A decade ago I left a nice, safe corporate career to find my art and discover my true self. It was scary. I didn't know where the journey would lead nor if I could make a living by my own wits. Seth Godin's The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? is an ambitious work that challenges you to do the same. It's for anyone who is living life as a cog in the machine and who dreams of breaking free, making art, and creating something meaningful. You don't have to leave your current job to make art, but like me, you might be forced to.
Seth launched the book via Kickstarter and because I am a backer, I got an early copy. The book releases to the public on December 31.
Part of the reason I chose to start my own business was Seth's 1999 book Permission Marketing had recently been released and for me, the book clearly articulated the online marketing revolution that we were on the cusp of. I just had to take advantage of those ideas but that marketing radicalism just didn't fly with the corporate status quo. There are no boxes in the org chart for a "ruckus maker".
For me, creating art meant starting something new. But you can create art within an existing structure too. It's the doctor who chooses to communicate with patients on Skype video when they have questions even though the medical establishment looks down on such personal care. It's the customer service rep who brings his colleagues together every Friday afternoon to figure out ways to do their jobs better. It's anyone who picks herself to do something important rather than waiting for an authority figure to give authorization to proceed.
I read each and every Seth book the moment they come out. And if you take a look at my Amazon reviews, you'll see that I talk about many of them. Yes, I'm a fanboy. But that's because Seth has an uncanny ability to generate ideas that prompt me to think about what I'm doing in new ways.
The Icarus Deception will likely make you uncomfortable. The ideas push you to evaluate the nature of your work and your life. Hopefully, like me, Seth's thoughts are a catalyst for you to stop simply doing what the bosses say and live as an artist: to try the untested, to challenge accepted wisdom, to build something new, to travel without a roadmap, to make a difference. I only wish this book had been available ten years ago when I was ready to fly.