???? Seth Godin: The Icarus Deception (2012)

Ein Buch, bei dem ich am liebsten jeden Satz unterstreichen würde. So voll mit Einsichten und schlauen Konzepten. Seth Godin does not disappoint.

Gelesen: Dezember 2014, März 2020

You are hiding your best work

  • „You are hiding your best work, your best insights and your best self from us every day.” (S. vii)
  • Wie kannst du das verantworten? Was wirst du dagegen unternehmen?

We need you, now

  • „It’s too bad that so much time has been wasted, but it would be unforgivable to wait any longer. You have the ability to contribute so much. We need you, now.” (S. viii)

Art = etwas Schönes schaffen!

  • „Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another.” (S. 6)

Wofür wir zahlen

  • „All we’re all willing to pay you extra for is what we don’t assume, what we can’t get easily and regularly and for free. We need you to provide the things that are unexpected, scarce, and valuable.” (S. 9)
  • „High-quality work is no longer scarce. Competence is no longer scarce, either. We have too many good choices – there’s an abundance of things to buy and people to hire.” (S. 9-10)
  • „What’s scarce is trust, connection, and surprise. These are three elements in the work of a successful artist.” (S. 10)

The new scarcity

  • Über „the emotional labour of art”: „The risk involved is digging deep to connect and surprise, the patience required to build trust, the guts necessary to say „I made this” – these are all scarce and valuable. And they scale.” (S. 10)

If you want to write… write!

  • „If you want to write, here’s a blog. Write.” (S. 11)

What to use money for

  • „But if you use your money to make exceptional products and services, you don’t need to spend it on advertising, because your customers will connect to one another and will bring you more.” (S. 13)
  • Das ist das Grundprinzip der „Connection Economy”.

Courage and risk

  • „In order for there to be courage, of course, there must be risk.” (S. 17)
  • Wenn keiner meinen Blog liest… bin ich dann wirklich mutig?
  • Wenn ich ihn nicht (mehr, besser, „more generous“) in die Auslage stelle… bin ich dann wirklich mutig? Oder verstecke ich mich in der obscurity? Hiding in plain sight?

Winning a game

  • „Just because you’re winning a game doesn’t mean it’s a good game.” (S. 30)
  • Vgl. Simon Sinek: Das unendliche Spiel: Es braucht auch eine „gerechte Sache”, damit es ein unendliches Spiel wird.

Art has no right answer

  • „The search for the right answer is the enemy of art.” (S. 36)
  • „Art has no right answer. The best we can hope for is an interesting answer.” (S. 36)

Creating art is a habit

  • „Creating art is a habit, one that we practice daily or hourly until we get good at it.” (S. 38)

A human touch

  • „[…] a fresh approach to an old problem, with a human touch, that is worth telling about.” (S. 42)

Emotional labour

  • „If you want access to my attention, my gratitude, and my soul, you will earn it with your emotional labour.” (S. 43)
  • „A little more emotional labour is often worth a lot.” (S. 43)
  • „Most of us nod, acknowledge the need to create these bonds of connection through the very frightening and draining work of emotional labour, and then immediately head back to the old comfort zone of physical labor and following instructions. Because it feels less risky and comes with deniability.” (S. 43f)
  • „Emotional labor is the labor that’s in demand today.” (S. 66)
  • „The emotional labor that needs to be done offers no shortcuts. […] The emotional labor that needs to be done offers no guarantees. Which is precisely why it’s emotional labor.” (S. 67)

„A little more” compounds

  • „ „A little more” compounds, because ideas spread. A little more compounds because in a connected economy, word spreads and people flock to the art that means more.” (S. 47)
  • vgl. Promotion: „Viel hilft viel” ist nicht der Sinn. „A little more” meint ein bisschen mehr Herz, ein bisschen mehr Hirn, ein bisschen mehr Mut – nicht ein bisschen mehr vom ewig Gleichen, vom Mittelmäßigen, vom Faden.

