About this project

Please help me show my publisher, the bookstores and anyone with a book worth writing that it’s possible to start a project with a show of support on Kickstarter.

The Icarus Deception is an experiment in publishing, an opportunity for real growth, an invitation to challenge your friends and something you can touch.

This is a book about the mythology of success (and failure) and how our economy rewards people who are willing to stand up and stand out. For too long, we’ve been seduced into believing we should do less. It’s time to redefine what we’re capable of.

We are all artists now, and the connection economy we’re living in relentlessly rewards those who do work that matters. Okay, you knew that. So why aren’t you?

My first new printed book in over a year is combined with two extraordinary bonuses—and the chance to send a message about how books and bookstores can still be part of the conversation. (Be sure to check out the no-brainer option).

Can you produce what you’re capable of?

The Icarus Deception is my most personal book, a direct statement about the fundamental changes in the connection economy and the opportunity for individuals to face their fear and make art, to make a difference and to do work that matters.

It’s the capstone to Linchpin, Tribes and Poke the Box, but works great for someone who hasn’t read any of my books.

Sink or swim–I’ll need your help

If this Kickstarter campaign reaches the minimum, then the publisher has agreed to launch a major retail campaign to introduce the book to readers in bookstores. They’ll also publish V is for Vulnerable (an illustrated ABC book) as well as a smaller, significantly-abridged version of the bonus ‘big’ book. The Kickstarter will be officially on, and if you’re a backer, you will get the rewards you chose. First and cheaper.

If it doesn’t reach the minimum, none of the backers will be charged and the book doesn’t get published.


Beyond The Icarus Deception, there are many bonuses, some unique to this Kickstarter and never to be offered again. Mostly because you guys like bonuses and I like making them. In this case, the two big bonuses worth seeking out are V is for Vulnerable, the ABC book based on Icarus and illustrated by Hugh MacLeod, as well as the heavy, huge, long and delightful best-of collection of the last six years of my online writing, now in print for the first time ever, and never to be sold in a bookstore. There will only be 5,000 copies of this huge collection in print. I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it. Only my loyal, intelligent and good-looking Kickstarter backers can get the limited edition book.

V is for Vulnerable combines the insights of the last section of Icarus with inspired color illustrations from the brilliant Hugh MacLeod. It’s an ABC kid’s book for adults.

THE BIG LIMITED EDITION DIGITAL BOOK ON PAPER (real title to come) is more than a quarter of a million words of my best online writing from the last six years, collected in an old-school, easy-to-use hardcover format. This edition will never be sold in stores, so this is your one and only chance to stock up. Expect an abridged, smaller edition to appear in stores one day.

Faster and cheaper

Sometime after your copy is delivered in January, the Icarus book will show up (at a higher price) in bookstores and online. You can help me make the minimum by buying copies now, at a discount, to distribute to friends. 

I love making and sharing books because of the power they give us to spread ideas and change minds. Maybe this will help authors like me continue to make books by hand, and maybe this Kickstarter will outline a way other authors can rally a tribe, connect them, engage the early adopters and then reward them with an artifact they helped bring to life.

Did I mention the No-Brainer option is your best bet?

But what is the book about?

It’s about the connection economy and the value created when we give up doing what we’re told (and avoiding what we fear) and start making art instead. The art of important work, of making a ruckus and of inventing the future.

This isn’t a book about craft or paint or decoration. It’s for anyone who cares a lot about why they went to work today and how they could do it better. I think we can learn a lot from the people who have changed their outlook and changed their lives in their quest to make art.

Why Kickstarter?

It’s easier than ever to spread a book, especially one that’s just digital. You can give it away for free and reach millions. The challenge is that it’s not on paper, it’s not easy to hand to someone else, and most of all, you lose the bookstore.

This project on Kickstarter is my way to organize the tribe, to send a signal to risk-averse publishers and booksellers (who have limited shelf space and limited paper). We can let them know loud and clear that this is a book that’s going to get talked about. Kickstarter coordinates and it amplifies.

Why limited?

You’ll notice that unlike most Kickstarters, there isn’t unlimited upside here, as all the rewards listed so far have a limited quantity. I know that this may disappoint people if we run out, but the point of this project isn’t to maximize the income from the tribe, it’s to sell things at a fair price while organizing the tribe and persuading the book publishing world to step up and do a serious job of retail work in January.

That probably leaves money on the table, but attention and connection are the goal, not maximizing profit.

Who is the artist?

The painter in front of a blank canvas. The architect changing the rules of construction. The playwright who makes us cry. The doctor who cares enough to call. The detective who cracks a cold case. The diva with a new interpretation of a classic. The customer service rep who, despite the distance and the rush, makes an honest connection. The entrepreneur who dares to start without permission or authority. The middle manager who transforms the key meeting with a single comment. 


The future of books belongs to readers who care.

Thank you for making it happen, and for spreading the word.

Credits: Cover photo by Sue Demetriou. Kickstarter insight from Clay Hebert, Ishita Gupta, Teri Tobias, Bernadette Jiwa and Abe Cajudo. The ABC book is illustrated by Hugh MacLeod. (In case you’re curious, the book I’m holding up in the video turns out to be the Estonian edition of Linchpin. I’m hoping it’s a good translation).

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