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The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) Hardcover – May 10, 2007
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A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller
In this iconic bestseller, popular business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin proves that winners are really just the best quitters. Godin shows that winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt—until they commit to beating the right Dip.
Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out fun…then gets really hard, and not much fun at all. You might be in a Dip—a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac—a total dead end. What really sets superstars apart is the ability to tell the two apart.
Winners seek out the Dip. They realize that the bigger the barrier, the bigger the reward for getting past it. If you can beat the Dip to be the best, you’ll earn profits, glory, and long-term security.
Whether you’re an intern or a CEO, this fun little book will help you figure out if you’re in a Dip that’s worthy of your time, effort, and talents. The old saying is wrong—winners do quit, and quitters do win.
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Absolutely delightful, combining his wise aphorisms and anecdotes with Hugh MacLeod's darkly brilliant business-card cartoons."—Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail
- Publisher : Portfolio; First Edition (May 10, 2007)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 96 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1591841666
- ISBN-13 : 978-1591841661
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.22 x 0.49 x 7.29 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #17,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #151 in Motivational Management & Leadership
- #211 in Business Motivation & Self-Improvement (Books)
- #476 in Success Self-Help
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2019
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Because this book is great small jewel with a grand impact. The simplicity creates excitement to continue reading. Also between chapter giving you time to pause and truely reflect on the content. Another good read a refer out to those who are ready to learn to relax and enjoy the ride of making decisions.
The heart of this book is simple: Everything gets hard eventually. Some things are worth persevering through. Other things should be quit. You can know ahead of time which things are worth persevering through and avoid the rest.
The hard part is actually applying the things you learn.
Seth Godin takes on the topic of quitting and places the whole idea into a whole new perspective. There is always talk about failure and quitting on social media and in particular education. This book challenges many of the common ideas often discussed. Here are some of the key ideas that stood out to me in no particular order that will hopefully inspire you to read the book for yourself and provide some ideas for you to think about.
1. Never quitting is bad advice. Right from the start he argues one of the most common ideas quoted time and time again. He says that the quote from Vince Lombardi, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” is bad advice. Instead he claims that winners “quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”
2. Zipf’s Law – This law is mentioned in the book so I had to look it up on wikipedia. I am instantly fascinated by this concept where we basically love winners. Not just winners, but the whole idea that frequency is key. When something wins it usually wins big. Think about the popular records, box office, tv shows, books, etc. The top of the top sell more than anyone else. You could be 2nd or third, but end up way behind. Now that I aware of this law I start to notice it time and time again.
3. Well Rounded is Bad Advice – Anytime education is challenged my ears perk up. Seth states, “Just about everything you learned in school about life is wrong, but the wrongest thing might very well be this: Being well rounded is the secret to success.” I have to agree 100%. I shared this graphic a few posts back and also here specifically about this topic so reading this book after further cemented my beliefs.
Who are You-
4. The Cul-De-Sac
I love this thought. I really do. And I think it is the state of education. Basically it means a “situation where you work and you work and nothing much changes. It doesn’t get a lot better, it doesn’t get a lot worse. It just is.” Not only is this happening in education, but it happens in our own personal lives. This idea seems so simple and yet I keep going back to it. I think it goes much deeper once you move past the surface of simply a definition. Sometimes we have to get on the highway….(my new idea developing from this neighborhood metaphor)
5. I think that the reason many live in a cul-de-sac is because it is easy to be mediocre. It is easy to blend in. Quitting is hard because you must admit that you are not number one. This is tough for many of us. We don’t like to admit these type of things so we will continue to do things just so we are not quitters. Our society has pushed our thinking to believe that quitting is bad.
6. The key to quitting is understanding The Dip. We must learn when to quit. We don’t want to quit at the wrong time. We have to realize that the systems in place want us to quit. They operate on us quitting. If we can push past the dip and not quit, then we hit the results of being number one. We breakthrough and hit new levels of success that cannot we believe we can achieve. What is the dip? Well, read the book!
7. The one idea that makes sense, but I struggle with agreeing with is if we are going to quit we must quit before we start. If we cannot be the best in the world he suggests we don’t even try. I don’t know how I feel about that. I think we have to shoot for the stars sometimes. Perhaps I must define what it means to be the best in the world. Does this mean I must be an Olympian in running? No, I think he is going after something much grander in concept, but it is important to at least think about the message. When thinking about quitting we have to think about…….