Take responsibility, speak up

  • „When we take responsibility and eagerly give credit, doors open. When we grab a microphone and speak up, we’re a step closer to doing the work we are able to do.” (S. 49)

Insatiable consumers of connection

  • „We’re insatiable consumers of connection. Our basic human need to be understood, respected, and missed when we’re gone doesn’t get satisfied easily. As a result, when genuine connection is offered, it’s often taken.” (S. 55)

The purpose of your art is to connect

  • „If your work can’t fail because it was never designed to connect, then I  respectfully say that you might have had fun creating something beautiful, but it’s not art.” (S. 65)
  • Dass es verbindet, dass es Anschluss findet, dass es in Resonanz geht mit anderen Menschen, dass ich es nicht verstecke… das sind alles Bedingungen, um von echter Kunst zu sprechen.
  • „The purpose of your art is to connect, just as the purpose of the hammer is to strike a nail.” (S. 71)
  • „If the audience doesn’t like this work enough to connect, there’s a mismatch. Perhaps this is the wrong work for the wrong group. Don’t fix it by pandering for a quick ovation. Fix it by going deeper.” (S. 71-72)

Moving your comfort zone

  • „Moving your comfort zone when the safety zone changes isn’t easy, but it’s better than being a victim.” (S. 69)

Who do you want your customers to become?

  • „Who will your customers become after they interact with you? Who will you become as a result?” (S. 70)

Don’t expect applause

  • „When your work depends on something out of your control, you have given away part of your art. If your work is filled with the hope and longing for applause, it’s no longer your work – the dependence on approval in this moment has corrupted it.” (S. 71)
  • „There’s a huge difference between the shallow pleasure of instant applause and the long-lasting impact of true connection.” (S. 71)

Propaganda benefits the teller

  • „One definition of propaganda: It benefits the teller, not the recipient.” (S. 76)
  • „Myths are about becoming more godlike and achieving our best. Propaganda, on the other hand, celebrates those in power and urges us to willingly comply with their desires.” (S. 76)
  • Vgl. was Seth Godin über Storys sagt: Eine Story ist dann gut, wenn sie dem Hörer Inspiration auslöst – nicht bei mir. Was mich inspiriert, muss nicht das sein, was meine Hörer inspiriert. Ich brauche Storys, die meine Hörer inspirieren, nicht welche die mir gefallen. (Natürlich muss da kein Unterschied sein, aber wahrscheinlich ist einer.)

The system will gladly eat your orange

  • „The system will gladly eat your orange and then throw the peel away.” (S. 81)

Teach – change – ship

  • „Teach, with the intent to make a change. Ship something you created.” (S. 83)

Enough money vs. enough art

  • Do I have enough money? vs. Have I made enough art?
  • Letztere ist die Frage, die sich Lifestyle Entrepreneure (eher) stellen sollten. Sie ist ein Definitionsmerkmal.
  • Allerdings beschäftigt sie die erste Frage oft über Gebühr…

The deal in the world of art

  • „In the world of art, the deal is „Well, other people have done something sort of like what you’re hoping to do, and sometimes, but certainly not always, it works out for them. You’ll have to do it to find out.” (S. 91)
  • This might not work.
  • „So we can’t just commit to one act of kamizawa, one bold emotional risk, and be done with it. We have to commit to a lifetime of them. It’s a process, not an event. You don’t do a little art and then go back to work. Your work is your art (and vice versa).” (S. 91)
  • „When your work of art fails, don’t question your commitment to art. […] When your art fails, make better art.

When the venue doesn’t support your art

  • „When the venue doesn’t support your art, you can change it without changing your commitment to the journey.” (S. 92)

The gods aren’t perfect

  • „The gods aren’t perfect – they are merely bold.” (S. 105)
    • Weil sie wissen, dass sie unverletzbar und unsterblich sind.
    • Was würdest du dich trauen, wenn du wüsstest, dass du unverwundbar bist?
    • Auch deine Helden sind nicht perfekt, bei weitem nicht. Aber sie sind alle auf ihre Art „bold”. Das haben sie alle gemeinsam.
  • „This might not work” isn’t merely something to be tolerated; it’s something you must seek out.” (S. 105)
    • DAS ist bold!

If a business fails

  • „If a business fails, jobs are lost, lives dislocated; it’s true. But no one is burned at the cross; the suffering isn’t nearly as long lasting as our fears would have us believe.” (S. 106)  


  • Resilience demands flexibility – the willingness to change one thing in order to make up for something that’s broken or failing.” (S. 111)
  • Resilienz ist extrem wichtig für Lifestyle Entrepreneure!

