Godin Giveaway Results: Best Original Sethisms!

Gilliomisms

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The above artwork represent the winning entry to the Seth Godin book giveaway in which I asked people to spread Sethisms.

Illustrator Gilliom Werner Claessens decided to reinterpret some of the covers of Seth Godin’s best known books, including The Icarus Deception itself. I love these, in particular because each image is a great representation of the concepts (or ideaviruses) each book is based around.

Also, it was in many ways well above and beyond the challenge I set.

So congrats Gilliom! I’ll be sending you the signed copy of V is for Vulnerable plus a hardback copy of The Icarus Deception.

You can find Gilliom on Google Plus, where he’ll be posting 2 more of these over the next couple of days!

Paulisms

Paul Forrester deserves bonus points for the speed in which he responded to the challenge with his own Sethism:

Metaphorically Speaking by Paul Forrester

“In art, as in life, there is endless capacity for metaphors that describe the same thing. Endless capacity to present one piece of advice so it appeals to as many people as possible. If you’re lucky, you’ve found the metaphor that communicates to you. If you’re really lucky, you can experiment and work out your own metaphor.

Be the wily velociraptor from Jurassic Park.

Be the relentless rolling stone from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

In short, be the metaphor that is most simile to the way you create. Then write it down and pass it on.”

You can find out more about how Paul came up with his Sethism over at his blog, Fruitless Work. Thankfully, this bit of work wasn’t fruitless Paul, as I’ll be popping a copy of The Icarus Deception in the post for you also!

Elaineisms

Elaine‘s Sethism was passionate and to the point (lively language warning):

Mine is (after having an angsy year of it): “After months of wondering about how to square the circle; how to fit in – you know what? Fuck that” also “ENOUGH with the fucking navel gazing.”

I asked her to elaborate somewhat and she left another comment which explained further.

2012 summed up for me right there. I had a giant wobble last year tbh Milo – for some reason I was trying to fit in – in a situation that just WASN’T a good fit for me – goodness know why I felt I ‘needed’ validation …. this year I’m back to walking to the beat of my own drum. I achieved so much I was proud of in 2011 and then 2012 was a giant fart of a year in comparison. If nothing else it proved to me that I can do what I’m aiming for. Maybe in small steps and feeling a bit lonely while I do it – but I’ll get there – huzzah! – hence – enough of the navel gazing lol :)

Also – I have put money in the swearbox – I curse like a navvy sometimes.

I’m sure a lot of people can relate. I hope you won’t be swearing when the book arrives Elaine!

Margaretisms

And finally there was this tweet from Margaret Pinard, which was just original enough to win her a book!

Special mentions have to go to the following for sharing Sethisms and thanks to everyone else who tweeted or linked from their blog or liked or commented on Facebook:

And last but not least, Vishnu himself, who did a brilliant job of sharing Sethisms, but insisted that he didn’t want to win the book.

Hope you enjoyed these original Sethisms! If you’d like to find out more about The Icarus Deception, check out my review.

Want to share your art? Visit flyclosertothesun.com

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Are You Flying Too Low? Review of The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

the.icarus.deceptionEarlier this week I described how Seth Godin used Kickstarter and his army of fans to fund The Icarus Deception.

Now, finally, it’s time to hear about what’s inside the book itself.

And when Godin asks “are you flying too low” he’s not talking about whether you’ve zipped up your jeans or not.

Taking the Myth

The Icarus Deception centres around the myth of Icarus, who ignored his father’s instructions not to fly too close to the sun, resulting in over-heating problems with his home-made wings and a fatal dip in the sea.

The Icarus myth is often used as an example of when hubris or over-confidence can go badly wrong.

However Godin points out that there is another part of the story – Icarus’s father Daedalus also told his son not to fly too low as the water could also damage his wings.

According to Godin;

“Society has altered the myth, encouraging us to forget the part about the sea, and created a culture where we constantly remind one another about the dangers of standing up, standing out, and making a ruckus.”

However, as Seth says, settling for too little is “a far more common failing”.

Fly Closer to the Sun

The crux of the book is this; We all have the potential to be artists and to do great work. However to do so, we need to leave our comfort zones – to fly closer to the sun. What this requires of us is to have the hubris to take bigger risks and create new things. this requires facing up to the pain involved in the creative process, and being open to possible failure and criticism.

The  beautifully produced video below is a great summary of what the book is all about (and inspiring in its own right):

God is a DJ (but not exclusively)

Godin challenges us to consider ourselves on a par with the gods of ancient myth in terms of our creative potential.

He believes we can each take on a godlike quality (please note the small ‘g’) by becoming shamelessly confident. To do this, we must refuse to accept the shame that others bestow onto us for having the audacity to believe in ourselves and our art, and the willingness to be vulnerable enough to share it with the world:

“While someone can attempt to shame you, shame must also be accepted to be effective”.

This is clearly inspired by the message Brene Brown shares in her book Daring Greatly.

Crystallising Existing Concepts About Creativity

Indeed, the book could be seen as the distillation of all of Godin’s previous work as well as a raft of recent literature such as Brown’s book, into a powerful manifesto on the urgent need to be more creative.

Godin also echoes Dan Pink’s 2005 book A Whole New Mind, which argued that creative people were going to be the cornerstones of the new economy as their skills would be most in demand.

Godin believes that, as Pink predicted, we are currently in the midst of the ‘Connection Economy’, which demands we become artists and share more of ourselves with the world in order to succeed.

He also refers to Steven Pressfield’s War of Art and his concept of resistance as something we must battle each day in order to create. For Godin, the resistance is something to be embraced, because if you feel that sense of fear, uncertainty and pain when you come to make art, then you’re probably on the right track.

Getting to the Crux

A few people have commented that The Icarus Deception doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Godin even concedes in the acknowledgements that he has already tried out some of the ideas in the book on his blog – Indeed, it’s written in the same style – short, snappy segments which deal with one small element of the overall argument at a time.

It seems to me that Godin uses his blog and books as a way of digging down to the crux of how the digital revolution has changed both the economy and our lives. Each post, each short section of a book, each Sethism, is Godin’s method of chipping away at an underlying truth, in the same way that a sculptor brings to life a figure from a block of marble.

The Icarus Deception is a compelling and persuasive read that has really motivated me to create more and embrace the pain involved in creating new things as a necessary and integral part of the process.

And because it contains the most up-to-date distillation of Godin’s philosophy about creativity and the digital/connected world we live in, it’s a great book for both those unfamiliar with his previous work and those who have enjoyed following along as his outlook has evolved.

Buy on Amazon.co.uk| Amazon.com (affiliate links). Read We Are All Artists Now (a free summary of the book)

Win by Creating!

I’ve got four copies of The Icarus Deception to give away and one signed copy of the accompanying picture book, V is for Vulnerable, illustrated by Hugh MacLeod. To win you simply need to help me spread Sethisms.

The more you spread, and the closer you follow the competition guidelines, the more likely you are to win! More details here.

Please note that the closing date has been extended until midnight on Monday 21st January.

Don’t Be Another HMV – Wake Up to What Your Business Needs – NOW

Vintage-Advertising-His-masters-Voice-10705HMV*, the UK’s biggest high street retailer of entertainment products – music, games, electronics (more recently) and DVDs, has gone into administration as of yesterday, meaning 4500 jobs are at risk.

As a former employee (I graduated to the giddy heights of ‘chart buyer’) I feel truly gutted for the staff, and hope that the company are able to survive.**

People are blaming Amazon, Play.com, Spotify, Netflix, the major supermarkets (who sell the most mainstream entertainment products at a loss to tempt people into their stores), and of course illegal downloading.

But perhaps HMV themselves are to blame.

Philip Beeching worked on HMV’s advertising account and he shares a damning account of how he tried to tell them about the triple threat of “online retailers, downloadable music and supermarkets discounting loss leader product” (thanks to my pal Baxter for sharing).

He says in the article that

“Throughout the late 90’s and right up until today HMV’s single biggest mistake has been a lack of investment in their online offering.”

This is backed up with a quote from the founders of online store Play.com who waited for HMV to come after them – but were surprised when it never happened. It also chimes with my own opinion and many others online.

The same thing has happened with many people as the digital revolution has taken hold, including most of the newspaper industry who thought they were selling papers when really they were selling news (and therefore the medium is less important than the content).

Some people however have seen the writing on the wall early enough to adapt, including Beeching’s own creative agency who saw digital coming and adapted in good time.

Appropriately enough, given my current #Sethisms theme on this blog, Seth Godin has a very apt quote about this:

“Our preconceptions and our fear conspire to make it difficult to see the world as it is.

Buddhists call it prajna – accepting reality as it occurs instead of interpreting it as part of our ongoing narrative.

The trick isn’t coming up with an interpretation of events that allows you to maintain your worldview; it is to accept what happens without stopping to interpret it according to your biases.” #Sethisms

This is something the bosses at HMV clearly failed to do.

Here’s where you need to ask yourself honestly – are you doing something similar with your business right now?

