes readers to connect with the world, to be human; at the same time he suggests that they are above the masses and need to follow their own paths. The truth is that artists don't need a book to tell them what to do; they are already doing it.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Marketing guru and best-selling author Godin first announced this book as a Kickstarter project. Promising backers a variety of “bonuses” for pledging their support, he easily (and quickly) reached his goal. Sadly, the book itself is not as successful as Godin’s publishing experiment; it reads like a collection of blog entries (his blog at is massively popular) on the theme of “creating art” in a job market with increasing demands on making connections as well as working outside of your comfort zone. Perhaps the disjointedness of the narrative is part of Godin’s point: “the opposite of coherent is interesting.” Above all, Godin urges his readers not to fall prey to the Icarus deception by remembering the risk Icarus took when he flew too close to the sun, while forgetting that flying too low was just as dangerous. Godin attempts to soar, exhorting people to create art, then to create better art, and be inspired by other artists. Unfortunately, this loose collection of thoughts doesn’t quite get off the ground.

Verdict Godin has written more readable books, but his fans will love this, regardless.—Sarah Statz Cords, Reader’s Advisor Online, Middleton, WI(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Popular business writer Godin (Whatcha Gonna Do with that Duck?: And Other Provocations, 2006–2012, 2012, etc.) offers a self-help guide to surviving and thriving in the new, postindustrial economy. "We are all artists now," writes the author. Making art is not the purview of a select few, but rather a defining act of being human: "Anyone who cares and acts on it is performing art." Entrepreneurs and freelancers are as much artists as painters or writers. Further, making art is no longer a choice but a necessity. The new connection economy rewards the risk-taker, the rebel, the person who understands that success now lies in "creating ideas that spread and connecting the disconnected...." Yet many are intimidated and fearful of this new world, which has few rules or sure rewards. We have, however, been brainwashed to fear making art. The "ruling class" of the now-waning industrial age taught us "to dream about security and the benefits of compliance." We are expected to fit in, not stand out, and defying such conformity creates fear and internal resistance. Still, conformity no longer rewards, and the fear we face can be acknowledged while still understanding it as learned behavior. This is a worthy yet not wholly original message--Norman Vincent Peale, Tony Robbins and many others have preached the same self-help mantra. Occasionally, readers may feel they have walked into a movie that's already started, as explanation too often gives way to appealing aphorisms and banal bromides ripe for Dilbert parody--e.g., "Seek out questions, not answers"; "Who is the self in self-control?"; "shame is a choice." Enjoyable, if not particularly enlightening, take on the new economy.

Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.14(d)


Meet the Author

Seth Godin is the author of fourteen inter­national bestsellers, including Purple Cow, The Dip, Tribes, Linchpin, and Poke the Box. He is also the founder and CEO of and one of the most popular business bloggers in the world.

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The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alot of good nuggets in this book It's about releasing your art!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3 stars
roubaixred More than 1 year ago
This book really opened my eyes to getting my 'art' out into the world. My art, or purpose as I prefer to call it, is unique and needs to be in the world. Seth's book opens up my safety zone, helps me to get out of it and to get my art out there. If you need a shift in context and a new look at your art, read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago