The Dip – Seth Godin

the dip book cover

Subtitle: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

The Dip, by Seth Godin, is a book that talks about how to know when you should fight through the rough times (dips) that happen with any big project or idea, and how to know when it’s just not working and you should quit. He tackles the famous quote from Vince Lombardi that “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” Winners do in fact quit a lot, they just know what things to quit so they can focus on the things that are successful. This is a short book that is very practical and applicable to people in many careers.


How to be the best in the world – “Best” and “World” are relatively speaking, of course. The goal is to find what you can really be the best at in your pocket of the world. Find your niche and passion and develop your skills around that.

Expecting and planning for the dip – Any big project or idea will go through certain stages as it develops. There is the initial excitement and optimism that accompanies something new, but there will almost always be a rough patch (dip) that is coming. If you’re aware of this, you can plan for it so it doesn’t catch you off guard. The visuals in the book are handy at showing how this process generally plays out.

Knowing when to cut your losses – Sometimes the dip is more of a dead-end, but that can be hard to see and even harder to admit. Sunk costs can drastically influence your decision making in this area, so it helps to have some perspective when evaluating if this is a dip that you can (and should) fight through, or not.


I read a lot of books, but I don’t own very many as there are few books that I care to read more than once. I own this book and try to revisit it every year or so, at least in part. There is a lot of practical wisdom in these pages that I have been able to put into practice. I strongly recommend checking this one out. Seth Godin is a great thinker and author. If you find this book enjoyable, you should check out his daily blog.

You can find the Wiki article for the book here. If you want to learn more about the author, here’s a link to Seth Godin’s website. On his site, you can find links to buy books, listen to his podcast (which I recommend), and other stuff.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

book cover introverts quiet

This book isn’t just for introverts, it’s for extroverts too!

If you’ve ever felt pressure to live up to the Extrovert Ideal that our society seems to idolize, if you loathe small talk, if the thought of an hours-long cocktail party makes you cringe, you’re not alone. In this book, Susan Cain offers insights, data, case studies, and tons of practical advice for introverts and the extroverts who live and work with them.

I have a strong desire to share lots of quotes from the book right now, but that wouldn’t be fair to the author. I’ll share a few things here, but also recommend you check the book out at your library or buy it. You can also follow the Quiet Revolution. Continue reading “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain”

An Oasis in Time: How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life – Marilyn Paul

You need to make room for rest, reflection, and refreshing

Are you caught up in the tyranny of busyness? It seems like everything you see on social media is the worship of hustle, grit, and working as much as possible. Americans, in general, are overworked, don’t sleep enough, and are stressed out of their minds. This has far reaching impacts on our health. Can you relate? If so, this book might change your life.

In the first half of the book, Dr Marilyn Paul does a great job of explaining why we humans need time for rest, reflection, and refreshing – for our bodies as well as our souls. She does an excellent job in going through the statistics of how detrimental stress is to our minds and bodies and why we need time away from the rat race of productivity. The practice of Sabbath rest is Jewish in origin, but the concepts are applicable to everyone, regardless of faith.

Not just theory, practical wisdom as well

There is also a lot of practical wisdom in this book for people who want to try this, but don’t know where to start. Many people dismiss the idea because they think it has to be one extreme or the other. Dr Paul lists many ways that you can get started on a small basis. Whatever you decide to do, I think you’ll benefit from the many insights in this.


I loved this book and really benefitted from it. Find out more about Dr Marilyn Paul on her website. You can this book on Amazon here.

Here’s a video interview on YouTube where the author explains why she wrote the book and what you can learn from it.

Creative Change: Why We Resist It… How We Can Embrace It – Jennifer Mueller

“The sad irony is that we are more likely to reject an idea because it is creative than to embrace it.”

There are countless books about creativity and how to improve creativity in your personal and professional life. Some are good, some are full of fluff, and most are very repetitive. This book is different. Jennifer Mueller looks at the problem not from a lack of creative ideas standpoint, but why so many people are resistant to creative ideas – and especially creative change. Before I share some quotes and themes, it’s important to understand the terminology she uses.