  • Are you aware that you need a strong online presence, which involves clearly communicating why you do what you do?
  • Are you publishing engaging and valuable content consistently in order to drive traffic to your site?
  • Are you taking specific, strategic actions to grow a tribe of people who are interested in what you have to say?
  • Are you aware of how to use the latest social media and multimedia tools to help you do this?

Yes, you probably are aware. So, are you doing it yet? 

How I Can Help

If you’re interested in finding out more I’m going to be volunteering at a series of free social media surgeries beginning this coming Monday at Leith McDonald Road Library. These surgeries are primarily aimed at “local voluntary or community organisations, local charities, clubs or societies who are interested in making the most of the web and social media.” (Download event poster in PDF format.)

I’m also about to hold a number of workshops on how to Pimp Your Online Presence at various events around Scotland.

And, whilst I’m in the process of revamping my freelance copywriting business, I will be available for both consulting and content production from the beginning of February.

Get in touch if you’d like to have a chat about how I can help you.

Don’t be another HMV.

*HMV of course, stands for His Master’s Voice because the company sold gramophones in the early days (that picture of their dog Nipper is pretty iconic. I met Nipper once, when the Edinburgh Princes Street store re-opened. Well, it wasn’t the original Nipper, it was probably the 10th reincarnation. Meatloaf also made an appearance at the opening, as did his biggest fan, Pete Loaf).

**I also feel for the staff of Fopp, which was a great indie record store which HMV bought out to save it from going under a few years back. I’d hate to see Fopp disappear altogether, especially because they used to sell my band Swivel Chair’s CDs back in the day.

How Seth Godin Leveraged His True Fans to Publish his Latest Book

IMG_5926The Icarus Deception is as interesting for how it came to be published as it is for the content of the book itself.

Seth Godin wanted to use Kickstarter to demonstrate the potential of a hybrid method between the slow and stagnant traditional publishing model and the immediacy but intangibility of digital publishing.

He made a deal with his publishers that if he could raise $40,000 from his tribe to fund 3 new books (The Icarus Deception, V is for Vulnerable and The Behemoth), they would also be willing to invest their resources into publishing and promoting the books to a wider audience.

The Kickstarter project for The Icarus Deception went on to raise a little more than the intended $40,000 - $287,342 to be exact. That amount was contributed by 4,242 backers, so each contributed way more than the cost of a single book ($67.73 each on average). I think it’s fair to say that most of those backers (including myself) could be described as ‘true fans’ of Godin’s work.

From the outset, Godin explained that Kickstarter is the way to leverage your tribe of fans/true fans – not to build that tribe. Godin already had the fans, thanks to the impressive body of work he has built using his blog, his previous books, and his other projects. Just like Amanda Palmer already had a tribe to leverage when she raised $1,192,793 to fund her latest album, art book and live tour.

For you and I, Kickstarter is unlikely to produce such massive results – but that’s not to say that with the right idea, a small and supportive tribe, the right rewards and price points for backers, and some good old fashioned hustling, we couldn’t achieve success. A couple of my WDS pals have done just that. Nathan Agin, who I interviewed recently, raised over $10,000 to create his new TV show about travel and healthy eating, and singer-songwriter Kim Jennings raised almost $4,000 for her new record.

My full review of The Icarus Deception is coming next. You can still enter the competition to win a copy (deadline has been extended until midnight on Monday 21st January).

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Some of the best Ideaviruses Unleashed by Seth Godin

IMG_5892Much in the same way that the internet as a whole both reflects and feeds our collective consciousness, Seth Godin has a knack for both synthesising the digital zeitgeist and influencing it directly.

Godin has used many of his bestselling books to coin and spread a specific (high) concept. Those concepts have often gone on to be rapidly adopted into common parlance amongst his many supporters.

In addition, all of Godin’s ideas complement and build on each other like pieces of a jigsaw.

In the book Unleashing the Ideavirus, which was released as a free download in 2000 and is still available for free here, Godin says:

“An idea that just sits there is worthless. But an idea that moves and grows and infects everyone it touches… that’s an ideavirus.”

He also declares that

“The future belongs to the people who unleash ideaviruses.”

which he defines as

“…a big idea that runs amok across the target audience. It’s a fashionable idea that propagates through a section of the population, teaching and changing and influencing everyone it touches. And in our rapidly/instantly changing world, the art and science of building, launching and profiting from ideaviruses is the next frontier.”

That book itself amassed more than 400,000 downloads in 30 days, which pretty much proved his point in of itself.

Here are a few of the (other) most potent ideaviruses unleashed by Godin.

