Book Review: The Dip

While on a recent trip to Madison, Wisconsin, I picked up the book The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)* by Seth Godin. This book has been referenced countless occasions on a number of podcasts I listen to. So I was very pleased while browsing through a used bookstore to find this book. I just finished reading it. While I believe the message is really important, I was underwhelmed by the book itself.

I am on board with a lot Seth Godin has to say and I also found this message to be important; however, I believed that the book, although was only 76 pages, went on probably 60 pages too long.

Godin talked about the idea of quitting—the idea of quitting as a tactic and the idea of quitting as a strategy. One is more acceptable than the other. For example, if you’re going through hard times, you’re feeling uncomfortable, whatever you’re doing is causing you frustration then quitting just to relieve the discomfort is not necessarily the best thing to do because the reward of what you’re doing is greater. However, you can quit if the result is just not going to be there in the end. This book is advocating that quitting can be a good strategy, if applied correctly but not necessarily a good tactic, if applied incorrectly. It is about knowing the difference.

Godin introduced this idea called the dip. The dip is this point in your progression where you’re working tremendously hard, the results are slow to appear, and you are simply grinding away to get to the final reward. A lot of people quit prematurely in the dip. In The Dip, he provided a number of examples to illustrate his points. One example could be the idea of learning to play music. Say that you want to be a musician and you look to someone like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, or George Harrison. You think you will be able to play like these musicians very quickly, what you don’t realize is all the work that goes into their success. All that work is where the dip is. You have to slog through regular and constant practice in order to be exceptional. A lot of people will not be exceptional because they quit in the dip.

As I look at my own life, I see a number of opportunities where I have quit in the dip. I failed to achieve success in a variety of activities because I just did not put the work in. I’m looking at current opportunities such as my side hustle and I realize all the work that has to go into it even to get a glimpse of being successful. I realize that I am at a point that I could easily quit and nothing comes of it or I can press on to achieve my goals. I see glimmers of success but I still have a lot of work to do—I’m in the dip.

In regards to The Dip, I think it’s a good book. I think there’s an important lesson here but I believe it could have been written in a more straightforward manner. Having read a number of  Seth Godin’s books, I realize that’s just how he writes. Would I recommend The Dip? I would say, yes. If you are working hard at something with a goal in mind and are thinking about quitting then I would recommend reading The Dip because you may be quitting too soon.


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