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The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  4,710 Ratings  ·  448 Reviews
In Seth Godin’s most inspiring book yet, he challenges readers to find the courage to treat their work as a form of art. Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun. But he ignored that warning and plunged to his doom. We’ve retold this myth, and many others like it, to generations of kids. All these stories have the same ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published December 31st 2012 by Portfolio (first published 2012)
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J.F. Penn
Dec 31, 2012 J.F. Penn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: entrepreneur
I was part of Seth's Kickstarter so I bought this early, and reading is has totally fired me up to commit to creating and sharing my own art.

There were many parts of the book that resonated with me, but in combination with Steven Pressfield's Turning Pro, the message is really to pick yourself, and persist at the practice of creation.
“Creating art is a habit, one that we practice daily or hourly until we get good at it … Art isn’t about the rush of victory that comes from being picked. Nor doe
Todd Sattersten
Jan 24, 2013 Todd Sattersten rated it really liked it
Seth writes books for his tribe. If you are not in the tribe, you might say that Linchpin or Poke The Box covered the same territory and you would be right. If you are in the tribe, you'll gladly pick up this next title (or spend $120 on Kickstarter to get a whole box of books).

In this new book, Seth pushes much harder on how many stories and cultural myths reinforce playing it safe. "Don't fall too close to the sun." Don't step outside the norm. Don't challenge the system. He makes a convincing
Jason Riemens
Feb 26, 2013 Jason Riemens rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Seth Godin book and I was very excited to listen to it. But, it was painful torture and I did not enjoy it in the slightest. I found its content and direction to not only be off-putting but potentially dangerous. While I am certainly one who likes to do things differently and am eccentric at times, Seth's tautological reference to "art" in this book almost drove me mad. And at a minimum, it was maddening. I felt that there was a lack of creativity in Seth not using a different ...more
Ben Love
Dec 29, 2012 Ben Love rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read the pre-release ebook when Seth made it available over Thanksgiving on timebx. The the physical book arrived and I chewed my way through that too. Then the audiobook was released at the start of the year and I just finished that. Listen to the audiobook... to hear Seth convey his work is the best way to understand his intent.
The book is a Linchpin The Second. If you read and lived out Seth's best previous work, this is deeper plea and a some calibration until a little over half way
just received my copy today & cant put it down. Thanks Seth, for writing it specifically for me.
I've also read a number of the reviews, only a couple of which were negative. To those, i say "you've missed the point".
If you were looking for something more than was in book, Seth's premise is "Good, go write it yourself - be brave, be bold, and stretch yourself".
If you didnt get it, you might (perhaps) still be a 'cog'. Thats not neccessarily a bad thing, unless you dont want to be a cog anymor
Ray Edwards
Jan 13, 2013 Ray Edwards rated it it was amazing
At first I was irritated by this book. I am accustomed to being Seth's cheerleader in everything he writes. This time, I found myself thinking, numerous times, "that's not true."

Then I found myself getting angry because of something he wrote.

As I pressed forward in the book, I realized what was happening. It was something that happens to me with very few books these days. I was being challenged to think.

While I don't agree with his every single conclusion, I do agree with most of what's in this
Phil Beardmore
Mar 03, 2013 Phil Beardmore rated it it was amazing
"We're not looking for the correct method, we're looking for the incorrect method".

This quote from Keith Richards sums up the philosophy of this book. Creators, innovators, artists are all people who don't seek other people's approval to ask "what if?" They know that "this might not work" but the excitement of finding out is what drives them forward. They don't mind that what they create has rough edges - the rough edges are the entire point.

I won this book in a Twitter competition organised by
May 30, 2013 Philip rated it it was ok
Godin’s work points to the need for artists (he paints with a broad brush on this term) to create and work without boundaries. This book points out the oppressive nature of industrialization on creativity. Godin encourages his readers to think less about how to make money and more about how to make what makes them happy. I think this book is valuable for those who are trying to stretch their wings, but it is a little less than genuine at points. Godin makes the point that the industrialists are ...more
Kara O
May 16, 2013 Kara O rated it liked it
I appreciate the sentiment of this book. I appreciate the risk it took to write about the fact that yes you shouldn't fly too close to the sun, but you also shouldn't fly too close to the water. You can do better than what you are doing now. I think the term Godin kept using "art," could be confusing. I definitely want to create art in my life and make a difference. Godin gave some good pointers on how to do so. I just feel like this is a book that is written for a specific set of people. Some p ...more
Jan 06, 2013 John rated it liked it
I love Seth's work, but this vein of books is getting a little thin. Especially after reading his latest blog post...

