Drive-By Book Review: Godin, Pink and Feld. Oh My!

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Love being able to start the year sharing 3 new books that’ll really make you think. On deck today are:

My usual Drive-by book review format asks 3-questions:

  • What is it?
  • What makes it different?
  • Why do you need it?

But this week, we’re going a step further and including 3 awesome videos to go along with the reviews.

First up is Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception

What is it? This book is Seth’s new rally cry to live into your own gifts, stop following industrialized, stamped out ideas about the right way to contribute to the world and start making art.

What makes it different? If you’ve been following Seth for any amount of time, you’ll see familiar themes, but what so powerful is the way he weaves them together with new ideas to create a compelling argument that inspires action. He gets into how society and business are evolving to a place where technology and robotics are replacing people in industry, leaving those who relied on mass-production jobs out of work.

There are no similar jobs to go back to, leaving us to return to the thing we did before the industrial revolution…contribute form a place of craft and meaning. Seth has also launched a very cool campaign and website – – around the book that’s designed to start a movement and make it easier to share your art with the world.

Why do you need it? Well, two reasons. You can never get enough Seth. But, also because so many people start the year with fantasies about finally doing something that matters, to them and to the world. This book and the digital tools Seth has built around it will help transfer desire into deeds.

The video – Seth teamed with Squarespace to create this cool video about the book and movement.


Next up is Dan Pink’s To Sell Is Human – 

What is it? Sales…YUCK! At least that’s been the association with the career that 1 out of 9 people in the United States hold. Pink is out to change this perception with his famed attention to research. He points to a radically changed persuasion landscape. One where parity of information has put the buyer back in the driver’s seat and where old school closing tactics and trickery don’t work any more. From this, he offers a new paradigm based more on service, ethics and not just problem-solving, but problem-finding.

What makes it different? Most books on sales are some variation of the classic ABCs – always be closing. They’re all about 50 ways to build rapport, 100 ways to overcome objections, 25 irresistible closes. Makes you feel icky just thinking about. This is a book about creating a new paradigm for sales that honors the sea change that’s occurred in who has power in the relationship in the new digital age.

Why do you need it? One of the big awakenings is that 1 out of 9 people say they’re in sales, but truth is…we’re ALL in sales. Persuasion in all forms, from cajoling a kid to eat vegetables to closing a corporate merger, is about sales. Most often with the intent to create win-win outcomes. So, rather that ignore the fact, you might as well understand how to do it more effectively.

The video – I had a chance to sit down with Pink for a recent episode of Good Life Project. We explored not only the concepts and research in the book, but Pink’s fascinating personal journey, from law school to Al Gore’s speechwriter to NY Times bestselling author (click on the image below to watch).


Finally, we’ve got Amy Batchelor and Brad Feld’s Startup Life

What is it? I was sent an advance copy of this book and absolutely loved it. Brad is a legendary entrepreneur and venture-capitalist and Amy is his super-cool wife. Together, they’ve weathered a lot of storms grown out to the often warring tension between the desire to build a deep personal relationship with a life partner, while also being fully committed to building a powerful business. Not an easy dance and there’s a ton of mythology about it. Amy and Brad shoot straight and offer great insights, strategies and practices and better enable you to run the life-partner + startup gauntlet with more ease.

What makes it different? A few things. One, it’s real. Amy and Brad are unusually transparent and generous in sharing their experiences over many years and how they’ve evolved. Two, they’ve lived it. They’re not therapists or pundits, what they share comes from actually being in the game, stumbling, fumbling and making it through. Three, they bring in the insights and experiences of other couples who’ve built relationships while also building substantial businesses.

Why do you need it? If you’re trying to start any deeply meaningful venture and simultaneously build a committed, loving personal relationship, most people in the startup space will say it can’t be done. One’s gotta go. Amy and Brad are living proof that all the mythology is just that. It takes a lot of effort, but done right, investing seriously in both the relationship and biz magnifies the power of both. Notice – the book is officially published on Jan 22, but you can pre-order it now.

The video – I had the opportunity to sit down with Brad while he was writing this book with Amy out in Keystone, Colorado over the summer for Good Life Project. We ended jamming on many issues that would end up in the book, as well as a number of topics that give a window into Feld’s extraordinary mind and life.


If you’ve enjoyed these Drive-By Book Reviews and the videos, please feel free to share them with friends on social media. And if you’ve read any, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

With gratitude,


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12 responses

12 responses to “Drive-By Book Review: Godin, Pink and Feld. Oh My!”

  1. Richard Posey says:

    Wow. Christmas came early.

  2. Dan Garner says:

    Waiting on my copy of ‘The Icarus Deception’ to arrive. Can’t wait.


  3. Jonathan~
    Thx for these. I’ve been reading Pink’s new one. So elegant – and what a twist on the ABC’s of selling he offers. Are you going to Seth’s meet-up/reading event for Icarus in NYC?

    And thanks for the lead to Brad Felt.



  4. Mikey Howe says:

    Great selection for the new year, buying all three!



  5. Cynthia says:

    Must. Read. All. Three. Now.

    Thanks for the executive summary or drive-by review, Jonathan.

    I participated in an Icarus Session in Denver last night and it was so enlivening. I loved hearing about what people are doing. I also loved how Seth was there, in every person’s dream, driving each of us bravely forward.

    It’s exciting to think about and participate in the sea change that’s happening now. I love what’s possible and what’s happening. Thanks for always pointing the light toward the creative edge.

  6. Hi Jonathan,

    Perfect timing. Each of these books has struck a powerful chord.

    Thank you for seeking out the amazing people and bringing them to us via your blog and the Goodlife Project.

  7. Hey Jonathan – great minds think alike. I just got my copy of To Sell Is Human in the mail, and I just interviewed Dan for my podcast … he’s a fascinating interview. Also, I’m looking forward to reading The Icarus Deception. Brad Feld is on my “must-read” list – I watched your interview with him when it aired on and have been interested in reading his books ever since. Thanks for sharing these suggestions. I’ll retweet it.

  8. Wow, can’t wait to read some of these! I just starting reading Dan Pink’s book and it is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. what an incredible author! Seems like it’s another wave of wonderful books that have come out! Thanks Jonathan!

  9. Bicki says:

    Thank you for these book summaries and the video clips. Every one had some thoughts and messages that spoke to me in my present space and segment of my journey. Thanks for your time, words and perspectives.

  10. Brad Feld says:

    Jonathan – thanks for the awesome review. I just tossed it up on the Startup Revolution blog at

  11. Ben McCahill says:

    Thanks Jonathan,
    I’m still digesting Dan’s previous book, ‘Drive’. He absolutely nailed how I was feeling, and articulated things in a way that I could not. It made quite an impact.

    We are all in sales now? Totally agree. Perhaps this phrase can one day take over from the previous iconic quotes from Glengarry Glennross?

    The reviews are in a great format – more of the same please!

  12. Marcelle says:

    Thank you again, Jonathan and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!! I want you to know that the work you do and kindly share with us improves my life no end and fills me with inspiration. So much food for thought. Thank you.
    I wish you a blessed 2013,x.