Free Book Fridays: The Dip, by Seth Godin

Free Book Fridays: The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), by Seth Godin

For our first Free Book Friday (read the rules if you’re not sure what this is), I’m offering The Dip, by Seth Godin.

I love Seth Godin’s books. He’s a marketing genius and although I haven’t met him in person yet I look forward to the day when I can hear him speak.

The Dip is a great little book. It’s under 100 pages long, easy to carry with you on the subway (or bus, or train, or other public transportation method… hint hint).

As always in the Free Book Fridays if you win this book you need to write what three nuggets you learned. To start us off I’m going to do the same (thanks for the suggestion Mukund).

First Insight

I had never really thought of “the world” as relative to me. The Dip taught me that it is. For instance, when we say “that person is the best in the world,” what we really mean is that they are the best in the world as far as I know.

That slight change of perception leads to a radical boost of confidence. Right after I read that, I remember asking my co-workers and friends what they thought I was the best in the world at (within their sphere of people they knew of). The insights were awesome. As I mentioned in an earlier article about branding yourself, I came up with the one thing that I believe I am the best at within my sphere of influence.

“I identify and build things that help people kick ass.”

With all the people I know, I believe that statement clarifies what I’m good at to them. Connections. I put things together, like people and concepts and then help build what I see. Almost always it helps people do something better. Creating something that doesn’t help people “kick ass” in whatever they do is a useless exercise to me and I usually just don’t do it.

That’s what I’m the best in the world at to the people around me.

And if that’s what I’m the best at, then people are more willing to pay a higher premium to me for that kind of service. Wouldn’t you pay Michael Jordan more than some schmoe off the street to play basketball? Why? Because for all you know, he’s the best in the world at playing basketball. Would you pay him the same amount to fix your car? Of course not. You’ll pay the best person you know who fixes cars the most.

Read that again. You’ll pay the best person you know. They might not be the best in the world, but they’re the best person in YOUR world. And that’s worth something more than average.

Second Insight

“Real success goes to those who obsess.” I, like you probably, diversify. I don’t obsess too much. Obsessive people are irritating. But holy crap are they usually very very good at what they do. In fact, they might be the best.

Before you enter a new market, consider what would happen if you managed to get through the Dip and win in the market you’re already in.

This goes for finding niches and capitalizing on them, your job description, your hobbies, your marriage and so much more. One still needs to know when quitting is the right thing to do, but that means thinking about how good it could possibly be if you didn’t quit. What if you obsessed over that one thing? What if you became the best at it? Would it be worth your time and effort?

I need to obsess more and diversify less.

Third Insight

Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to stop and drop out. You don’t want to be out there saying, “Well gee, my leg hurts, I’m a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy, I’m tired, and it’s cold and windy.” And talk yourself into quitting. If you are making a decision based on how you feel at that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision.

That was said by Dick Collins, an ultramarathoner.

Quitting isn’t bad. But when you didn’t decide what conditions to quit on before hand, you’ll probably quit for the wrong reasons. If you decide what conditions you’ll quit for, you’ll be able to stop working on something unproductive before it’s too late, and then move on to something that you’ll be more successful (and happier) at.

Your Turn

Alright, let’s open the floodgates. As per the rules, the first person to leave a thoughtful comment will win The Dip. Be sure to put your email address in the correct field so I can contact you (it won’t be published publicly).

Ok, I can’t believe that nobody wants this book. It’s Sunday already and not one comment? Seriously people.. you folks are crazy!

Update soon after the first: We have a winner. Phew. I was beginning to think the only people who read my blog are the bots and spiders from the search engines. Thanks for the comment, Aaron!

[tags]freebookfridays, free books, the dip, seth godin[/tags]

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

5 Comments on "Free Book Fridays: The Dip, by Seth Godin"

  1. Aaron says:

    Man I can’t believe no one has commented yet. I was going to let someone else get a free book but hey you snooze you lose.

    I think the quote from the marathon runner is extremely important. When you start a business you have to have a reason why you are doing it and know how it fits into your life plan. Then you can say if these things don’t happen in X amount of time or have other criteria under which terms you’ll move on and pursue your next venture.

    Otherwise you are flying by the seat of your pants and will probably plan to fail.

  2. nate says:

    Holy crap! We have a winner! Thanks Aaron. I’ll send you an email to get your contact info and the book will be on its way.

    I fully agree about that quote too. I see myself do it all the time. In fact, now that I think about it, my newest little project has the same issue. I’ve been working on it for 3 days now and have those thoughts running through my head that make me want to give up since I’ve gotten almost no traction from it. Oh, coincidentally, it’s not the Free Book Fridays. I’ll stick with that for a few more weeks to see if anyone other than you wins books. :)

    But yea, it’s one of those things that I don’t think about before hand, and I think we should. And we should do it BEFORE we start the project.

    Thanks Aaron. One Seth Godin book is on it’s way!

  3. Adnan says:

    Hey Nate. Dam I missed out – I’m a reader of your blog, but I’ve been away for the past week. Congrats Aaron on winning the book – and I’ll definitely be up for the next Free Book Friday!

  4. nate says:

    Ah, hey Adnan. Glad you could join the party. I hope we can spread the book love around.

  5. kaushal says:

    I am too excited about reading this book. I may not be the winner this friday but NEEDY ONE.

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