There’s no question that the line between art and work, the division between the left and right brain, is getting hazier. It’s a divide marketing guru Seth Godin confronts in his latest “The Icarus Deception,” out December 31.
The name Icarus probably sounds familiar. He’s that one mythological guy – not sure if he’s Roman or Greek, does it matter? – whose father tells him not to fly too close to the sun. Well, he does. The sun’s heat then melts the wax in his wings, causing him to fall to his death. (He drowns in the ocean.)
For Godin, the Icarus myth is a lie, a deception an industrialist society has passed on as truth to keep its members in check. (The book really isn’t that dark, I promise.)
So why would our societal narratives want to “keep us down?” Godin believes our world is transitioning from that industrial economy to what he calls a “connection economy.” In the former, the individual was a productive member of society when she followed the rules, kept her head low, quietly assembled car parts in the Ford assembly line. Under these economic constraints, myths turn into propaganda, as they function to tell workers what is and is not acceptable to believe and achieve.
Godin is passionate about demonstrating that what matters now in the marketing, business and human arenas is actually connection. Whatever we do for a living, Godin says, we are all artists, and we must question any preconceived narratives we have about achievement and claim our power as individuals who participate and create.
So what does Godin’s “success” look like? The picture is more beautiful, but less glamorous, than you might think. Godin sees success in the junior associate who initiates weekly meetings with his superiors, despite his fear of doing so. Godin sees it in the waitress who doesn’t work hard to get better tips, but out of the sheer joy of helping others.
The Verdict: For many, Godin’s message will come as a relief – we don’t all have to be Mark Zuckerberg – but it’s also a dare. Now we have to look inward to compare who we are with the person we are capable of becoming. And it’s our willingness to bridge the gap that determines our future.
Release Date: December 31, 2012
Author: Seth Godin