“Flying Closer to the Sun” with Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception

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Fly closer to the sun. Sounds dangerous, right? Well, technically-speaking, it is. And if you remember your Greek mythology, it didn’t work out so well for poor Icarus …

But Seth Godin’s latest work is a new spin on the old Icarus tale, illuminating the additional risk that isn’t emphasized in the original myth: flying too close to the sea. Being too safe, and, in effect, too sorry.

Want to take your design career to new heights?

In The Icarus Deception, Godin calls all of us to rise higher, reimagining our lives outside of our comfort zones and routine cubicles—even if it means getting a little sunburned along the way.

The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin, HOW Leadership Conference

Redefining Art + The Artist

Art is what it is to be human. Think you can’t be an artist or do art?

Think again. You’re human, and according to Godin, have the capacity to own and project the “attitude” of an artist, to embody it. He calls all of us to channel our inner, authentic selves to use “bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo.”

Buck the System

When is the last time you felt vulnerable in a meeting or chose to step outside of the status quo?

Godin makes a strong case that we need a new, evolved approach to the world to avoid being merely the “cogs in the machine.” Emerging from the industrial era of machines and systems that homogenized our way of being in the world and taught each of us to conform, Godin asks us to shift our perspective.

Yes, it’s hard. But we don’t have a choice. We’ve moved into a space, into (what he coins) the “connection economy”—where inputs and outputs are different. Where it’s difficult but necessary to connect.

Speaking of Connection… Seth Godin’s Delivery

You’ve seen countercultural manifestos before, but none delivered with the subtle persuasion that’s present throughout The Icarus Deception. No, Godin doesn’t hold back, but his style is something to behold.

Carefully inserting quotes from literary figures, conceptual artists and beyond, he breaks up the prose to both reinforce his core ideas and illuminate new ideas for the reader. A sort of synthesis happens via pointed questions and well-crafted anecdotal narrative sprinkled throughout the book.

While some writers attempt to motivate through heavy-handed, hard-hitting buzz words, Godin’s book strikes the delicate balance of persuasive and revelatory.

Seth Godin, HOW Leadership Conference, The Icarus Deception

The time is now. Work without a map. Stop “copyediting” the world – Make the world. Contribute. Management vs. Leadership. Don’t keep your head down. Don’t wait to be picked – Pick yourself.

These ideas aren’t merely lip service. Each concept is executed with passion and persistence. And I don’t want to say too much. There’s a lot to unpack in this carefully-crafted journey. So don’t be deceived: Learn to fight fear with commitment and risk…

If you want instant gratification, get-rich-quick sort of guidance, this book isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a lasting challenge that leads to self-reflection and, ideally, much growth, The Icarus Deception will surely take you to new heights. You may just find your perfect audience or learn to truly appreciate the “grit” in life.

Want more inspiration from Seth Godin?

You’re in luck. Don’t miss him at the HOW Leadership Conference this May! It’s the push you’ve been looking for to move your career into new and exciting places…

HOW Design LIVE 2014

The Icarus Deception, by Seth Godin, is published by Portfolio/Penguin, New York. Watch the book trailer here.