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The dip : a little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick)

by Seth Godin

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Quitting, Intelligently   (2009-04-30)


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by libmark


The conventional advice on the subject of quitting usually goes something like this:  Winners never quit.

In my world, this line of logic held up pretty well until I read Seth Godin's recent book: <a href="74965109" target="_blank">The Dip -- A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (And When to Stick).</a>

Clocking in at a featherweight 76 pages (really, you can read this in just a day or two), Godin manages to shred the standard advice on quitting.  As it turns out, there are a number of situations where quitting is the smart thing to do.  Indeed, winners are often the best quitters -- they know when, and what, to quit.

A few nuggets that I thought were worth sharing:

*If you can't be the best in your market at what you do (and have it make a difference), then maybe you should quit.  You might be the world's best typewriter salesperson, but that isn't going to get you very far...

* Only talented people fret about mediocrity.

* There are three types of careers/businesses: those with dips, cul-de-sacs, or cliffs.

* If your job or business is a cul-de-sac -- where increased effort doesn't bring increased results -- it might be time to quit.  Godin's example here is the space shuttle program.  "When pundits argue in favor of the shuttle, they don't say 'We should keep doing this because it's going to get safer/cheaper/more productive over time.'  The only reason the shuttle still exists is that no one has the guts to cancel it.  There's no reason to invest in something that is not going to get better."  Ouch... remember that this holds true for your job or your business.

* If you see a cliff looming in your career (think Hummer sales), quit now and start working on something viable.

* If there is merely a dip in your job, stick with it and see it through.  The dip is there for a reason: to weed out the performers from the non-performers.

But how do you know if you are facing a dip, a cul-de-sac, or a cliff?  Well... Godin dances around that question for 76 pages but by the time you get to the end of the book you should have a pretty good idea of where you stand.  In short, anything worth doing is going to have a dip.  Do you want to be the best tennis player around?  Then you'll have to slog through the dip, putting in the hours of practice that are required to become the best.  The same holds true for sales -- but it also depends on what you are selling (think typewriters again).

So the next time someone gives you some blanket advice about how bad it is to quit, wouldn't it be nice to have this book under your belt so you can tell them that they should quit thinking that quitting has to be a bad thing?


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