Flying too Low: The Icarus Deception, by Seth Godin

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

He instructed the boy as well, saying ‘Let me warn you, Icarus, to take the middle way, in case the moisture weighs down your wings, if you fly too low, or if you go too high, the sun scorches them. Travel between the extremes.  –  Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book VIII.

The theme of Seth Godin’s newest book “The Icarus Deception” is that society has altered thy myth of Icarus.  Society teaches half of the myth – that if you fly too high, if you try to be better than you are, if you dare too much, then you will crash into the sea like Icarus.  “Don’t disobey the King.  Don’t disobey your dad.  Don’t imagine you are better than you are, and most of all, don’t ever believe you have the ability to do what a god might do.”  Godin explains.

But society has left out the other half of the myth.  Flying too low, too close to the waves, is just as dangerous.  “We’ve built a world where it’s possible to fly higher than ever, and the tragedy is that we’ve been seduced into believing that we should fly lower instead”.

For the rest of the book, Godin opens our eyes to the new, connected, possible world.  We live in a world where it is easier than ever to create what Godin calls art – and to get our creative, artistic expressions out there in front of everyone.  Godin sees the new, connected world as an exciting place, a beginning of unlimited potential, and sweeps us up in his excitement.

Godin sees that the old, safe world where if you just went to your job and did as you were told and didn’t make waves you would be able to have a nice house and a car and send your kids to college and retire with a pension and a gold watch is gone.  Playing it safe is no longer safe.  The only choice now is to create.  The only failure is to hide.

Godin’s book is an easy read, if a bit repetitive.  But Godin does a great job of getting us to buy into his vision of the future, and it is a pretty good vision.

I recommend The Icarus Deception.  It is empowering and exciting.  I was already recommending it to close friends before I even finished it.

If you read it, let me know what you think.


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