The key to doing your best work is to move beyond your comfort zone, argues Seth Godin in his new book The Icarus Deception. Referencing the ancient myth of Icarus to frame the presentation of his ideas, Godin argues that we’ve been conditioned not to fly too high (Icarus had wings attached by wax and was warned never to fly too close to the sun). Indeed, keeping a low profile and working diligently to execute assigned work have been important to success for a long time – pretty much since the inception of the industrial revolution. But, Godin argues, this approach is in conflict with the newly emerging connection economy where creativity and innovation bring more value than compliance. In fact, he encourages readers to make a ruckus in order to stand out above the fray. Those are the ones who will be most successful.
Godin explains that brining our best work forward, no matter what your field, is like producing art. And art demands creativity, innovative thinking, and digging deep to bring out our best. Much of the book focuses on this idea and how to navigate the very personal journey of making that transition. The goal is to do work that’s worth doing, and the method is to think (and act) like an artist. It’ll take grit. You’ll need to embrace vulnerability. You’ll need to go outside of your comfort zone. And your efforts will be rewarded by the newly emerging connection economy where trust, permission, remarkability, and leadership are heavily valued and connections are based on core attributes of humanity.
It’s a complex set of ideas, well presented but needing some time to digest and ponder. The book is 240 pages long and pretty densely packed with ideas and stories written in the classic bloggy writing style that Seth is known for (he has a wildly popular daily blog). I highly recommend this book, which builds upon his early work in this space, particularly his books Linchpin and Poke The Box. The ideas from those works, and his daily blog, are more developed and refined here.