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It is impossible to ignore what Seth Godin has to say and how he says it. That's remarkable. In this small volume (only 80 pages and about the size of a greeting card), Godin shares some LARGE ideas, one of which is indicated in the title of my review. Here is a cluster of Godinesque observations:

All our successes are the same. All our failures, too.
We succeed when we do something remarkable.
We fail when we give up too soon.
We succeed when we are the best in the world at what we do.
We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don't have the guts to quick.
Quit the wrong stuff.
Stick with the right stuff.
Have the guts to do one or the other.

In 1963, Peter Drucker made an assertion with which Seth Godin presumably agrees: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."

Both Drucker and Grodin are diehard pragmatists. My guess (only a guess) is that each learned lessons of greatest value to them from their failures rather than from their successes, that both of them (at least occasionally) felt like giving up and sometimes did, making a bad decision by quitting "the right stuff" or sticking with "the wrong stuff."

I presume to offer an example of what Godin seems to have in mind. All of us begin each day with the best of intentions. Let's say our objective is to produce more and better results in less time. OK, that's a worthy objective. Then let's say, that doesn't happen. Perhaps how we pursue the objective isn't working but we don't quit our method. (Albert Einstein once suggested that insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.") Or let's say that our method is the right one but we are impatient with the immediate results, quit on that method, and try another.

Here's the challenge: When encountering what Godin characterizes as "the Dip" (i.e. a temporary setback which creates a "moment of truth"), know the difference(s) between "the right stuff" and "the wrong stuff" and proceed accordingly.

So many decisions in life are gambles (i.e. "knowing when to hold and when to fold") in that they must be made without complete information and thus require a combination of knowledge, judgment, instinct, and faith.

A careful reading of Godin's book will increase the reader's knowledge and improve her or his judgment. He helps his reader to answer questions such as these:

"Is this a Dip, a Cliff, or a Cul-de-Sac?

"If it's a Cul-de-Sac, how can I manage it into a Dip?"

"Is my persistence going to pay off in the long run?"

"When should I quit? I need to know now, not when I'm in the middle of it, and not when part of me is begging to quit."

"If I'm going to quit anyway, will it increase my ability to get through the Dip on something more important?"

Finding correct answers to questions such as these may not sharpen one's instincts (although I suspect they could) but the answers will at least strengthen one's faith in the correctness of the decision, whatever that decision may be, when the next Dip occurs.
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Do you remember starting something new that interested you? Chances are the world seemed a little brighter, a little more inviting, and your smile was a little wider that day.

Now, remember how that same activity seemed after six months had passed. It's likely you weren't having as much fun; progress was hard to accomplish; and frustration was starting to build. That's what a dip feels like.

That sequence is the normal experience and psychology of creating worthwhile results.

But in some cases, you are headed for a dead end where results will never amount to much (if you ever see me play golf, you'll know what I'm talking about). In rarer cases, results just keep going downhill forever (if you've seen me run lately, you'll get the idea).

Many people make mistakes when "the going gets tough."

1. Some will keep going even though future results won't reward the effort (such as those who keep trying to master something for which they have little ability). This behavior is usually the result of bad habits (like always following tradition . . . or existing beliefs) I call "stalls" that harm progress.

2. Others will quit before they break through into improvements that make an enormous difference (going through a dip) and miss the chance to get great benefits from continuing, well-focused effort. The "best in the world" (or "best in your corner of the world") will get a disproportionate share of the benefits from what everyone does. Who is going to pay much attention to the 1,000,001 ranked book reviewer on Amazon? People who behave this way are usually suffering from the procrastination, bureaucracy, ugly duckling or disbelief stalls (see The 2,000 Percent Solution).

In past books by Mr. Godin, I've criticized him for taking an article and stretching it too far into a book. I've also mentioned that he sometimes forgets to explain what to do.

In The Dip, Mr. Godin has broken through his dip and avoided both of those problems. This book is only slightly longer than it needed to be. It has excellent advice on how to tell the difference between future potential and lack of opportunity. The point about disproportionate rewards is also well developed.

