The Icarus Deception

Summary Written by Joel D Canfield
"We're living in a moment of time, the first moment of time, when a billion people are connected, when your work is judged (more than ever before) based on what you do rather than who you are, and when credentials, access to capital, and raw power have been dwarfed by the simple question 'Do I care about what you do?'"

- The Icarus Deception, page 219

The Big Idea

The Danger Is Not Flying Too High, But Flying Too Low

""If you become someone who is uncomfortable unless she is creating change, restless if things are standing still, and disappointed if you haven't failed recently, you've figured out how to become comfortable with the behaviors most likely to make you safe going forward.""- The Icarus Deception, page 5

Whether you’re painting a picture or serving lunch in a diner, writing a book or writing marketing copy, Seth Godin believes anything can be art and anyone can be an artist. Art is not what’s created, but how it’s created.

As we move toward a world where more and more items are commodities rather than luxuries, we move toward a world where connection, humanness, and caring are worth more than quality ingredients or quick delivery.

In the back of your mind or the depths of your heart, you have a secret dream of the thing you’d do, if only it were more practical, less risky.

In an unusual move for Seth, he offers two practical tools for peering into our own artistic soul to see how we can disabuse ourselves of any pointless fears about that secret dream.

Insight #1

What if the Solution is Sitting Right Next to You?

"[A]n unsolvable problem is almost as good as a solved one."- The Icarus Deception, page 181

Tactic #1: Write down your single biggest challenge, the Great Big Problem that’s keeping you from moving forward. State it clearly and succinctly but with enough detail that someone else can understand what you’re facing.

And then, hand that description to someone you trust, someone who might have a clue, and give them five minutes to read it, and write down a solution.

Here are the benefits:

1. Stating the problem clearly is often enough to show you the solution.
2. What if they really do have the answer? Are you ready to act?
3. What if they don’t have an answer? In only five minutes, it’s entirely possible. Are you ready to call the problem unsolvable? A problem that can’t be solved is just about as good as one that’s already solved. If there’s no solution, you’re free to move on, to find the next thing, to try another route, or an entirely different destination.

What if the solution is sitting right next to you?

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Insight #2

Connecting with 3 Artists Will Raise Your Game

"When you know that you need to meet every two weeks and look a respected artist in the eye and tell her what you did (or didn't) make, it will raise your game."- The Icarus Deception, page 181

I’ve seen the power of appropriate accountability in my work, over and over again. When we know we’re going to have to look someone we respect in the eye and tell them “No, I didn’t do what I said I was going to do” it’s a powerful motivator.

Find three other artists, who work in different fields, come from different backgrounds, and have different goals, and connect on a regular basis to talk about the process of your art. (Keep in mind that “art” is simply the thing you’ve chosen to do to stand up and stand out, to make a difference.)

Knowing that you have three people expecting to hear your progress is powerful. Having three other artists to learn from is priceless.

I think these paragraphs from the back cover are a better conclusion than any I could write:

Read the book

Get The Icarus Deception on Amazon.

Seth Godin

SETH GODIN is the author of 17 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow.

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