The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?
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296 of 319 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2013
I give this book 3 stars to split the difference between the 1 star it deserves as a book, and the 5 it deserves as a marketing lesson.

Like most reviewers so far, I bought this book because I'm a fan of SG. However, while I do believe he is preaching his message with the sincere intention to serve us, his readers, I must disagree with the raving reviews. As I read the same message he's given us before, remixed with nuggets from his vast reading, I feel deja vu. The book is like a handful of fortune cookies from SG's all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

The Icarus Deception is grab-bag of his market insight and signature motivational style, already well-expressed on his blog and in his other books. The references to SG's broad reading (even Ulysses gets a nod) was probably thrown in to mix things up, but all it does for this reader is mix up things.

The cajoling to seize your destiny, and live as an artist of life, is not without charm. But SG can do better. He is better than this book. His readers certainly deserve better. Mr. Godin, your readers deserve all of that enormous brain of yours, not just the clever marketing gland (which I can only assume is just above the lizard brain).

A good book on life and work as an artist is the "The Elephant and the Flea" by Charles Handy.
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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2013
It troubles me to write this, but Seth Godin Im sure would want the honest feedback (if he is listening, which he states he no longer does). I too am a BIG fan of SG. I read the blog, all the books, and consume as much SG as I can. It was said before here, and I wholeheartedly agree... this is really just more of the same. There was scarcely anything new, and for that I am disappointed. If you are new to SG and his writing I would give it 5 stars. But, if you are like me... you may be left wondering if Seth shouldnt slow down with his art. While he is remarkable prolific, he may be better served waiting until he has new material to bless us with.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2013
This was my first Seth Godin book and it's nothing but disjointed pieces of obvious information that say the same thing over and over from beginning to end. It reads like he's trying desperately to be poetic and clever but can't quite find his rhythm or figure out how to organize what he wants to say. He seems to be a popular guy, in this field at least, and either he's published a book a thousand times better than this in the past, or his style is best kept to blogging - short bits of (forced)motivational fluff that are good in smaller doses but become repetitive preaching when combined to create a 241 page book.

Read these two sentence: Follow your passion, not others. Working for the man doesn't lead to happiness.

Congratulations, you just read the whole book.
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69 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2013
I appreciate the concept that one should make art as their work. This book says this clearly but says little else. No examples are given, the narrative is not cohesive, and he expresses a lot of contempt for negative amazon reviews. I wrote one anyway.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2013
This is a blog-dump if I've ever seen one and be warned - it is a bad one indeed. I kept waiting for him to get to the point, and trust me, it never happens. It's just one pithy, cliched observation to the next with little or no application. Publishers should be ashamed of this kind of "book." It ain't one!
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
A decade ago I left a nice, safe corporate career to find my art and discover my true self. It was scary. I didn't know where the journey would lead. Seth Godin's "The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?" is an ambitious work that challenges you to do the same. It's for anyone who is living life as a cog in the machine and who dreams of breaking free, making art, and creating something meaningful. You don't have to leave your job to make art, but you might be forced to.

Seth launched the book via Kickstarter and because I am a backer, I got an early copy.

Part of the reason I chose to start my own business was Seth's 1999 book "Permission Marketing" had recently been released and for me, the book clearly articulated the online marketing revolution that we were on the cusp of. I just had to take advantage of those ideas but that marketing radicalism just didn't fly with the corporate status quo. There are no boxes in the org chart for a "ruckus maker."

For me, creating art meant starting something new. But you can create art within an existing structure too. It's the doctor who chooses to communicate with patients on Skype video when they have questions. It's the customer service rep who brings his colleagues together every Friday afternoon to figure out ways to do their jobs better. It's anyone who picks herself to do something important rather than waiting for an authority figure to give authorization to proceed.

I read each and every Seth book the moment they come out. And if you take a look at my reviews, you'll see that I talk about many of them. Yes, I'm a fanboy. But that's because Seth has an uncanny ability to generate ideas that prompt me to think about what I'm doing in new ways.