Nice going, Mr. Godin!
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Now, there is a point to this book. That knowing when to quit and quitting things that should be quitted is very useful. However, that would take a page and a half. The rest of the eighty odd pages of this book is taken up with examples, some arguable, of people and organisations that benefit from doing this well, but absolutely NOTHING about how to determine when it's right to quit or how to apply the idea.

This might be good as a motivational talk given by those management insultants that do such things, you know ,when you're fired up in the room, go outside and think "that was great" then "but what did he actually say", finally realising you've been had.

One star for sure.
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on 30 December 2011
Basically is an aspect of your life a dip or a cul-de-sac. Once you have decided, then you know whether to quit or continue. This is the idea which is expanded and repeated throughout the book, nothing more.

I wouldnt recommend this and certainly wouldnt pass it around my work place as the author suggests. For some who are indecisive this may be useful, but if you were proactive enough to think about buying the book in the first place, it probably wont teach you anything.
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on 9 September 2009
I'm new to the world of Seth, so don't know how The Dip compares to his other publications, but have already recommended this handy little book to several friends. He's right in that we're - wrongly - taught that quitting is always bad - a shameful thing that only weak people do. As a result, all too often - and for too long - freelancers like me stick with ways of working that just aren't... working! We need to take the stigma out of quitting and realise that there are times when it is the smart thing to do. Is what you're facing a 'blip' - or is your plan flawed in some way that wasn't immediately obvious when you started out? I'm not a businessperson but would recommend this to other freelance writers like me, plus to friends who are photographers, illustrators etc who have - after early success and a buzz around their name - become stuck in a hand-to-mouth existence that stopped being fun - and lucrative! - long ago... Yes, the Dip is a smidge repetitive, but if you're stubborn enough to need to read this book, you're probably the kind of person who needs things drummed into you! By the end, I'd got the message. Since then, I've acted on the advice and feel much clearer on where I'm going now.
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on 15 July 2009
The idea behind this book is somewhat interesting, although arguable.
Nevertheless, I think the main problem of the book is repeating this same idea over and over, trying to reshaping it and elaborating it with no success ... I've read 'All Marketers are liars' and 'Purple Cow' from this author and found this book significantly inferior.
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"This book is really short. Short books are hard to write, but you made me do it. My readers are excellent correspondents, and this is something I've learned from them along the way: Write less." --Seth Godin

Damn straight. This book is an exercise in brevity. I often recommend that readers preview a key chapter before deciding whether to commit to a book. No need with this one--just take an extra 20 minutes and read the whole thing. Borrow it instead of buying it; the key points will stick with you.

Godin's points are straightforward:

* Comes a time in doing anything when it gets hard and stops being fun.
* If it is something you can be the best at, stick with it through the "dip."
* If it isn't something you can excel at, quit. And excel at something else.
* Learn to recognize such "cul-de-sacs" and avoid even starting such paths.
* Endlessly coping without either excelling or quitting is a trap.
* Systems are designed to exploit "copers" in various ways. Beware.
* There are eight common causes of "dips." Beware some more.

That's pretty much it. There are some good stories about Vince Lumbardi, Butch Cassidy, the space shuttle, and Microsoft. But they build on the main points. There is good advice here. It would be worth your time, even if it were longer.
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on 7 June 2009
A bit disappointing. It could have been a quarter of the length. Some interesting points but lost, for me, in too much hype and too much repetition. Would not bother reading it again.
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on 13 October 2007
This is a really simple, thought provoking read. Its not like Seth does anything mind-blowingly clever, the impact of the book is in the simplicity and persuasive nature of his discussion. They say 'easy reading follows hard writing' - I think Seth has applied that principle by distilling wisdom into a bite-sized format. Its a nice book to take on a solitary journey somewhere, as its thought provoking. I found it a very motivating read, its basic messages have stayed with me.
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on 28 May 2007
I have already lent this book to a friend who would benefit from it more than me. I had been offering advice about quitting a venture (which was possibly going to drain all their time and energy) and this book gave me the back-up I needed... in black and white.

It's all commonsense, but like all things like this, sometimes you just need a stranger to shed a little light on thigs, and say it how it is.

another enjoyable, short book from Mr Godin.

I would recommend you read this on a train, if you're on the way to a project meeting that you're hearts just not in!
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