Last summer I backed Seth Godin's Kickstarter project for a new book, one that he touted as his "most personal book, a direct statement about the fundamental changes in the connection economy and the opportunity for individuals to face their fear and make art, to make a difference and to do work that matters."
Having read and enjoyed both Linchpin and Tribes, I was eager to see what he had next up his sleeve, and in December my boxed set of 4 copies of the book arrived in the mail.
Art is Frightening
Reading The Icarus Deception is very much like reading Godin's blog each day. In fact, his method of writing feels like a compilation of existing and tweaked blog posts, a handful of paragraphs tied together with a headline theme. And the book is organized into broader parts, not individual chapters.
It's the kind of book that you don't want to just blast through. I could tell that each "blog post" section was meticulously crafted, and if you read it too fast you're likely to miss the point. For that reason alone it's the kind of book built for commuting, shorter spans of reading while you're on the bus or train to or from work, where digestible chunks can enter your brain and rattle around all day long for maximum effect.
How High Will You Fly?
Godin hits hard on the connection economy as the new reality for our post- [?] recession nation, and I couldn't agree more. A lot of what he has to say hits home for me in regards to what it means to flourish as an artist and why I'm starting Maker's Nation, so his timing is impeccable, and his directness does more to speak to me personally than a lot of other books I've read.
He frames the book around the myth of Icarus, but focuses on the oft-forgotten second half of the story—his wax-affixed wings may have melted too close to the sun, but his father's advice also cautioned him against flying too close to the sea, lest the water pull all the lift out of his wings. And so, Godin implores us, we must fly higher, out of our comfort zone, beyond our safety net, and make art. Art that matters. Art that is brave.
The Connection Economy
Everyone is lonely. Connect.
This simple statement is the driving force for Maker's Nation. Why must we self-isolate and rely on the digital commons of social media for our connection to others? Get out of the house and socialize. Make the kind of friends with whom you feel comfortable letting your guard down. Talk openly about your hopes and dreams and plans to make a change and make a difference.
Shun the nonbelievers.
Later on in the book, he mentions "the impresario" and I'll admit I had to put the book down and look it up to fully understand what he meant. That's not a term I've heard of much in today's culture, but it has more relevance now than ever, especially in a connection economy.
3 Insights of the Impresario:
- If you weren't born with talent, that's fine. You were born with commitment.
- Organize the talented.
- Connect the disconnected.
If anything describes the path I'm on right now, this is it. And this is powerful.
Make More Art. Make Better Art.
You are. So think. Speak up.
Fly higher. Find the updrafts. Put yourself out there. Connect. The world needs more art. It needs the best we can be. It requires courage, vulnerability, and daring. And there will be resistance along the way. "The resistance is not something to be avoided; it's something to seek out." The resistance is your clue that you're on the right track, that you're making progress and pushing the limits of what others think you can do. That's your opportunity to delight and amaze and make a difference.
And so I say, "Let's make art together."
Bookshelf is a series of book reviews and thoughts about what I've read. Some are left-brained books, some are right-brained books, but the best books are the ambidextrous-brained books. Disclosure: most purchase links are created through affiliate programs. If you like what you see here, consider supporting The Ambidextrous Brain by using the links to purchase a book.