Monday, January 12, 2009

Muse Reviews: The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit by Seth Godin

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Seth Godin is a marketing demi-god. And he knows a thing or two about everything else as well. He is one of those rare individuals who deserves the title of visionary. His blog at is a must read if you are in the workplace as an owner, manager or cubicle grunt.

And he knows what’s best for this ADD brain of mine. Keep it short (a mere 96 small pages with big print) and keep it focused. The core idea the entire book centers around one dilemma that each of us has faced in our lives at one time or another: Do you quit? Or do you gut it out, hoping that things get better? And how do you know when to make this decision. This book focuses on one key principle: the dip AKA that “long slog between starting and mastery.” You know what this is… the difference between the guy who is the resident golf pro at a country club and a member of the PGA tour, or the writer who has finished a manuscript and has gotten it rejected, but with a personal note to try again, and the agented, published writer.

The dip creates scarcity. That is that it weeds out the people who aren’t that serious about what they want, and creates the demand for the skills and products for those that make it through the dip to the other side. Godin insists that you need to be able to determine what is a dip and what is a dead-end, and to make sure that you don’t waste energy on the dead-ends. Sticking with something because “winners never quit” is a stupid strategy, because it is inherently untrue. We all are quitters in some way.

Godin has some interesting ideas (as always) but I’m not sure I’m in 100% agreement with him here. I understand the need to strive for excellence. But, if I can’t be number 1 or 2 in a market, it is time to get out?!? Not sure about that one. If I play Football Tycoon on Facebook, should my goal be for the Poo-Flinging Sock Monkeys to get trophies for being #1 or #2 in several categories? What if you take a job (or are in a dead-end job) that simply meets the needs of your family for now, even if it is not going to inspire you or catapult you to the top of the organization? I think there is some value in “settling” in the short term and acknowledging that there are different definitions of success.

It is a good book that makes you think about how you spend your energy and how to decide when to cut your losses and run.

View all my reviews.

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