Permission Marketing

Published in 1999, the purpose of Permission Marketing was to encourage marketers to build what Godin calls ‘a permission asset’ instead of spamming people with ‘interruption marketing'(i.e. traditional forms of advertising like TV and radio and magazines, plus aggressive and annoying tactics online). He says in an updated introduction:

“Anticipated, Personal and Relevant messages delivered to people who want to get them is the core of marketing for the foreseeable future”. #Sethisms

The thinking behind this book is the reason why I, and thousands of other bloggers, businesses and artists only send our newsletters to those people who sign up voluntarily.

But some people are still in the dark about this concept. I still get emails sent to me by people who haven’t asked my permission first, and don’t provide an easy way to subscribe. What can you do? I just sigh, delete the email and think ‘haven’t they read this f**king book yet?”.

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

IMG_5901Purple Cow

This is the big un. The big purple one, to be specific (oo-er missus).

In this book, Godin argues that marketing tactics aren’t enough – you have to have something remarkable to share in the first place.

As he says:

“Cows, after you’ve seen them for a while, are boring. They may be perfect cows, attractive cows, cows with great personalities, cows lit by beautiful light, but they’re still boring.

A Purple Cow, though. Now that would be interesting. (For a while.)”

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

Tribes

There’s no doubt that the internet has given us a massive opportunity to be part of hitherto nonexistent communities, both online and off, made up of like-minded people across the globe.

In this book, Godin challenges readers to also take up the opportunity to create their own community or tribe, and lead it.

He says:

“There are organisations everywhere now, inside and outside of organisations, in public and in private, in nonprofits, in classrooms, across the planet. Every one of these tribes is yearning for leadership and connection. This is an opportunity for you – an opportunity to find or assemble a tribe and lead it. The question isn’t, Is it possible for me to do that? Now, the question is, Will I choose to do it?”

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

The Dip

The Dip is probably my favourite Seth Godin book. It deals with the thorny issue of giving up – and it’s not as clear cut as those inspirational quotes you see all too frequently on Facebook and Pinterest would have you believe.

Sometimes, in fact, the best thing to do is to give up, especially if you realise that you are ‘flogging a dead horse’. Occasionally though, you need to keep going through the tough times that are inevitable with any worthwhile goal, in order to get through to the other side.

The trick, Godin explains, is knowing when to quit and when to persevere.

“Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most. Extraordinary benefits also accrue to the tiny majority with the guts to quit early and refocus their efforts on something new. In both cases, it’s about being the best in the world. About getting through the hard stuff and coming out on the other side.”

You won’t find any concrete guidance for your own situation in this very short book, but it will help you to consider whether what you are currently doing is a good use of your time or not.

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

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Linchpin

Linchpin is the Godin book that’s perhaps most relevant to the Mad Genius Career Masterplan. The book’s intro even begins with the sub-heading:

“You are a genius.”

and goes on to say that

“The tragedy is that society (your school, your boss, your government, your family) keeps drumming the genius part out. The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability”.

This book, he says, is his personal manifesto to encourage individuals to become indispensable at what they do:

“Becoming a linchpin is a step-wise process, a path in which you develop the attributes that make you indispensable. You can train yourself to matter. The first step is the most difficult, the step where you acknowledge that this is a skill, and like all skills, you can (and will) get better at it. Every day, if you focus on the gifts, art, and connections that characterise the linchpin, you’ll become a little more indispensable.”

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

Stop Stealing Dreams

In another free manifesto (Godin is nothing if not generous with his work), the subject of school and education comes up again. As we saw in the Design Your Own Curriculum Micro-Guide, the current school system has horribly failed creative people. This manifesto seeks to create change by getting both teachers and students to speak up about what’s needed in today’s world.

“If school’s function is to create the workers we need to fuel our economy, we need to change school, because the workers we need have changed as well. The mission used to be to create homogenized, obedient, satisfied workers and pliant, eager consumers.

No longer.”

This is just a small selection from Godin’s body of work and Godin has also founded a number of notable companies and projects including Squidoo.com and The Domino Project. To find out more go to sethgodin.com.

And don’t forget to enter my competition to win a copy of his latest book, The Icarus Deception. I’ve included 11 Sethisms in this article alone to help inspire you!

Please note: links to books are usually Amazon affiliate links. I’m still waiting for my massive cheque from those buggers. I’m betting your local library will have the books too.

For Godin’s Sake, Be More Ridiculous and Rampantly Spread Sethisms!

Artwork by Hugh MacLeod

Artwork by Hugh MacLeod

In his new, Kickstarter-funded book The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin says that:

“The hard part of bringing art to your tribe, your culture, or your market is understanding where the line between boring and ridiculous lies.” #sethisms

He elaborates on this argument in a recent blog post entitled ‘Ridiculousness is the new remarkable‘.