"In order to monetize your work, you'll probably corrupt it, taking out the magic in search of dollars."

The magic has seemed to come out of his latest works, as they are mostly rehashes of previous ideas, yet they are priced relatively high for Kindle books. Seems a tad disingenuous.
Denise Urena
Feb 09, 2013 Denise Urena rated it liked it
Good, if you're brand new to Seth Godin's work. If not, then this is nothing new from him, other than the metaphor about the story of Icarus. This book is meant to stir a lot of emotion about Art and reaching your potential (fly high, not too low). But, that message should be taken with the understanding, that your potential as an Artist develops with years and years of practice and work. You won't be "flying high" when you're first starting out. So, while I think it's great that Seth is getting ...more
Colleen Wainwright
Dec 12, 2012 Colleen Wainwright rated it really liked it
It may be because of where I am in my own creative-development arc, but this book got to me—and inspired me, and surprised me—more than any of Seth's books to date. It is written in the same staccato style as his blog, the writing form he excels at, but with the full emotional impact (again, for me!) of his best talks. I've already written a piece on it for my actors' column, and would like to do one for my poor, moribund blog when I finally am up to resuscitating it. In the meantime, this is a ...more
Jan 23, 2013 K rated it it was amazing
I'm doing my best to read a book every 10 days or so this year. It's likely I'll fall behind but at least in trying this I'm much more likely to actually FINISH books, which I think is important.

My first book of 2013 is Seth Godin's The Icarus Deception. I got a lot out of this book and will undoubtedly keep referring back to it. The message is powerful - he encapsulates it on the first page - "We are all artists now". His thinking (which I agree with) is that so much of what we were brought up
Jul 25, 2013 Pam rated it it was amazing
Got this on audio book and listened while I ellipticized. While it may not have had quite the upbeat energy I love to keep me going on the elliptical, it nonetheless was constantly inspiring. I've seen reviews that say if you've read all of Seth's stuff, this book is just more of the same. That may be true; I haven't read all his work so I don't know. But for me, this book held so many truths and ideas. I changed my world four years ago when I decided to become a writer; the repercussions of thi ...more
Joseph Bunting
Jan 23, 2013 Joseph Bunting rated it it was amazing

While reading this book, I finalized my plans to start two new "art projects" that I had long been considering but had stalled out on. I wrote two articles and over ten of pages of notes about new ideas. I underlined dozens of quotes. While reading this book, I embraced my fear and made art.

This book changed my life.
Michael Nobbs
Jun 30, 2013 Michael Nobbs rated it it was amazing
As always Seth inspires us to not wait to be picked, but instead get on and forge our on place in the world. Good stuff!
Oct 22, 2014 Greg rated it did not like it
I bet Seth Godin is the kind of guy who starts conversations in the locker room with other men while he's completely nude, chewing off the ears of his "listeners" while showing no intention of wrapping a towel around himself or getting dressed. As if to say "Are you comfortable with this? Or have you been brainwashed to fear the human body?"

This book is the very worst kind of business book. I started listening to it on audiobook, and I'm glad I did, because Seth Godin read it himself so that I c
Jan 16, 2013 camcollins rated it really liked it
In a wonderful podcast series called the Seth Godin Startup School, Seth announces to the group in the summer of 2012 that four years ago he stopped writing for the masses and just started focusing on his tribe. He said he didn't really need more readers and that he wanted to give back to his audience, to make art for them.

This book embodies that notion. If you have read a number of Seth Godin books, Icarus builds on a theme that Seth has been building on since Permission Marketing. Icarus in my
Sue Cartwright
Jan 30, 2013 Sue Cartwright rated it really liked it
I've only just started reading this book and already I am inspired to stop procrastinating and publish my art!

The interesting thing that Seth highlights (in his usual brilliant style) is that the Icarus legend is often interpreted all wrong. The part of the myth we are told is to not fly too high, as Daedalus instructed his son, Icarus not too get too close to the sun or his wings made of wax would melt. What we have NOT been told is that Daedalus also instructed his son not to fly too LOW, beca
Kent Winward
Jan 07, 2013 Kent Winward rated it really liked it
Here's the thing: I usually agree with Godin about things, but implementation always is harder than it seems it should be. In his current book, he makes a great case for creating art and infusing that art into the economy. I enjoy and love all these type of polemics to be true to your artistic vision.

