At some stage in everyone's career comes a desire to throw down tools and walk away, and plenty of motivational books say you should resist that temptation. Now, a new book says quitting can be a good strategy.
The central premise of The Dip -- A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit (Portfolio) is that in all walks of life -- work, leisure, relationships or business -- you will encounter what author Seth Godin calls a dip.
A dip is a common sinkhole that trips up so many people, he says. It is the long slog between starting and mastery. It is the difference between the beginner technique and the more useful expert approach in, say, skiing or fashion design.
Winners quit fast and quit often and only stick when they find the right dip to conquer, Godin says.
Most CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have been through a huge dip before getting to where they are today, says Godin. After all, if it weren't for the dip, there wouldn't be the scarcity that creates the value for which the CEO is paid.
Of course, most people do quit when faced with challenges or difficulties. The problem, Godin writes, is that they don't plan when to quit. If quitting was part of the strategy then individuals and companies would be more successful.
For example, a business moving into a new market should plan when to quit to ensure that it never settles for mediocrity.
Procter & Gamble (PG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) has killed hundreds of products to concentrate on successes, he notes. Starbucks Corp. (SBUX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) dropped its music CD-burning stations.
If The Dip sounds contrarian, that is something of a theme for Godin, who is the author of other books with counter-intuitive titles, like All Marketers Are Liars and Small Is the New Big.
Its anecdotal style, friendly charts and graphs will remind some readers of last year's popular business book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. Yet its philosophy is the opposite, because The Dip champions the champions while The Long Tail champions the little guy.
In Godin's view it's really only worthwhile being No. 1 in a market or at least having a real shot at being No. 1.
If you have a shot at being number one then it's worth leaning into the dip says Godin. He cites Microsoft Corp., which he says failed twice with Windows, four times with Word and three times with Excel but slogged through the difficult dip to success.
The Dip is a mere 80 pages long and is in a pocket-sized format reminiscent of Spencer Johnson's 96-page Who Moved My Cheese?, a motivational book on how to cope with change that has sold more than 21 million copies since 1998.
The last page of The Dip encourages the reader to write in the names of friends or co-workers who need to learn about quitting, a marketing ploy that may help it emulate the viral success of Who Moved My Cheese.