Thursday, December 4, 2008

Book Review Contest: The Dip (reviewed by Lau Wing Wang)

This book may initially look like your average typical "Never Give Up" material. But Seth Godin, in his better-than-average ways, has produced something which is both original and worthy of serious attention (especially in a world obsessed with success and never-quitting).

Firstly, one must never give up, yes. But this attitude is critical only for those skills/ideas/products you have which make you the best in the world (the 'world' meaning which community/market you're a part of and necessarily all the continents if you know what I mean).

Secondly, for anyone who wishes to achieve anything spectacular, there will always be a period of dryness, lethargy, costs exceeding benefits, (apparent) failure which one has to go through i.e. there will be a Dip.

Push through this and you'll come on the other 'end' of the loop a winner. What's important - and thank God(in) for the reminder - is that we must ANTICIPATE and PLAN for the Dip.

Another famous speaker who mentioned something which sounds like a Dip is Randy Pausch who said that:

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!"

Where Godin differs would be in two things:

1. The brick walls can be overcome if you're the best at what you do (this is when you must STICK)

2. The brick walls should be accepted and left behind if not (this is when you must QUIT)

Which brings us to his third point, the one that raises the most eyebrows surely: You must recognise there are times one must stop or, better yet, not even start a project.

Why? Because if you're not the best and there's no chance you will be, pushing through the Dip only creates discouragement and takes away time you should be putting into that which you can be world-class in.

To stick? Or to quit? That he even raises the second question puts Godin in the top 1% of the world's best thinkers and advisers. That it's okay and even commendable to quit is an almost-never-asked question which is more than way overdue.

This is not a how-to book. It's a why-not manual, a look-here work, an always-remember guide. It's also one the best (if somewhat subversive) "motivational" books around, one which nobody who's ever thought long and hard about irreversible (or hard-to-reverse) decisions related to careers and business can afford to miss.

Best thing is: It's a short book. No way you'll quit on this one.

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