Book Review: The Dip by Seth Godin


Ever feel like quitting or giving up? Perhaps a job, or a career, or a relationship seems too hard and walking away seems preferable? Been there. Done that. But how to quit and still be successful? Enter Seth Godin’s little book, The Dip.

A highly successful businessman, marketing guru, and blogger, Godin knows a thing or two about success. Personal success, financial success, and business success. Godin also knows a few things about failure and how to avoid the pitfalls.


His concise read The Dip ($12.95 at Amazon) is about knowing when to quit and when to stick with it. It sounds so simple. But it’s not. Reading the book caused me various levels of anxiety. I had to take a long walk by page 35. By the end of book, page 76, I had revisited every job, career, and relationship decision I’ve ever made. Should I have quit? Should I have stuck it out? What were my personal dips in life? Am I successful?

Throughout this tiny little book, Godin’s message is clear:

Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.

The trick to quitting is knowing the signs. It’s knowing when.

What’s “The Dip” anyways?

This is the dip.


The Dip is:

  • The point between starting something and excelling at it.
  • The low after the excitement, when something new wears off.
  • The realization that it takes time, effort, and skill to get better.
  • Mile 20 in a marathon, or mile 13 in an Ironman Triathlon.
  • The stretch from beginner to expert.
  • Years 2-3 in a four year degree.
  • The point where you dig deeper.
  • The place where many quit.
  • A pause point, a battle cry.
  • The dip is the work.

Before reaching the dreaded dip Godin wants us to examine if we should face the dip, or quit. He calls the no win, dead end situations in life “Cul-de-Sacs” and “Cliffs” of failure.

Should You Get Dipped?

Yes. You must get dipped. Seriously.

In all honestly, I didn’t expect a little 76-page book to blow my brain. These pages are not even full sized. Godin’s dip measures just 5X7. That’s a little package with a lot of brain blowing wallop. I got dipped at the library for free, but now I’ve ordered my own copy of The Dip through Amazon (12.95). Seriously, awesome book.


  1. The Happy Rock September 11, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Seth is the man. I love the way he breaks problems down. Almost all his stuff is so common sense, yet so counter culture. I haven’t read the dip, but every thing I read of his seems to be an ah ha moment.

  2. Kerry September 11, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    @Happy Rock Sooo true. I started using sticky notes to mark notable excerpts but the whole little book was covered in stickies when I was done. Everything was notable. Everything. My brain is still boggling after reading it. Soo many “gee whiz” moments for me.

  3. Francois Viljoen September 12, 2008 at 12:10 am

    You got me convinced. Next book I’m buying…

    I recon one of my biggest weaknesses is that I just don’t give up.

    Sometimes this is a strength, but other times I’ll keep working at things even when there’s no point!

  4. Rob Madrid September 12, 2008 at 3:15 am

    Excellent SHORT review, as Seth says himself in the book, most business books are too long and it is very difficult to write a short book.

    I agree, it is a very interesting book. My only minor complaint is that he tends to re-enforce the American idea that sucess is measured in outward material gain. I think that is more due to the fact it’s a short book than anything.

    I also now a few people who could benifit from this book, but they are unlikely to read it.

  5. guinness416 September 12, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Good review, fawx, I’m now third on the hold list at the library!

  6. bigasssuperstar September 12, 2008 at 9:09 am

    True, true. I’ve had that happen … at taekwondo, for example — rapid improvement, then you start to suck, then you get better. We were warned that it would happen. Seems counterintuitive, but if you can expect it, you can push through to excellence. Or at least competent mediocrity.

  7. Kerry September 12, 2008 at 9:28 am

    @Francois Viljoen Godin argues there is only one case when one should push past “the dip”…and that’s ONLY if you can be “the best in the world.” It’s a hard pill to swallow.

    @Rob Madrid LOL. Yeah, I had to write a short review. I was channeling my inner Seth. 🙂 I agree with you. Godin has little room for just pushing past the dip for sake of accomplishment. I may not be the best Ironman Triathlete in the world, but I did push past the dip to make it to the finishing line.

    @guinness416 Yay! I love the library. 🙂

    @bigasssuperstar Actually, Godin strongly argues against spending the time, resources, and money to push past the dip to reach mediocrity. He wants you to pick something you can be the best at, and then face the dip. But then Godin (in this book) isn’t speaking to those of us who seek pleasure is just accomplishing. This book is about not wasting time in the dip, since this is the point where most people quit. The point is to quit BEFORE you reach the dip (if you are average), and focus resources on tasks where you are exceptional. Again, a hard pill to swallow.

  8. bigasssuperstar September 14, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Interesting, and certainly applicable from time to time … but it doesn’t sit well with me as an overall plan for life … it smacks of “don’t play if you can’t win” … If I only work at things which I’m sure I’m going to master, it feels like I’d be cheating myself out of some good experiences.
    It reminds me of the 80/20 theory — that 20 per cent of the effort gets 80 per cent of the results .. 20 per cent of the staff does 80 per cent of the work … 20 per cent of your time gets 80 per cent of the job done. So concentrate on the stuff that gets the most results, and leave the other stuff to other people.

  9. Bill September 28, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Seth Godin is the man. Everything he writes is spot on! His blog is must-reading. It all resonates. Thanks for the great review.

  10. […] Squawk Fox reviewed The Dip by Seth Godin. […]

  11. Riscario Insider October 19, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Great book. Great review. Great comments.

    Anyone interested in another review based on the audiobook version can visit:

    Listening is easier than reading while driving 🙂

  12. […] Book Review: The Dip by Seth Godin » Squawkfox […]

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