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The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin


REVIEW: The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin is a thought-provoking book that challenges the conventional wisdom of playing it safe and herein urges artists and creative individuals to embrace the risk of flying higher.


As always Seth Godin offers us a refreshingly different point of view and challenges us to make more art, better art. The central theme revolves around the Greek myth of Icarus, who famously flew too close to the sun, melting the wax wings crafted by his father Daedalus, leading to his tragic fall.


This book is a call to embrace creativity, take risks, and pursue one's artistic aspirations without fear of failure or societal judgment.The book challenges the conventional wisdom of playing it safe and conforming to societal norms, which Godin argues stifles creativity and innovation.


One thing he talks a lot about in the book is the Connection Economy and its relevance to the artist/creative - thats you. Its you no matter what you do in life because it requires some form of creativity. Art is not only about painting, drawing, sculpture and so on. Our lives are a creative endeavour from the moment we are born. You, as you are today, are the result of thousands of creative decisions and actions you have taken along the way. You are a work in progress and the question is, how do you want to enhance what you are now?


Godin argues that the traditional path of seeking job security, following rules, and avoiding risks is no longer viable in today's rapidly changing world. That was the formula for the Industrial Age. Instead, he advocates for a bold and daring approach, encouraging creatives to spread their wings, take risks, and soar to new heights, even if it means risking a metaphorical fall like Icarus.The book is a clarion call for artists, writers, musicians, and anyone engaged in creative pursuits to embrace their art wholeheartedly, without fear of failure or rejection. Godin contends that the true tragedy lies not in failing but in playing it safe and never fully realizing one's potential.


Now I must digress for a moment. The painting above is one of my favourite paintings of Icarus. I'm a great fan of Lord Leighton who painted this. It is quite an unusual composition and I think what appeals to me actually more than anything else, is the amazing colour palette that Leighton used in this work. So I just wanted to share it with you in case you haven't seen it before.

Back to 'The Icarus Deception'......

It is an imperative read for all artists and creative people for several reasons:

  1. It challenges the status quo and encourages readers to question the conventional wisdom of playing it safe, which often stifles creativity and innovation.

  2. It inspires readers to embrace their authentic selves, take risks, and pursue their passions without fear of failure or societal judgment.

  3. Godin's writing style is engaging, thought-provoking, and laced with insightful anecdotes and examples that resonate with creative individuals.

  4. The book offers practical advice and strategies for overcoming self-doubt, embracing vulnerability, and navigating the challenges that come with pursuing a creative path.

  5. And last but not least, the audio book is read by Seth himself which is a treat. His delivery is short and punchy without being overbearing - but rather helps us towards understanding and inspiration.

Here are some examples of people who have successfully applied the principles espoused in the book:

  1. Amanda Palmer - The musician and performance artist crowdfunded over $1.2 million for her album and tour, bypassing traditional record labels and embracing a direct connection with her fans. She exemplifies the idea of creating art without seeking approval from gatekeepers.

  2. Elon Musk - (Love or hate him) This entrepreneur has disrupted multiple industries (automotive, aerospace, energy) by thinking boldly and taking massive risks with ambitious ventures like Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company. He embodies the spirit of flying high and not being constrained by conventional thinking.

  3. J.K. Rowling - After being rejected by numerous publishers, Rowling persisted in her creative vision, ultimately publishing the Harry Potter series, which became a global phenomenon. She didn't let rejection or societal norms deter her from making her art.


In essence, The Icarus Deception is a powerful reminder that true fulfillment and success often lie beyond the boundaries of comfort and convention. It is a rallying cry for artists and creatives to spread their wings, soar to new heights, and leave an indelible mark on the world through their art and creativity.


QUESTION: What will you do today to fearlessly step towards what your heart is calling you to do?

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