Book Review: The Dip

by Seth Godin
The Dip is a small book on a big subject. It zooms in on the question ‘Should I stay or should I go?’. The basic idea is that the way you become the best in the world is by quitting the stuff where you can’t be the best.

According to Godin, almost everything in life worth doing is controlled by “The Dip”, that is: you start on an endeavor, it gets harder and harder. That is when you need to push through in order to get out of The Dip.

In later books of Godin and Pressfield we can see a more accurate description of what it feels like when you experience and go through a dip: ‘Linchpin‘ by Seth Godin, and ‘The War of Art‘ or ‘Do the Work‘ by Stephen Pressfield. This book on the other hand is more about recognizing it and deciding if you want to go through with it or not.

The one thing that stands out for me in this book is the insight that you can consciously create the dip of your profession or your market by being the first to push through long enough to make a gap.

Scarcity is a keyword here because that is the result of the Dip: the fact that a lot of people give up in the middle of the Dip makes that those who push though really are the game-changers. In this case, the Dip becomes a  Valley of Death that makes it more difficult for competitors to catch up.

Zipfs’ law is another mechanic that is important to understand: winners win big because the market place loves winners.

As a result of scarcity and Zipfs law, it pays to push through – provided that you diagnosed the right dip an that you decided in advance about the quitting-criteria. Godin’s advice is simple: Quit or be exceptional.

Finally, there is also a striking lesson for start-ups: the market wants to see you persist and go through the Dip. According to Godin:

“The market demands a signal from you that you’re serious, powerful, accepted and safe.”

Here are my five favorite quotes of this small book:

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

“The time to switch jobs is before it feels comfortable. Go. Switch.”

“Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.”

“You should outline your quitting strategy before discomfort sets in.”

“We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit.”


1. image taken from Seth’s blog: )

2. all book links are Amazon Affiliate links. Just so you know.