Seth Godin Takes Flight with the Icarus Deception


When Seth Godin launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of his latest book, I signed up. There’s just something about reading one of Godin’s books that makes me want to go work for a while.

It’s not that they’re exactly inspirational, because Godin makes a point in each of his books that each person has to do the work for herself. But reading them gets me in the right mental place. The Icarus Deception is no different. There’s a definite value to having a shelf of books that you know will give you a jumpstart when you’re having a tough time getting into the flow of working. I’ve added my copy to that particular shelf.

I do somewhat regret reading the book straight through, however: the book is a little choppy, not unlike Godin’s blog posts, and I already know I’m going to find pieces I missed when I read it the first time, when I choose to go through it again. But there are some points that particularly stood out for me.

  • The question of audience: You used to need to get on Oprah to be able to earn a full-time living from writing a book. But the entire question of who your audience is has shifted. You just need enough followers who will buy directly from you. It’s a matter of finding them and figuring out what they want to buy.
  • What sells when everything is free: Information, in particular, is now available online for free or extremely low prices. The same is true of entertainment, tools for automated work and various other things. That seemingly doesn’t leave a lot to actually earn money from, though there are opportunities. It’s shift that may change how we think about the very nature of work.
  • We aren’t going to be chosen: You have to fight for yourself. That’s always been true, but there used to be respected authorities who could pick you up after a certain amount of struggle (think record labels) and make everything easy. Now, though, we each have to figure things out for ourselves.

These concepts are crucial to the entire concept of running a business in the next five years. It doesn’t matter if you read Godin’s book, but I want you thinking about what these concepts mean to you and what you’re doing.

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