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The Icarus Deception

book cover image and link to amazon

Original Review

In true Seth Godin fashion, this is a short book about one powerful concept:

The Icarus fable about not flying too close to the sun is not the best message anymore.

In that fable, Icarus has wings made with wax, and upon flying too high the wax gets hot and melts, so he falls from the sky.

In this book, Seth makes the argument that most people in industries, especially anyone who is a knowledge worker (but also others) should treat their work as art. People understand intuitively that art must be trained, is unique from the contributor, and can be grown and nurtured to improve. For some reason, we don't make that same connection with knowledge work. Striving for excellence, breaking some eggs and apologizing after, and avoiding the trap of conformity are the main themes of the book. I really enjoyed it and have kept this concept in mind as I've progressed the last few years.

icarus flying near the sun

Updated Review


Upon migrating this book to my new website book shelf, I realized my thoughts had changed slightly considering a few years had passed and I had read more books. The thoughts below are my updated thoughts on the book.

It's become obvious to me that I've mixed together two books by Seth Godin: Linchpin and this one. When discussing this idea with people I would say "You need to think of your job as art to become more of a critical linchpin in your career." I still think these ideas belong together, but they've come from two different books.

I also think this concept of "Work as Art" isn't possible to do early in your career (for most people.) I think it often only comes with experience and years in your career. I would predict that the few people who can do it early in their career are likely to be vastly more successful or vastly less successful than the average person.

icarus flying near the sun

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