09. August 2015 · Comments Off on Icarus Deception by Seth Godin · Categories: Uncategorized


In keeping with my philosophy of letting a book speak for itself instead of writing a formal book review, here are the most meaningful quotes I found from the Icarus Deception by Seth Godin.

“It’s far more dangerous to fly too low than too high… By flying too low we shortchange not only ourselves but also those who depend on us or might benefit from our work. We’re so obsessed about the risk of shining brightly that we’ve traded in everything that matters to avoid it. The path that’s available to us is to be human, to do art, and to fly far higher than we’ve been taught is possible.” (Page 2)

“Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another. Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map-these are works of art, and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock, use a computer, or work with others all day long. Speaking up when there is no obvious right answer, making yourself vulnerable when it’s possible to put up shields, and caring about both the process and the outcome-these are works of art that our society embraces and the economy demands.” (Page 6)

“There isn’t a pain free way to achieve your goals” (Page 7)

“I’ve witnessed countless opportunities squandered by people who could have taken action but didn’t. Not because they couldn’t figure out what to do but because they weren’t willing to do it.” (Page 7)

“The connection economy rewards the leader, the initiator, and the rebel “(Page13).

“Sometimes, courage is the willingness to speak the truth about what you see and to own what you say. In order for there to be courage, there must be risk.” (Page 17)

“Our success turns not on being the low-price leader but on being the high trust leader.” (Page 25)

“Don’t worry about your stuff. Worry about making meaning instead.” (Page 25)

“College started as universitas magistrorum et scholarium- a community of masters and scholars. It was a refuge; it was a place you went to get lost in ideas, to discover and wander, and to plot a course as an academic.” (Page 32)

“This economy demands that we spin the log ever faster-doing not the work of making the same widget faster and cheaper in a race to the bottom but the work of connecting and entertaining and amazing with our most vivid dreams.” (Page 34)

“Art has no right answer. The best we can hope for is an interesting answer.” (Page 36)

“There are so many places that art and connection are needed, so many avenues that are open, so many opportunities, that no one is boxed out. It’s not about whether we have what it takes; it’s about whether we choose to pursue it.” (Page 37)

“It’s impossible to connect with a device or an automaton. It’s worthwhile to connect with a person, to someone we have granted the dignity that she deserves.” (Page 56)

“Art is personal. Art is untested. Art is intended to connect.” (Page 64).

“Who decides if your work is good? When you are at your best, you do. If the work doesn’t deliver on its purpose, if the pot you made leaks or the hammer you forged breaks, then you should learn to make a better one.” (Page 71)

“The artist wonders, “Where is there an opportunity for me to change everything and make an impact?” (Page 85).”

“Cassidy Dale points out that many people are either knights or gardeners. The knights view the world as a cataclysmic conflict with winners and losers, with battles to be fought, and with right and wrong as the dominant drivers. Gardeners, on the other hand, have the instinct to look for ways to heal, to connect, and to grow the people they encounter. (Page 86)”

“When the critic pushes you to make better art, art that you are capable of, then her response is worth cherishing. But the critic who pushes you to fit in or dumb down your work-take that criticism with caution.” (Page 94)

“Art is a commitment to a process and to a direction and to generosity, not to a result.” (Page 95)

“Foolish risks are for the gods. That’s what we write myths about. Not their everyday, banal lives. No, we write about and talk about and dream about their brave exploits and their foolish risks. The gods are us. And yes, the gods are crazy.” (Page 102)

“The value of art is in your willingness to stare down the risk and to embrace the void of possible failure.” (Page 105)

“We talk about “sink or swim”, but there’s not as much sinking going on as you might expect. There’s a fair amount of treading water, a whole lot of people unwilling to get into the pool at all, but not so much sinking. We’ve greatly exaggerated the risk of sinking, without celebrating the value of swimming.” (Page 106)

“Art has no safety map, no easy-to-follow manual, no guaranteed method.” (Page 106)

“Your goal as an artist is to make art that moves the audience of your choice.” (Page 128)

“When those who love you speak of a life well lived, we’ll talk about the lines you managed to color outside of, the people you touched, and the ruckus you made. Most of all, we’ll remember how you took a chance and connected with us.” (Page 129)

“The reason we don’t get talker’s block is that we’re in the habit of talking without a lot of concern for whether or not our inane blather will come back to haunt us. Talk is cheap. Talk is ephemeral. Talk can be easily denied. We talk poorly and then eventually (or sometimes), we talk smart. We get better at talking precisely because we talk. We see what works and what doesn’t and, if we’re insightful, do more of what works. How can one get talker’s block after all this practice? Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure. Just write. Write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better. Everyone should learn to write in public. Get a blog. Do it every day. Every single day. Not a dairy, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing). Tell us how to do something.” (Page 166)

“Your biggest failure is the thing you dreamed of contributing but didn’t find the guts to do.” (Page 216)


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