I picked up The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin on a whim in an airport bookstore months ago. I’ve pick it up and put it down a dozen times since then and just finished it tonight. Not because it wasn’t a gripping book, but because it is written in a way that allows you to pick it up, read a few pages, get inspired and go do something. The Icarus Deception is about overcoming your fears and the things that are holding you back to create “art.” And “art” is liberally defined; in fact, the cover description says “Steve Jobs was an artist. So were Henry Ford and Martin Luther King Jr.” We can all be artist and share our creations with the world if we stop holding back. I am walking away from this book with these directives: speak up, make connections, take risks and work hard on the things you love.
Here are my favorite passages from the book:
“If your team is filled with people who work for the company, you’ll soon be defeated by tribes of people who work for a cause.”
“Courage doesn’t always involve physical heroism in the face of death. It doesn’t always require giant leaps worthy of celebration. Sometimes, courage is the willingness to speak the truth about what you see and to own what you say.”
“Correct is fine, but it is better to be interesting.”
“It’s what we wrestle with every single day. The intersection of comfort, danger, and safety. The balancing act between vulnerability and shame. The opportunity (or the risk) to do art. The willingness to take responsibility for caring enough to make a difference and to have a point of view. Moving your comfort zone when the safety zone changes isn’t easy, but it’s better than being a victim.”
“A lifetime spent noticing begins to turn into the ability to see what others can’t.”
“Anyone who cares and acts on it is performing a work of art.”
“Success can be just as fraught with danger as failure, because it opens more doors and carries more responsibility. The alternative, though, is to be invisible and to deny your dreams. How can we even contemplate this?”
“Complaining is stupid. Either act or forget.” – Stefan Sagmeister
“Habits of successful artists: learn to sell what you’ve made, say thank you in writing, speak in public, fail often, see the world as it is, make predictions, teach others, write daily, connect others, lead a tribe.”
“…whatever happens, things are going to be fine in the end, …pain is part of the journey, and without the pain there really isn’t a journey worth going on.”
“The biggest black mark on your working resume is the road not taken, the project not initiated, and the art not made.”
This is a great book to keep on your desk and read a few pages at a time when you need a little inspiration and encouragement to take a risk and do something you believe in.