Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

4.2 5
by Seth Godin

See All Formats & Editions

In Seth Godin’s most inspiring book, he challenges readers to find the courage to treat their work as a form of art

Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda


In Seth Godin’s most inspiring book, he challenges readers to find the courage to treat their work as a form of art

Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. What boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?

But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.

The safety zone has moved. Conformity no longer leads to comfort. But the good news is that creativity is scarce and more valuable than ever. So is choosing to do something unpredictable and brave: Make art. Being an artist isn’t a genetic disposition or a specific talent. It’s an attitude we can all adopt. It’s a hunger to seize new ground, make connections, and work without a map. If you do those things you’re an artist, no matter what it says on your business card.

Godin shows us how it’s possible and convinces us why it’s essential.

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 sethgodin.typepad.com 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 Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range:
18 Years


Meet the Author

Seth Godin is the author of more than a dozen bestsellers that have changed the way people think about marketing, leadership, and change, including Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars, Small is the New Big, The Dip, Tribes, Linchpin, and Poke the Box. He is also the founder and CEO of Squidoo.com and a very popular lecturer. He writes one of the most influential business blogs in the world at SethGodin.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

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