cover image The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

Seth Godin. Penguin/Portfolio, $24.95 (239p) ISBN 978-1-59184-607-9

The latest of Godin's cheerleaderly books is written in bumper sticker fashion, urging readers to overcome "brainwashing" and release the artist within. Unfortunately, this means Godin (Poke the Box) doesn't offer anything that hasn't been espoused by every generation since Socrates: "Art is what we do when we are truly alive." "Fly closer to the sun." "Art has no right answer." "We don't need more stuff; we need more humanity." Art is about breaking out of the box, not being a cog in the system; it's standing up to authority. But only once does Godin mention that this might result in a lack of ability to pay the rent. In that case, art should be arrived at in little steps. He gives tips to becoming an artist: notice, don't be afraid of humiliation, and "when art fails, make better art." Perhaps smarting from comments on previous books, he warns against critics: "Shun the nonbelievers." He pushes readers to connect with the world, to be human; at the same time he suggests that they are above the masses and need to follow their own paths. The truth is that artists don't need a book to tell them what to do; they are already doing it. (Jan.)