The How/Best Mindset

Evaluators and decision-makers who use this mindset are focused on knowing the most feasible and appropriate option now. They are very intolerant of uncertainty and seek to reduce risk at all costs. Here are some of the common things you’ll notice from how/best mindset:

  • Evaluating the solution is more important than solving the problem
  • Relies heavily on data to combat uncertainty
  • Focuses on weaknesses and unknowns
  • Uses “what if” method of rejection – can continuously come up with “what if” scenarios as reasons to reject an idea, even in spite of objective data
  • Can overvalue practical ideas and undervalue future potential
  • Best suited when there is one correct answer or formula for problem-solving

The Why/Potential Mindset

Evaluators who use this mindset focus on learning the future value of something. They are much more tolerant of uncertainty and realize that you can’t accurately predict how successful a creative idea will be. The following are some examples of the why/potential mindset:

  • Focuses more on problem-solving than problem finding
  • Embraces the idea that creative ideas evolve over time
  • Understands that creative ideas can’t be evaluated by existing paradigms
  • Think like an inventor
  • Can overvalue future potential at the expense of the practical

Quotes, Topics, Themes

Creative ideas are risky because they are full of unknowns. Many of us are fearful of risk and change, even though we say we love innovation and creativity. It’s a tricky dance. It’s almost impossible to have a full analysis and data on a novel, creative idea that hasn’t been done before. There are too many unknowns, and that can be terrifying to people in a how/best mindset. So they settle for familiar, lesser ideas because they are easier to judge. Experts really struggle when evaluating creative ideas because they rely on familiar reference points. Creative ideas are often a poor fit with existing paradigms (that’s the nature of creative ideas/innovation) and are therefore rejected by experts. Obvious examples are Kodak being unable to see the value of digital technology (even though they invented it!), the music industry, the rise of social media, and telehealth. Experts and decision-makers have more to lose and less to gain be endorsing a creative idea. They tend to favor the familiar because it’s more comfortable and safer. You may think that you love and value creativity but actually be biased against it. This is because the bias is hidden/implicit. Research using an implicit attitude test (IAT) has proven this. Don’t believe me? Read this.

“Why are paradigm-shifting ideas throughout history consistently, and predictably, ridiculed and rejected? It’s because, as a culture and as individuals, we’re deeply biased against creativity. This creativity bias makes sense if we look at the way our brains are wired. By nature, human beings are highly risk averse. And when there is a motivation to reduce uncertainty, creativity biases are activated on both individual and institutional levels. Across the board, people (not to mention institutions and decision makers) deny creative ideas, even when they explicitly cite creativity as being among their goals or values.”

“The irony is that the person rejecting the idea does not reject it because he is smart. Rather, he rejects the idea because he does not understand how to evaluate it…” Contempt is a powerful marker of bias. Studies have revealed that showing contempt (like in the case of a critic/reviewer) makes us feel better about ourselves and look smarter to others. It’s a defense mechanism. “If you frame your role as an inventor who is leading the creative process, and not as a leader who seemingly already knows the answers, you will have a better shot at embracing the creative ideas you want and improving them in the process.” You can change your mindset and become more receptive to creative ideas. “Creative ideas redefine something, and we know that generating a creative idea requires you to think outside the box.” The problem is that the decision makers and manager don’t use this mindset to evaluate creative ideas. They don’t “see” the same connections. “Group polarization happens when people jockey for status and end up taking a more and more extreme position.” Group polarization leads to terrible decisions and very low creativity. The following are three questions that leaders can ask to disrupt conformity and polarization when groups get stuck. These questions also get people thinking and promote creativity.

  1. What problem are we trying to solve?
  2. Why does this solution have value?
  3. How can we make this solution work?

The big-picture, take-home message on creative change We want the world to be a predictable place where everything fits nicely into its box and there is no uncertainty. But people don’t work that way. Creative change is complicated and messy. It’s a process that you wrestle with and it helps to have people involved who understand this process. The more you understand your mindset and the mindset of people you work with, the better you’ll be at communicating your ideas and implementing creative change.

Final Thoughts

Sorry for the long review, but I just couldn’t bring myself to cut some of this stuff out. I strongly recommend this book whatever your role or job title. There is a lot of practical wisdom in these pages for managers, bosses, and even us creative types.

The Book of Forgiving – Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu

book cover forgiveness desmond tutu

The Book of Forgiving: The fourfold path for healing ourselves and our world

There are few people in the world that are more deserving of respect and appreciation than Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and Presidental Medal of Freedom recipient. This isn’t one of those books that are filled with cheesy cliches and fluffy stories, it is based on ancient wisdom and personal experience of living through the apartheid era in South Africa. Continue reading “The Book of Forgiving – Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu”