The Icarus Deception

The Icarus Deception

How High Will You Fly?

Portfolio, 2012




  • Eye Opening
  • Well Structured
  • Engaging


Marketing expert Seth Godin hammers his message home in short, often striking bursts. He borrows from his past work and his advice is repetitive, but apparently on purpose, and dramatic: Wake up. Realize that you’ve bought a bill of goods. Corporate-ladder safety isn’t safe anymore. Accept that the world has changed and do something about it. Though conformity might be hardwired in your brain, strive to break out, create and make your form of art. Whether you work for yourself or others, be an artist, find your audience, make mistakes, get better and stand out. That, he says, is the new road to success.

In mythology, Daedalus made wax and feather wings for his son Icarus, who fell to his death when he flew to close to the hot sun.

Godin cites the myth of Icarus as a classic cautionary tale of “hubris” – behavior that seeks to imitate the gods or to surpass them. In antiquity, fate always cast down anyone who refused to accept his or her mortal lot. Icarus’s father, Daedalus, was abandoned on a Greek isle as punishment for plotting against the king. With no rescue in sight, the island became a prison. But Daedalus was a skilled carpenter and artisan. Taking feathers from sea birds, he created a pair of enormous wooden wings for himself and a pair for his son, Icarus. Daedalus used wax to attach the feathers to the frames.

Godin details how, when Daedalus and Icarus were ready to fly, the father sternly warned the son not to fly too close to the sun. But as Icarus soared into the sky, he was filled with joy and wanted more freedom. Daedalus called to him, urging him to fly lower. Icarus would not heed his father’s warning. He flew higher and higher. The sun’s heat melted the wax holding the feathers to the frame of his wings. The feathers blew off the frame, and Icarus crashed into the sea and died.

About the Author

Seth Godin is a marketing expert, blogger and frequent TED speaker. His previous books include Tribes, Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars and Poke the Box.

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