8. Two Choices – Don’t be average. If you find yourself being average you must make a decision. Either you quit or be exceptional. “Average is for losers”. This is a tough pill to swallow, but a necessary one. I think about my life and things that I want to fix. If I quit the things that are just average in my life due to average work and commitment I could really push some elements to be exceptional by freeing up time and energy spent on doing things average in my life in the cul-de-sac. This idea is one that has hit home with me and is really forcing me to think through things deeply.
Those are just a few ideas that really stood out to me when I finished the book. I have many more passages highlighted, but if I shared everything then what would be the point to read the book? This book packs a lot in 80 pages, but that is what Seth Godin does.
If you are interested in his other books here are the others I have read and recommend.
My favorite book of his so far. I have read this one many times! Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin http://amzn.to/1IxiiLK
Oh man, this one is so good also! Purple Cow by Seth Godin http://amzn.to/1IxilYa
Poke the Box by Seth Godin http://amzn.to/1JFluKL
The reason a lot of this felt like common sense to me was because I believe most people recognize that after the excitement of starting on a new project, there inevitably comes a time where the gloss of starting something new wears off, and we hit a slump. To me, that slump is the dip. The work feels harder, and it's easy to just stop. Most of this book is encouragement to not stop, using rhetoric such as anecdotes and hyperbole. The book also notes that the steeper the dip - the harder it is to finish, the greater the odds that are stacked against you are - the more success that awaits for those who get through it. I think all of this sounds reasonable, and matches what I've personally experienced when it comes to taking on new challenges. I also thought it was interesting that Godin provided descriptions of two other paths that might seem like a dip, but aren't: the cul-de-sac and the cliff. The cul-de-sac describes work that will never go anywhere no matter how hard people work, and the cliff describes work that seems to be going well before it abruptly collapses in failure.
It's important to recognize that these other scenarios exist, because it's naive to believe that if things aren't going well, it's just the dip, and if you work hard enough you'll eventually succeed. However, very little time is devoted to how people can distinguish between the dip, a cul-de-sac, or a cliff. Considering that the main advice of this book is to keep going when things get tough, I would have appreciated much more explanation of how to tell if I actually am in the dip, or if my hard work isn't going to go anywhere after all. Also, I was put off by the book's voice and style. The author uses a lot of hyperbole, along the lines of: if you're not number one, then you fail! If you're not a winner, you're a loser! This kind of pep talk does not motivate me; on the contrary, it actually distances me from the message. Also, the book incorporates fake math graphs - no numerical data on the x and y axis, no explanation of the research that informed the graphs. In fact, at one point, the book declares that if someone were to create a graph about a certain subject, it would probably look like ... Basically, the graphs are just made up based on how the writer thinks they should look, and that kind of nonsense data bothers me. If you don't have actual numbers, use a different kind of visual device. To sum up, I agreed with the book's main premise, but I wanted it be more fully explained in a more objective manner, and I find the style of the book jarring.
Top reviews from other countries
In essence it says, sometimes it's important to stick with things when the going gets tough because the rewards will be worth it, and sometimes it is better to quit. There is some quite generalised advice on how to tell the difference. Oh, and apparently we can all be the best in the world (by redefining 'the world' to mean our immediate context).
Essentially this is a blog post masquerading as a book, a short work that should be even shorter.
Many people might at first think this is a short book when receiving it. Don't be fooled, every single page is gold dust. It's as long as it needs to be. Quality over quantity is the order of the day here.... Brilliant book!
1. Make sure that what you are doing is worth the effort. Do not start undertakings which will turn out to be cul-de-sacs.
2. Never start something if you do not have the resources (time, money etc) to get through the dip. Once you have got through the dip you will be among the best and get extraordinary rewards.
3. Aim to be the best and get extraordinary rewards. Do not start something if you end up being only average (e.g. aim to be the best salesman, do not end up as an average salesman).
4. Do not be afraid to give up some things, so you can concentrate on the those important things where you can get through the dip.
5 Know when to stick with something and when to quit. There is nothing wrong with quitting so you can concentrate on those things when you can get through the dip.
The book is short, easy to read. I think to get the best out of it requires the reader to stop and contemplate and apply what the author is writing in each section, and then re-read the book occasionally.