Next on our Book Review list is the highly sought after author Seth Godin, whose book The Icarus Deception is being reviewed by our Marketing Executive Dominic Moore.

"A Great Read"

The book is predominately aimed at marketers and communications specialists, but nevertheless, there are many lessons in the book that can be applied to everyday life events which gives it a much broader appeal than just marketers.

About Seth Godin

Seth Godin, sometimes referred to as ‘the ultimate entrepreneur for the information’ is an American entrepreneur, marketer, public speaker and author with 17 books in his repertoire addressing various aspects of marketing, advertising, business venturing and leadership. Godin became famous for his public speaking when he uploaded his e-book ‘Unleashing the Ideavirus’, making it available for free for all.

After graduating from Stanford Graduate School of Business, Godin worked as a software brand manager before starting ‘Yoyodyne’, one of the first internet-based direct-marketing firms with revolutionary ideas on how companies should reach their target audiences. The success and publicity of the company attracted big companies like Volvo, Microsoft, Sony Music to associate with it and within a few years ‘Yahoo!’ bought the company and kept Godin on as a vice president of permission marketing.

Icarus Deception

Outline of the book

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin challenges readers to find the courage to treat their work as a form of art in his most inspiring book yet. Icarus’ 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 like it to generations of kids with all the stories having the same lesson: Play it safe, obey your parents, Listen to the experts. The perfect propaganda for the industrial economy.  After all, what boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?

Whether you’re a teacher, engineer, doctor, middle manager or customer service rep, you can fly higher by bringing your best self to work by caring about what you’re doing today and how you can improve tomorrow with Godin showing us how it’s possible and convinces us why it’s essential.

Key points

Creativity is suffocated
The whole philosophy of the book is based on the Greek myth of the great craftsman Daedalus disobedient son Icarus flying too close to the sun with wings he built in prison to escape for defying the king. Seth talks about how society has altered this myth to encourage people to have caution about standing up and standing out, that it has been changed so we don’t challenge, no new ideas are born, creativity is suffocated, and we are damaging ourselves with this mentality. Godin tries to play on the idea of whatever the rule is, do the opposite; break the norm. One quote from the book sums this up perfectly “Revolutions bring total chaos, that’s what makes them revolutionary”.

We are all artists
Godin talks about the processes we have in place in our lives and both intellectually and in our day to day procedures and what has developed from these.

“When you are rewarded for obedience, you were obedient. When you were rewarded for compliance, you were compliant. When you were rewarded for competence, you were competent. Now that society finally values art, make art”.

Godin uses the word “Art” for new, helpful and advancing products or ideas. He says that we are all artists and mentions how James Elkins points out the school of art is divided into two categories, fine art and industrial art then it expanded to painting, architecture, music and poetry and then furthermore to film, video, photography, design and fashion.

Godin suggests that customer service, leadership and entrepreneurship are the new performing arts, the valuable arts to businesses and the essential personal arts. The procedures that we live by now need to be changed. We need to be willing to listen to these ‘artists’  who don’t presume everything is at the touch of a button. These traits are scarce and valuable and we should hold onto them whenever we can.

Connection Economy
The Connection Economy talks about how we’ve moved past the industrial economy and now we need to focus on the connections that we make as the highest priority for any business. This theorem is summed up perfectly with this section from the book “If your factory burns down, but you have loyal customers, you’ll be fine. On the other hand, if you lose your customers, even your factory isn’t going to help you”. Business now depends on the connection you make and the relationship you build, not about the tools at your disposal. So make sure you go the extra mile because first impressions make a bigger difference than ever!

The connection economy rewards those who take risks and put suggestions out there, and tries to get into your mind that you shouldn’t dismiss someone for an idea that doesn’t fit or work, because one person saying an idea in a meeting can spark another to talk who might not have said anything in the first place.

Overall thoughts

I think overall the book is a very good read and would recommend it to anyone, especially someone within the marketing industry. My issue with the book is the juxtaposition of chapters and paragraphs and sudden references to certain chapters/paragraphs earlier on in the book. As a pickup and read it’s a great book however, I struggled to read it for a sustained period of time.

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