Friday, April 06, 2007

The Dip

the dipI was fortunate enough to receive a galley edition of The Dip, Seth Godin's newest book.  As the book is a pre-production version, there may be some changes to the final language, etc., but I'm going to try not to really quote anything and just give you my $0.02.

First off, the book is small.  Not small as in iPod Nano small, but small as in not a ton of pages (so maybe "short" is a better term, though I don't want to give the wrong impression), which is a refreshing change from the majority of business books, many of which seem to infer that the author or publisher derives the value of the hefty price by the overall number of pages.  Quite frankly, by making the book short and to the point, the book is far more readable and for more impactful -- there's no need to put in language about skipping chapters like some books do as you simply do not need to.  I know a lot of executives that skip the middle part of books and/or get book summaries: those of you that engage in chapter skipping or book summaries need not worry, this book can be read and understood in less than 2 hours.

The edition of the book I received was paperback, though it is listed as a hardback edition on Amazon.  Due to the fact that the book is small, the price of the hardback is only around $10, which makes it the best value for a business book that I have seen in a long time: skip Starbuck's for 3 days between now and May, and you'll have the cash to afford The Dip.  Furthermore, if you buy no other business book this year, make sure that you read The Dip because even at twice the price, it's that worthwhile.

I actually read Seth's book twice: I read it from cover-to-cover in 1.5 hours and started right back at page one and read it again.  The Dip, boiled down to the essence of its message is simply about this: knowing when to quit and when not to quit.  You might read those 9 words preceding this sentence and think to yourself that you already know when to quit and when to stick around, but my guess is that you don't.  Chances are good that you will read Seth's book and a lot of the information will seem totally obvious to you, but it takes someone like Seth Godin to put it together in such a way that makes it seem obvious.  My first experience in reading the book caused me to reflect on my life experiences while reading thinking things like, "I knew I should have quit" and "I probably should have stuck in there."

The principle of a dip is very straightforward: it is the area of time, work, etc. that exists between starting something and the mastering something.  In this dip is when you have to make the decision as to whether or not to quit.  When I first read the book, I immediately tried to compare Dips to Andrew Grove's Strategic Inflection Points ("SIPs"), but Dips are not the same as SIPs.  SIPs are periods where you choose to make a decision that has an impact on an alternate outcome; one of the decisions you might make in a SIP is to quite, while another might be not to quit, but SIPs can also encompass many other types of decisions.  Dips, on the other hand, are absolute in the decision that mus be made: you quit or you stick.

One of the most important things to understand about Dips is that they create scarcity: people that make it through Dips are more scarce then people that start something and wind up quitting.  Professional athletics are a perfect example of the scarcity created by Dips as the Dip itself, the barriers to entry (i.e., athletics, performance, mental toughness, etc.) make it unlikely that those that are not fully committed to making it through the Dip will succeed.

Quitting is scary stuff, but read The Dip so that you too can figure out how to evaluate when you should quit (and you should do it often).

This blog post gives some small amount of background about The Dip: I think it's enough to do 2 things -- (1) Make you want to go buy the book, and (2) Be able to understand Seth's blog about the book until you have a chance to read it.

Links below will take you to places where you can read more about the book, more about Seth, and some options on where to pre-order/buy the book.

Link -- The Dip blog (note that you can subscribe to this blog via e-mail) 

Link -- Dip tour details  

Link -- pre-order from Amazon

Link -- Seth Godin's main page  

Thanks to the Penguin Group, specifically Allison Sweet, and Seth Godin for allowing me to preview this book.

1 comment:

BFuniv rector said...

Thank you,

I have ordered The Dip. From what I can tell my project is in a dip right now. I have quit parts of my strategy to concentrate on those that are working best -- but I will not quit the project.

There is power in knowing the concept is viable, there are just elements that need to be removed or accented.