Disturbing truths

  • „The problem for them is that it doesn’t matter whether or not they seek these truths. The truth will find them regardless. The economy and the culture and the market will expose these truths and then work to destroy the status quo. Sooner or later, reality wins.” (S. 118)

Accepting shame (or not)

  • „One way the community responds to a courageous act is by seeking to shame the courageous one. Instead of rewarding you for caring enough to try, they work to silence you by creating shame.” (S. 124f)
  • „The thing is, shame is a choice. It’s worth repeating: Shame can’t be forced on you; it must be accepted. The artist, then, combines courage with a fierce willingness to refuse to accept shame. Blame, sure. Shame, never. Where is the shame in using our best intent to make art for those we care about?” (S. 125)
    • Vgl. Von einem guten Baum können keine schlechten Früchte kommen.

Shun the nonbelievers

  • „Figure out who your art is for, get better at connecting with that audience, and ignore the rest.” (S. 128)

All the things you can’t talk about

  • „Make a list. Make a list of the things you can’t talk about at work or with your spouse or with others you care about. The things on this list (and those that you were hesitant to even write down) point to places where you or the organisation feel shame. […] These are areas where you bild armor, where you don’t want anyone to go. […] When you talk about these things, when you own them, shame starts to lose its power […].” (S. 129)

Busy ≠ brave

  • = one common mistake that helps you hide. (S. 132)

Make good art

  • „Make good art” is Neil Gaiman’s prescription for whatever ails you. […] If it’s not working, make better art. If you don’t know how to make better art, learn. If the people around you are sabotaging your art, ignore them. […] And then make more art.” (S. 143)

Too clever to see

  • „You can’t accurately see until you abandon your worldview.” (S. 147)
  • => „a lifetime spent noticing” (S. 148)
  • vgl. Es lebe der Generalist!

Rarely do we see

  • „We see what we believe, not the other way around. Rarely do we see the world as it is. […] We don’t see opportunities. We fail to see pain. And most of all, we refuse to see the danger in doing nothing.” (S. 151)

Nützliches Leitprinzip: Jeder Gründer ist ein „blank slate”

  • „The blank slate is a requirement for original art. If you merely rehash what came before, if you offer me the same hot dog you served me yesterday, […] then nothing remarkable has happened; no connection has been made.” (S. 155)
  • Jeder Gründer ist ein „blank slate”. Es beginnt immer von Neuem, keiner ist wie der andere. Vorurteile und Routine sind der Tod von echter Connection. (Das habe ich auch gesehen bei der Einschulung.)

Learn & care

  • „Learn your field, of course. Excel in domain knowledge. Have empathy for your customers, and care deeply about how your work will affect them.” (S. 159)

Caring enough to call is part of the art

  • „To the artist, to the human who values outcomes and connection, caring enough to call is part of the art.” (S. 161)
  • „What connects people and what changes them is the caring part.” (S. 161)
  • „Anyone who cares and acts on it is performing a work of art.” (S. 161)

Generosity > perfection 

  • „Your generosity is more important than your perfection.” (S. 165)
  • Ich denke, das gilt für jede Form des Lehrens, z.B. Blog, Podcast etc.
  • Das bedeutet nicht, dass man schludrig arbeiten soll. Aber Kunst kann nie perfekt sein; es geht um den Ausdruck.

Just write

  • „Just write. Write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.” (S. 166)
  • „Everyone should learn to write in public. […] Turn off comments, certainly – you don’t need more criticism; you need more writing.” (S. 166)
  • „Do it every day. Every single day. Not a diary, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing).” (S. 166)
  • „If you know you have to write something every single day, even a paragraph, you will improve your writing.” (S. 166)
  • „So if you know you have to write tomorrow, your brain will start working on something better than bad.” (S. 167)
  • „Write like you talk. Often.” (S. 167)

Was meine eigentliche Arbeit ist

  • „If your work is to do art, then doing art is what you ought to be organizing your energy and your time around. Excuses aren’t welcome.” (S. 169)

Kunst, die ich in der Gründungsberatung machen kann

  • „What you can do is take responsibility. You can make small connections, small experiments, and small failures and own the results. You can honestly and clearly report what you’re learning and what you’re making and then do it again.” (S. 172)
  • „The obligation is to carve out time for the big work, the work of art.” (S. 172)
  • „No need to wait for permission […]. The big work is available to you as soon as you decide to do it.” (S. 172)
  • „And if your current gig doesn’t appreciate you, someone else will.” (S. 172)
  • „And yes, I know it would be better if you had more time, but no, we don’t.” (S. 173)


  • „The art of compromise is knowing when not to.” (Jason Fox) (S. 173)

Ira Glass understands me

  • „Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is a gap. For the first couple of years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have… And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work… it’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close the gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” (S. 176)
  • Vgl: Ich will etwas Schönes machen, das aber einfach noch nicht schön genug ist.

