The Dip: A Book Review

I’m sitting in an airport, waiting for a flight and I have just finished a skinny little book called The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin. It’s a quick read with a simple idea. The “dip” that Godin is talking about is that “long slog between starting and mastery”.


Almost anything in life that is worth doing is controlled by the dip. If there is a worthwhile reward at the finish line, the dip will precede it. The dip is the tough part, where resiliency comes into play and separates the winners from the herd. Godin uses the example of a CEO, who everyone thinks has it made, but who had to endure a twenty five year dip to get there. So while the book is essentially about sticking it out in order to reap rewards, Godin emphasizes there are times to quit:

Quit the wrong stuff.
Stick with the right stuff.
Have the guts to do one or the other.

The sentiment¬† here is similar to “go big or go home”;¬† if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Godin provides justification for being number one: when diagnosed with an illness we are not looking to get in with the fifth best surgeon, we want “the best”. When hiring for a new position no one sets out to hire the most mediocre candidate.¬† Those who succeed have persevered through a dip and proven themselves worthy.

This book is a quick read offering the benefit of some fresh ideas on dilemmas many of us will likely contend with when making decisions about where and how to spend our energy. Godin has even included a page at the back where you can list all the other people you think need to read the book so the book and it’s simple idea can be shared.

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