The Dip – Seth Godin

I just finished reading “The Dip” by Seth Godin.

It’s about deciding what to work on and what to skip. Godin’s litmus test for whether to bother doing something is “Are you willing and able to do the work to be the best in the world?”.

I get it. Organizations should get out of markets where they cannot be world class in order to reallocate resources to areas where they can. In business, and maybe in a career, it works.


When you apply it to your personal life; to dreams, ambitions, and possibilities, it becomes terrible advice. The “best in the world or don’t even try” attitude is a dangerously false dichotomy when applied to living and loving your life.

Imagine if you will…

I’d like speak French, but since I’ll never speak as well as a native born diplomat I’ll just watch TV instead.
I’d like to snowboard, but Shawn White seems to have cornered the market so I’ll just hang at the lodge and drink.
I think it would be fun to play bassoon in my local orchestra, but since I’ll never make it to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra I won’t even try.

…or things that can’t be quantified…

Who is the “best” traveler?
Who appreciates art the most?
Who is healthiest?

If a thing is worth doing it’s worth doing terribly.

I wonder if Mr. Godin has hobbies?
Where is he in the dip?

Does it really matter?




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