Art is a strategy

  • „Art is the only strategy available. […] Yes change your tactics, and often. Agility pays. But no, don’t give up your strategy of making art.” (S. 186)

„You are an artist, not the art.“ (S. 187) 

  • Du darfst es nicht persönlich nehmen. Du kannst es nicht persönlich nehmen!

Figuring out how much you can stand (S. 189)

  • „It’s the pain (and the fear of pain) that makes art scarce.“
  • Die meisten schaffen keine Kunst, weil sie Angst haben vor der Ablehnung, der Zurückweisung etc. 
  • Sie gehen erst gar nicht an den Start, aus Angst vor den Schmerzen. Aber wer am Start ist und tatsächlich gestartet ist, der kommt dann unterwegs drauf, dass er mehr aushält als gedacht. Ich z.B. habe noch keinen einzigen Lauf, bei dem ich gestartet bin, aufgegeben – auch wenn es hart war. Aber ich bin bei ganz vielen erst gar nicht gestartet.
  • Sogar mit einem schlechten Versuch bin ich besser dran als alle anderen, die es gar nicht versuchen.
  • => Ein Lifestyle Business ist resilienter, als der Lifestyle Entrepreneur vielleicht denkt…
  • Wäre ein interessantes Self Project: Figure out how much you can stand. Ein Stoiker-Projekt.

Einige „habits of successful artists” (S. 194) – Merke: „successful”, nicht „good”.

  • Learn to sell what you’ve made.
  • Make predictions.
  • Teach others.
  • Write daily.

More of what?

  • „You probably have enough. You probably want more. I’m not sure more of what.” (S. 195)

Water down your work

  • „Every time you work with someone who makes your work less than it ought to be, you’ve made a choice and you’ll need to live with the consequences.” (S. 197)

Infinite games

  • „Infinite games bring abundance and they bring the satisfaction of creating art that matters. Play.” (S. 205)

Because he can

  • „The chef who puts extra care into an omlet that someone ordered for seven dollars from the late-night hotel menu. Not because it’s his job but because he can.” (S. 209)
  • Ich kann sooo viel machen, einfach nur „because I can”. Mehr braucht es nicht an Grund, Erlaubnis oder Motivation, um Kunst zu schaffen.

How long should art take?

  • „A teacher might need fourteen classes before she starts making an impact on her students. A blog doesn’t hit it’s stride for a year or more. Art almost never works as fast as you want it to, and the more you need it to work, the slower it happens.” (S. 211)

What every artist needs

  • vgl. Gründungsberater, die Künstler beraten
  • „It’s not helpful to kindly suggest that the artist might think about taking a day job […]. The artist thinks about these things every day.” (S. 212)
  • „The best question you can ask an artist is „How is this going to work?”.” (S. 213)
  • „If you’re not able to understand the work from the audience’s point of view, probably better to say nothing.” (S. 213)
  • „The artist needs your unwavering commitment to her mission.” (S. 213)
  • „Part of supporting the mission is pushing the artist to be more committed, not less, pushing for more focus and edge and weirdness, not less.” (S. 213)
  • „The artist doesn’t need reminders about reality or lawyers or regulations or even the rules of physics. The artist merely needs to be encouraged and cajoled and supported to make better art.” (S. 213)

You always get to dance

Never been a better time

  • „There’s never been a better time to have something to say, to embrace change, and to see the world differently.” (S. 215)

„Do you care enough to fail?” (S. 216)

  • Ist es dir wichtig genug?
  • Ist es dir ernst genug – mit SILBE?

At least you lived

  • „It’s entirely possible that there won’t be a standing ovation at the end of your journey. That’s okay. At least you lived.” (S. 218f)


  • „Gifts are the essence of art. […] To share your art is a requirement of making it.” (S. 236)
  • vgl. Gabenökonomie


  • „Remix, reuse, respect, recycle, revisit, reclaim, revere, resorb. Art doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.“
  • Wir stehen alle auf den Schultern von Riesen.
  • „Originell wird überbewertet”, sagt Seth Godin

Figure out who your art is for, get better at connecting with that audience, and forget the rest.

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