the.icarus.deception

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.

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).

Seth Godin Spectacular!

seth-godin

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.