walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_The Dip_, Seth Godin

Aimed squarely at middle management and/or marketers, Godin's written a skinny little book with a simple idea, a lot of bad examples and no research to back it up. Let's just ignore the examples and the lack of research and go straight to the simple idea.

Success in a meaningful sense lies in The Big Score: the short, fat head, not The Long Tail (this is not the guy you go to for advice on Life/Work balance or setting up a lifestyle business). Success is about intelligently deployed stamina. There are essentially three situations one might find oneself in: a cul-de-sac (dead end job), approaching a cliff (exploiting something that's about to go away due to patent going away, format change, supplanted by something slightly worse but much cheaper, etc.) or Dealing With The Dip. Perhaps his best example of The Dip is learning to snowboard. Starting is easy. Getting to good at it is hard. The payoff of being good is substantial, because most people who start realize this whole falling down and getting up thing sucks and further, is exhausting to the core muscles of the torso. There are three ways to deal with a dip: anticipate it and decide it's not worth it, run into it and give up part way through, paying the penalty and getting no payoff, or (anticipate it and) get through the Dip and get the payoff. Godin advocates avoiding the middle choice.

That's basically it. Reading the page with more or less that summary is why I bought the book. If only the rest of the book had been additive. Unfortunately, as short as this book is, it's about 5 times longer than it should be. Possibly more.

Beyond that simple idea, the rest of what he has to say either doesn't make much sense, is provably wrong in some crucial way, only weakly supports his thesis or is more or less mindless rah-rah encouragement. Which is a pity, because the central idea is a _really good one_ and deserves better than this. If someone knows of another book that covers this Idea (possibly as part of a larger discussion of human motivation, competition, stamina, etc.), I'd be willing to give it a try. Especially if it covered politics, artistic performance, etc. rather than being so tightly business/job/marketing focussed.

If you want my copy, let me know. If I don't hear from anyone, I'll probably list it on TitleTrader in September.

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