The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) is a short book which contains a lot of value by illustrating the value of working through difficult situations (the dip) in order to achieve mastery. The book is written by Seth Godin, an entrepreneur, author and public speaker.
The main idea behind the dip is that whenever we set out to advance in a field, there will be a point at which things will be hard. This point is where legends are formed as many people quit at this point, thus increasing the value of the particular skill. Once you pass this dip, things will work in your favour since you are eccentially the best. Not top 5%-Top 5! After all, in a world that values capitalism, it’s practically winner takes all-that’s why Google Search is miles ahead of Bing and Yahoo. If you can’t be on top, you might as well quit.
Also, on the topic of quitting, winners do quit, they just know when. In addition to The Dip, there are two other distinct points to look out for, the Cul De Sac and the Cliff. The Cul De Sac is a very shallow curve that doesn’t really go anywhere. This occurs when people feel productive, yet nothing is actually happening. If one hits this point, it’s best they quit since they wont get far. As for the cliff, this is when one pursues a high only to fall sharply into as the line gets shallower. Basically, if you’re on a cliff or in the Col De Sac, you aren’t being challenged.
So why does this matter? According to Seth, if The Dip wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be special since everyone would be able to do it. It is in this Dip, one becomes more tenacious as they gain a better understanding of their work. Also, this Dip becomes much harder as people join it, since those who have graduated past the Dip can make it difficult for new members to cross over into the Dip.
All said and done, this book is a fantastic short read. It highlights the importance of sticking through the period in which concepts become incredibly difficult. Once you get out of it, you are among the best! Also, it is important to be humble (understand your limitations) and quit when you are making no progress. While this book isn’t quite data driven, it does a really good job at inspiring me to keep pushing through my classes and develop my programming skills.
To end with, here iss a video by xdadevelopers who explain the concept of The Dip Much better than I have. They also held an interview with Chris Haseman, former Director of Engineering at Tumblr and current Senior Engineering Manager at Uber.
Thanks for reading guys! Next week, I will be out at Uncommon Hacks so I might write about that. In the mean time, you can read about My First Hackathon.