Book Reviews

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The Acarus Deception by Seth Godin

I’ve read several of Seth Godin’s books.  For example, I read Purple Cow, which I thought was OK.  I found Poke the Box much more interesting and thought-provking and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The Icarus Deception is different.  It is better – much better.  For me, anyway, there is something about it that is more personal from Mr. Godin and more insightful.

Mr. Godin, in my view, is a motivational writer.  The theme of Poke the Box, again as an example, was the need to make something happen- to stir the reader to action.  And it is good at it.  The Icarus Deception continues and builds on that concept, but in a more penetrating and thoughtful way. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

He begins with an elucidation on the Icarus myth, and I’ll admit I had not seen that before; that is, Icarus was instructed not only too not fly too high, but also not to fly too low close to the sea.  Mr. Godin encourages us to fly higher, bolder, and closer to the sun.

Mr. Godin riffs on a theme that he has explored before: that the Internet has created a unique opportunity for individuals to connect commercially, but in a personal way, everywhere.  And that this presents an equally unique opportunity for the bold to strike out and create something.  His metaphor is art, that is, one can become an artist, attempting the new and unique, and, with a potential audience of billions, find sufficient individuals to support ongoing artwork.  He labels the new environment “The Connection Economy” and describes that well.  He emphasizes making a personal, human connection, not just a vacuous online connection, as a key to making art.

He contrasts that with traditional corporate jobs with assumed safety and stability, but frequently accompanied by boredom, repetition and sameness; generating more of the same with modest improvements or lower cost.  The artist creates; in industrialist modifies.   He adds some commentary on the mass production/large company culture, noting that only a few are selected for development, recognition and promotion.  As an artist, one creates one’s own – seizing opportunities and authority to do something.  His admonition: “No one is going to pick you.  Pick yourself”.

As an aside, as a successful author, Mr. Godin deserves some credit as an artist too; the inside cover of the book is artwork.  While that may have been done before, I haven’t seen it.  Nice touch.