Maybe my only complaint is this: As Godin says throughout the book -- making art is hard work. Reading the book is extremely motivating on one hand, but on the other, knowing the day in and day out
Gregory Scheckler
So as a professional artist-author and art teacher, I get the general notion of this book, that sometimes it is important to do what others don't, that even the core of creativity is denying the status quo. But I also found the constant characterization of artists rather annoying, as if they all think the same, act the same, and do the same. They don't. Their marketing methods and boldness is much more varied, both much more heroic and at times sinister, than what Godin suggests. That much said, ...more
Feb 28, 2016 Chad rated it it was amazing
What an incredible read! I LOVED this book. Maybe just for this moment in my life did it mean so much for me. I have been living in fear and conformity and afraid to be the artist I can be. I have spent much of my life looking for the instruction book to know HOW to live my life and I have felt like a fraud so many times. It is a relief to see that this is a common feeling and how to just put your head down and plow ahead with your art/creativity. Very empowering. Takes the place of (some) thera ...more
Jun 01, 2016 Kristin rated it did not like it
I couldn't cope with the prose so I abandoned the book altogether. I suppose that might mean I'm not a "high flyer", as Godin might define it. But the reality is that I've never been one to take seriously those airbrushed posters of soaring eagles with mindless "inspirational" quotes as their captions. I don't do short, punchy, setting-the-record-straight businesspeak. This book is complete rubbish.
Nov 27, 2012 Itay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had the pleasure of reading the preview edition of the book.

I am a huge fan of Seth Godin, so I am probably biased, but it is one of the most inspiring books I've read in years. Most likely since I've read Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?.

Highly recommended.
Troy Blackford
May 09, 2013 Troy Blackford rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this book strongly enough. It will change the way you think, or at the very least strengthen your conviction to think in the unique way you already do. I wish I could have thrown this book in the face of all my middle school teachers when I was growing up. Please give it a chance, it's incredible.
Debra Langley
Enjoyed the central message of the book which is ....make more art but found the writing to lack a cohesive train of thought. Bits and pieces slapped together to make a quick buck. Not his best work.
Jan 11, 2013 Jodi rated it really liked it
If you decided a book's rating based on how many things you highlighted, then The Icarus Deception would be the best book ever. I'm not going to go that far, but I did enjoy the book quite a bit.

Seth has ideas that some (many even) would consider radical. One of the most interesting to me is the effect that industrialism (and capitalism) has had on our society. One passage reads "Thanks to industrialists and their bountiful profits, our definition of success was changed. The nature of education
Aug 20, 2014 Megan rated it did not like it
I was so excited when I first began this book! I was writing down quotes as I listened to the audiobook (read by the author), energized by his super cool ideas about how we are in a post-industrial economy -- a connection economy. This all makes great sense to me. What doesn't make sense is Godin's new definition of art. It is stretched so thin that it becomes meaningless, in my opinion. Similarly stretched are his metaphors. When he tries to make "grit" a good thing from the artist's perspectiv ...more
Feb 21, 2013 A.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
Everyone knows the story of Icarus, whose father made him wings from wax and feathers. He cautioned him not to fly too close to the sun or the wax will melt. Icarus does, and he falls. Seth points out that Daedalus also advised him not to fly too close to the sea as the moisture would make the wings too heavy. Seth’s argument is that we have all forgotten the second part of the advice and that we all fly too low.
In Australia we have what we call ‘tall poppy syndrome’ - if someone gets above them
Jun 29, 2014 Quinn rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book, like Seth's other books, is about leading the next generation of American business. He's discussed ideas on leadership ("Tribes") and being remarkable ("Purple Cow") in other books, but in this book he points to creativity as the necessary resource. Godin follows thought leaders like Daniel Pink who agree that creativity is the necessary ingredient for success in the future.

He's realistic that creative people aren't often welcomed in the industrial-age thinking, when compliance, obed
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Seth Godin is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change.

Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world, and he is also a renowned speaker. He was recently chosen as one of 21 Speakers for the Next Century by Successful Meetings and is consistently rated among the very best speakers by the audiences he addresses.

Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the indust
More about Seth Godin...

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“You get to keep making art as long as you are willing to make the choices that let you make your art.” 9 likes
“Art has no right answer. The best we can hope for is an interesting answer.” 7 likes
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