“We can view the term ridiculous as an insult from the keeper of normal, a put-down from the person who seeks to maintain the status quo and avoid even the contemplation of failure.

Or we embrace ridiculous as the sign that maybe, just maybe, we’re being generous, daring, creative and silly. You know, remarkable.” #sethisms

Indeed, the behemoth book that Kickstarter funders including myself, were sent, is so ludicrously large, I also couldn’t resist filming myself unboxing it. Despite the fact other people had already filmed themselves unboxing it, or taken photos of their baby asleep on top of it. It’s the same height as my TV for Godin’s sake!

The Prizes Inside!

In today’s wee video, you’ll also see the prizes I have for you this week – four copies of The Icarus Deception and one signed copy, of the picture book for grown-ups – V is for Vulnerable.

Now, here is your challenge:

To Rampantly Spread Sethisms.

Take a photo, draw a doodle or write a blog post or carefully crafted comment inspired by one of the Sethisms I post throughout the week or any concept which you find particularly inspiring from Seth’s blog.

You could even write your own Pseudo-Sethism, as long as it’s in the spirit of his writings and adds something to the conversation.

In the spirit of Seth’s writing, keep whatever you do short, sweet and snappy. Don’t think about it too much, just do whatever comes to mind. Ship!

Make sure you link back to this post and/or leave a link to your contribution in the comments, and share your Sethisms on social media to help spread the word.

The four winner’s posts/ideas/art/Sethisms will be featured here on Sunday 20th January with one lucky person winning both The Icarus Deception and the signed copy of V is for Vulnerable (hint: extra points will be given for ridiculousness).

Objects of Affection: Seth Godin’s Behemoth

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As part of this week’s Seth Godin Spectacular, here’s the latest in this strange little series of videos celebrating the physical in a digital world, which I’m calling ‘Objects of Affection’.

This time it’s Seth Godin’s ridiculously big Behemoth of a book, which is called This Might Work or This Might Not Work, depending which way you look at it. It certainly didn’t work when I tried to use it as reading material on the toilet, that’s for sure.

You can’t buy this book in the shops as it was only for Kickstarter funders, however a slightly smaller version is available, called Watcha Gonna Do With That Duck & Other Provocations (Amazon UK/Amazon US affiliate links)

And yes, I know someone has already filmed an unboxing of it. I posted it a while back. But it’s so bloody big, I couldn’t resist filming my own!

Here’s today’s Sethism, from his new book The Icarus Deception. and I’ll be announcing how to win yourself a copy tomorrow!

“Your art at first will be timid. It might not be based on a truly clear awareness of the world, because the lizard brain will cloud your sight in order to protect itself.

But day by day, project by project, you can train yourself to ship. Ship small art. Ship medium art. Then ship world-changing, scary, change-your-underwear art.” #Sethisms

Previous Objects of Affection:

Elsewhere

The Istanbul Review

Seth Godin Spectacular!

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This coming week on Clear-Minded Creative will be a Seth Godin spectacular, to mark the release of 3 new books by the influential blogger and bestselling author: The Icarus Deception, V is for Vulnerable (with cartoonist Hugh MacLeod) and Watcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

I’ve got 4 copies of The Icarus Deception to give away, and one person will also get a special copy of V is for Vulnerable signed by Seth himself. But you’ve got to be in it to win it, so to find out how to enter you’ll need to stay tuned. You can subscribe to the newsletter (make sure you tick the ‘every post’ option), like the Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter.

I’ll also be sharing carefully-crafted and inspiring quotes each day, or ‘Sethisms’ which have become Godin’s trademark. I’ll leave you with an excellent ‘Sethism’ from the Icarus Deception:

“The door to art and connection is open, but we have no idea for how long.

Every day on the other side of the door is better than a day on this side.

Every moment that we wait, biding our time, waiting for the perfect opportunity, is a moment wasted, and worse, a door that closes, possibly not to open again for a long time to come.”

p.s. I’ve updated the Clear-Minded Creative About Page with a new Mission Statement on why creative people should ignore doubters and critics, which was in no small part inspired by Seth Godin’s work.

Excited Man unboxes Seth Godin’s Behemoth of a Book

Wowzers – that is one big book! Loving the enthusiasm in this video.

I backed Seth’s Kickstarter campaign for the Icarus Deception and so this and a few other goodies should arrive at some point from the US. A bit worried that there will be custom charges though considering the size of that thing!

You can get a short preview of the Icarus Deception by downloading the free manifesto ‘We Are All Artists Now‘.