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Book Review: Seth Godin’s “The Icarus Deception”

I should admit from the outset that I’m a big Seth Godin fan. I’ve read most of his books and read his blog regularly too. In fact, it’s because of his book, Purple Cow, that I started blogging almost seven years ago.

In December I received my copy (actually several copies as a result of backing his Kickstarter campaign) of The Icarus Deception his latest book and I finished is a few weeks ago.

As someone who’s read a lot of Seth I found The Icarus Deception to be, perhaps, his most concise and fully explained book to date. Here’s what I mean: there are several themes that Seth has regularly spoken into over the years like:

  • being remarkable
  • fighting the industrial system and mindset of our world today
  • pushing through fear
  • doing the hard things (even when you don’t feel like it)
  • making things that matter
  • being a difference maker

All of these themes pop up in the book but I found that The Icarus Deception was Seth’s best effort thus far at connecting all of these thoughts and ideas he’s had for years and really showing how they fit together as well as how we as the readers can think more seriously about applying these ideas to our lives.

There are people who criticize Seth for rehashing ideas but I don’t see it that way. The ideas evolve over time and each book is our opportunity to see how the good ideas of several years ago are connecting with the good ideas and observations of today. For that reason I welcome the fact that he reintroduces the things he’s talked about in the past. It shows that they’re still relevant and weren’t fleeting.

Forget the Map
One idea that really captivated me in this book was his discussion about people who want maps to tell them where to go. Seth’s remarks about this are that we’re basically living in an increasingly “mapless” society and people who want maps are going to fall behind and the people who are will to move forward without a map will win.

This really resonated with me. I burned my map several years ago and have fought the temptation to recreate one over the years. I wouldn’t have the life I have today if I’d been following a map for the last six or seven years and I see the need for more map burning all around me.

I could talk a lot more about this idea but I’m probably going to delve deeper into this and how I’m applying this very idea into my work for a future post. I’ll just say this, the map idea has given me some clarity in my business moving forward so this is just one of the many things I’m thankful to Seth for writing.

Clearly, I recommend this book. If you’ve never read a Seth Godin book, this is a great place to start. If you’ve read some of his books but haven’t felt as captivated by them as I have, I’d suggest you give this one a shot. I would be willing to bet you’ll find five to ten things that will challenge your and/or spark new ideas for your work. One good idea would be worth the price of the book. You’ll get your money’s worth. Promise.

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