Beach Reads 1: The Icarus Deception
I set a goal to read more this year. When I was a little girl I would prefer to spend time in front of the window on the living room carpet reading for hours. I only knew hours had passed because I would have to adjust myself back into the patch of sun leaking in through the window and moving along the carpet (talk about a low maintenance kid, you're welcome mom!).
Anyway, as adult matters have taken over so much of my everyday I don't read as nearly as much. Where I used to read several books a week, I now read only a handful a year. That's why I set this goal. I have challenged myself to read a book a month (which I am already lagging behind on).
Since I am not on the beach every month this isn't they won't really be "beach read" but hey, maybe next month!? I decided to start sharing them here to hold myself to my goal so please share and book suggestions in the comments!
On to my first book! In January I started The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly by Seth Godin. I must fess up and say I actually listened to this book instead of actually read it. Last year (again trying to get more books under my belt) I subscribed to Audible. I liked it but didn’t love it and missed hearing the words of an author in my own mind’s voice, so The Icarus Deception was the last book on my audiobook list. This may have been part of why I only liked this book a little and didn’t love it.
Godin start’s off strong discussing the Greek myth of Icarus, a man whose father made him wings constructed of feathers and wax. Icarus was told not to fly too close to the sun otherwise his wings would melt, which they did and he then fell into the ocean and drowned. Bummer. But there was another part of the story that Godin claims society has nearly erased from the tale. Icarus's father told him not to fly too low either as the water would also damage his wings. Godin opposes the lesson that society has distorted the story as a fable against aiming too high. He says this mentality supports aiming just high enough to be safe but achieve nothing spectacular, an antiquated mentality resulting from industrialization... Be one of the masses, follow the rules, and produce. That is the way of industrialized society.
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 ought to fly ever lower instead. “
I love the discussion of the industrial eras influence on societal psychology. I liked hearing his rationale for why we are ready to move past this model of work. I even enjoyed Godin’s assertion that work should be treated as art, an ongoing creative pursuit of not perfection but expression and connection with others. But after this very strong and compelling start Godin’s encouragement and ideas became very “bumper sticker like” as one person on goodreads put it. He spent the rest of the book discussing what it means to be an "artist." You must ignore criticism if it stops you from working. You must put yourself out there for an audience. You must allow yourself to be vulnerable. You must be willing to just keep doing work to become better. All of this is true, but it isn’t particularly innovative or new news in my opinion.
All in all I think this book is a good beach read and especially best for creatives or quasi-creatives who are hesitant to start something or in a bit of a rut and just need a reminder of their contribution to the world at large. I am personally eager to take this perspective of post-industrialization connection into my own projects. Next for February I have been reading Big Leap, another self improvement book more based in psychological principles. Fun fun fun!