- Hardcover: 96 pages
- Publisher: Portfolio; 1St Edition edition (May 10, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591841666
- ISBN-13: 978-1591841661
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (488 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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From Publishers Weekly
Yet another easily digestible social marketplace commentary from the blogger/author who penned Purple Cow and Small is the New Big, Godin prescribes a cleverly counter-intuitive way to approach one's potential for success. Smart, honest, and refreshingly free of self-help posturing, this primer on winning-through-quitting is at once motivational and comically indifferent, making the lofty goal of "becoming the best in the world" an achievable proposition-all you need is to "start doing some quitting." The secret to "strategic quitting" is seeking, understanding and embracing "the Dip," "the long slog between starting and mastery" in which those without the determination or will find themselves burning out. As such, Godin demonstrates how to identify and quit your "Cul-de-Sac" and "Cliff" situations, in which no amount of work will lead to success. Godin provides tips for finding your Dip, taking advantage of it and becoming one of the few (inevitably valuable) players to emerge on the other side; he also provides guidelines for quitting with confidence. Quick, hilarious and happily irreverent, Godin's truth-that "we fail when we get distracted by tasks we don't have the guts to quit"-makes excellent sense of an often-difficult career move.
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"A short read that should be on every entrepreneur's book list."—Entrepreneur.com
"Absolutely delightful, combining his wise aphorisms and anecdotes with Hugh MacLeod's darkly brilliant business-card cartoons."—Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail
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- Winners quit (regroup. cut their losses, switch gears) whenever necessary on the path to winning.
- Be the best, and the world comes knocking at your door.
- Work through the pain, because the reward is waiting for you further down the road.
If any of these comments/suggestions seem unclear, take at look at The Dip.
If you understand already, you've just saved $12.95.
This is not a "how-to" book. It is meant to be a motivational piece of writing. Work hard... the financial rewards are greatest for the hardest worker. Work through "the dip," or that period where the gains don't seem to be coming as quickly as you'd like. Don't stop running the marathon at mile 25.
Look, the very successful don't read these books. The barely successful can't read these books. So it is written for the somewhat successful, or the person who is looking for "something" else. Here's the shortened version: "Work and study hard. Don't give up. Persevere. However, consider alternatives. Share this book with others."
Don't get me wrong... this is not, in any sense, a bad book, or a book giving bad advice. To me, the advice seems pretty obvious.
Work hard, play hard, and be well.
Those who focus on a market or skill do reap greater rewards than those who generalize. Among scholars, picking a tiny slice and expanding will reap big rewards. Remove distractions from your life.
Godin's power curves are very convincing. There is a huge difference between Number 1 and Number 2 when you look at ice cream flavors and box office sales. But sometimes a decision to rank lower can be strategic. Some gurus advise against aiming to be Number 1 or 2 on a search engine, because you'll get more tire-kicking clicks.
Much of Godin's advice makes sense for individual as well as corporate career planning. Most careers have dips. Many people find themselves in cul de sacs. What he calls "the cliff" resembles a comfort zone: "The longer you do it, the harder to quit." As a career consultant, I think the cliff is far more common than Godin suggests.
Two problems with this book:
(1) In real life, it's often hard to distinguish between a cul de sac and a dip and careers often morph from one to the other without warning.
In fact, the book's examples inadvertently demonstrate this ambiguity. On page 38, Godin suggests that the helpful mailroom clerk might rise to CEO. On page 62, Doug gets branded because he's been with the company too long: everyone remembers when he started.
We should note that Jeffrey Pfeffer's book, What Were They Thinking, actually contradicts Godin's tips on pages 38-39: Pfeffer suggests that CEO wannabes *not* suck it up but instead stand out. He argues that the behaviors needed to climb to the top are not those needed to succeed once you've arrived, specifically adding that climbers tend to be disliked by their peers along the way.
(2) I almost stopped reading when I read about Hannah, the law student who became a Supreme Court justice presumably because she worked hard and stayed focused. On page 8, Godin writes that any of 42,000 law graduates could have become Supreme Court justices. Hannah worked hard and made sacrifices to reach this goal.
This statement is simply not accurate. A simple Internet search would have revealed the fact that nearly all Supreme Court clerks tend to come from the top 5 or 6 law schools. As recently as 1998, journalists reported that few women and even fewer minorities were chosen. I suspect age makes a difference as well.
(3) This book is a pithy prescription, deliberately simple so as not to obscure the message. But are we better off when those who want to succeed have to jump through artificial hoops? Do the hoops really encourage the best and the brightest? For example, many experts suggest that education courses discourage many potential teachers, who turn to other fields.
Finally, there really is no happily ever after. Sometimes you can work hard, do everything right and get caught up in mergers and events that are completely unrelated to your performance. Other times you make a casual, easy choice because it sounds like fun and you reap major rewards.
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