"The Icarus Deception" will make you uncomfortable. The ideas push you to evaluate the nature of your work and your life. Hopefully, like me, Seth's ideas are a catalyst for you to stop simply doing what the bosses say and live as an artist: to try the untested, to challenge accepted wisdom, to build something new, to travel without a roadmap, to make a difference. I only wish this book had been available ten years ago when I was ready to fly.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2014
I honestly have no clue how this is rated so highly. Godin probably utilized his connection marketing to deceive everyone into thinking this is a worthwhile endeavor.

From a literary perspective, it reads like a disjointed and manipulative text anxious to avoid any sort of critical thinking skills and dive straight into 140-character paragraphs. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but it is when content is severely lacking...I suppose that's exactly why it's so "spacey" as other comments have tapped into.

I do agree with another commenter: this book should definitely have been a blog article. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Besides the concept of the Icarus deception itself, this book/blog offers nothing new.

Recommend reading "The Gift" by Lewis Hyde instead: http://www.amazon.com/The-Gift-Creativity-Artist-Modern/dp/0307279502
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2013
I'm a fan of Godin's blog and the bits of his other books that I've read, but this book was a chore to get through after 30 minutes.

While there are some brilliant nuggets of insight sprinkled throughout, it lacked a cohesive narrative as a whole. It reads like a collection of his shortest and most vague blog posts (and in fact, parts of the book are copied from his blog verbatim).

I do love the book's message, and I consider myself a pretty forgiving reader. If something seems a little abstract, I can play along and appreciate it for what it is. But some of the essays were way, way too abstract for me to get anything from them. They were more Tweet-worthy and witty than substantial. Even a chronological narrative would have been nice. Take me through a thought process, a way this idea has been implemented in a few different businesses, etc. Some kind of structure. There was just no incentive to keep reading as the book went on. It was also REALLY REPETITIVE, which I thought was disrespectful to me as a reader.

I also thought it was cheap of Godin to fabricate an us-versus-them situation to illustrate his point about the changing economy. Industrialists weren't evil, brain-washing nazis who sought to stomp out individuality - they were the brightest minds of their time, trying to do the best they could to shift the previous generation's paradigm. I found this section to be not only incredibly redundant, but also a little over the top. I would've agreed more readily with the contrasts he pointed out if he hadn't done so in such a cynical, bitter way. It reminded me of those old Mac versus PC commercials. It made me want to roll my eyes.

Two books that remind me of what this one was trying to go for are Harry Beckwith's Selling the Invisible and Steven Pressfield's The War of Art. Selling the Invisible (which is about marketing a service-based business and how all businesses are really service-based nowadays) follows a similar format - short blurbs without a strong underlying narrative. However, Selling the Invisible has TONS of real-life stats and examples and substance to support its broader themes and give traction to it's inspiring concepts. The War of Art takes the more hippie, out-there, abstract approach to laying out it's message, but it works because it has a clear structure: Define things, set the scene, then talk about how to overcome the resistance.

You have to do one or the other. You can't just be really vague AND not lead up to anything.
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38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
I'm a huge Seth Godin fan, and of course I checked out this new book -
he's an incredible writer who uses simple words to make a big impact.

Now, I have read most of his books, and there's a common thread that's visible in his vision :

the industrial age is over; create your own business now
don't wait to get discovered, pick yourself
put your essence into what you do
forget catering to the masses, do meaningful work for your tribe
go beyond people's expectations
push yourself to create edgier work
etc

In essence, the Icarus Deception is a book about creating meaningful work that touches another
human being and allows you to financially thrive.

If you are complete new to his work, check this out. Definitely worth it.
It's one of the most inspiring, clarifying works I have ever read from him.

If you read his books before, you still get a lot of inspiration, but you'll also get a lot of what you know from Seth already.
It's like a mashup between "Purple Cow" and "Linchpin".
Just wanted to clarify that ;)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2014
This book came highly rated from a friend of a friend. It read like a video game with lots of bits of information being continually thrown at you. It would have been more useful (and shorter) if it had been arranged in list form. I slogged it out to the end, for the friend's sake, but otherwise I would not have finished it. I did find lots of nuggets of gold throughout but it was not worth the time to find them. Glad I got that over with!
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