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Summary: The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

“If You’re Not Going to Get to #1, You Might as Well Quit Now” – Seth Godin

There is a high opportunity cost of not investing your time and effort in becoming the best.

“We reward the product or the song or the organization or the employee that is number one. The rewards are heavily skewed, so much so that it’s typical for #1 to get ten times the benefit of #10, and a hundred times the benefit of #100. WHY? People don’t have a lot of time and don’t want to take a lot of risks. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer of the navel, you’re not going to mess around by going to a lot of doctors. You’re going to head straight for the “top guy,” the person who’s ranked the best in the world. Why screw around if you get only one chance?” – Seth Godin

Book Summary: The Dip - A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Being the BEST in the WORLD is more accessible than you think.

“Best as in: best for them (a customer or an employer), right now, based on what they believe and what they know. And in the world as in: their world, the world they have access to. So if I’m looking for a freelance copy editor, I want the best copy editor in English, who’s available, who can find a way to work with me at a price I can afford. That’s my best in the world. (And) the world is getting smaller because the categories are getting more specialized. I can now find the best gluten-free bialys available by overnight shipping. I can find the best clothing-optional resort in North America with six clicks of a mouse.” – Seth Godin

Now let’s say you quit most things and focus your time on becoming the best in a niche field or micro-market. At first it’s exciting: you’re getting lots of positive feedback and seeing results. But eventually your “beginner” technique stops generating results and you’re forced to endure the long slog of learning “expert” techniques. Your results DIP and the excitement wears off. At this point you want to quit and try something else.

“Quitting when you hit the Dip is a bad idea. If the journey you started was worth doing, then quitting when you hit the Dip just wastes the time you’ve already invested…The people who set out to make it through the Dip—the people who invest the time and the energy and the effort to power through the Dip—those are the ones who become the best in the world.” – Seth Godin

3 Ways to Get Through a Dip

ecide when you’ll quit, in advance

“Quitting when you’re panicked is dangerous and expensive. The best quitters are the ones who decide in advance when they’re going to quit.” – Seth Godin

Before entering a Dip, ask yourself: “How much time and money am I willing to sacrifice? How much short-term discomfort am I willing to endure?” Based on these limits, are you likely to get through the Dip? If yes, proceed and only quit if you’re pre-defined quitting limits have been exceeded OR something fundamental has changed.

nfluence a market

The odds of successfully influencing an individual (changing the mind of a manager or client) are quite low. After a few failed attempts at influencing an individual, persistence turns into pestering and the individual will resist all future influencing efforts.

However, the odds of successfully influencing a market are quite high. Although some people will ignore you (or even reject you), there are still people in the market who haven’t heard of you. You can you use your failed attempts to improve your solution and influence another area of the market.

lace your focus on (small) progress

“To succeed, to get to that light at the end of the tunnel, you’ve got to make some sort of forward progress, no matter how small…but it needs to be more than a mantra, more than just “surviving is succeeding.” The challenge, then, is to surface new milestones in areas where you have previously expected to find none.” – Seth Godin.



“The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)” is a thought-provoking book written by Seth Godin, a renowned author and entrepreneur. The book offers insightful guidance on how to make informed decisions about when to persist and when to quit, in various aspects of life. In this review, we’ll delve into the book’s key concepts, Godin’s engaging writing style, and the overall impact of the book on readers.

The book is divided into nine chapters, each exploring a different aspect or challenge of the dip. The first chapter introduces the concept of the dip and explains why it is important to recognize it and embrace it. The second chapter distinguishes between three types of curves: the dip (a temporary setback that leads to a breakthrough), the cul-de-sac (a dead end that leads nowhere), and the cliff (a dangerous situation that leads to a disaster). The third chapter advises how to quit strategically, by identifying and eliminating the cul-de-sacs and cliffs in your life. The fourth chapter advises how to stick wisely, by developing a clear vision, a realistic plan, and a strong commitment. The fifth chapter warns against the pitfalls of quitting too late or too often, such as wasting time, money, and energy on unworthy goals or projects. The sixth chapter warns against the pitfalls of sticking too long or too stubbornly, such as losing sight of your purpose, becoming complacent, or ignoring feedback. The seventh chapter explains how to measure your progress and performance in the dip, by using objective indicators, benchmarks, and feedback. The eighth chapter explains how to leverage your advantages and resources in the dip, by using scarcity, differentiation, and innovation. The ninth chapter summarizes the main points and lessons of the book and encourages the reader to take action.

Key Concepts:

  • The Dip: Godin introduces the concept of “the dip,” which refers to the inevitable valley that occurs during any challenging journey, be it in business, personal growth, or relationships. The dip is a crucial period that tests our resolve, commitment, and willingness to push through difficulties.
  • Quitting vs. Sticking: Godin emphasizes that quitting is not always a negative notion. Sometimes, it’s essential to quit the wrong things to focus on the right ones. The book teaches readers how to distinguish between “sticking” (persevering through the dip) and “quitting” (leaving a doomed project or situation).
  • The Cul-de-Sac and the Cliff: Godin identifies two types of dead ends: the cul-de-sac and the cliff. The cul-de-sac represents a situation where we’re stuck and going in circles, while the cliff symbolizes a risky and potentially dangerous path. Godin encourages readers to recognize these situations and make informed decisions about whether to stick or quit.
  • The Law of the Dip: Godin asserts that every project or pursuit follows a bell-shaped curve, where there’s a significant dip before reaching success. Understanding this concept helps readers prepare for the inevitable challenges and make informed decisions about when to persist and when to quit.
  • Quitting as a Strategic Decision: Godin challenges the reader to reframe quitting as a strategic decision rather than an admission of failure. He argues that quitting the wrong things allows us to focus on the right opportunities and allocate our resources more effectively.
  • The Power of Focus: Throughout the book, Godin highlights the importance of focus. He emphasizes that by quitting the wrong things, we can redirect our energy and attention to the projects and pursuits that truly matter.
  • Overcoming the Fear of Quitting: Godin acknowledges the fear associated with quitting, but he encourages readers to embrace the uncertainty and take calculated risks. He reminds us that growth and success often require us to step out of our comfort zones.
  • The Role of Feedback: Godin stresses the significance of feedback in making informed decisions about when to stick and when to quit. He encourages readers to seek constructive feedback and use it to adjust their strategies accordingly.

Writing Style:

Seth Godin’s writing style is engaging, straightforward, and easy to follow. He uses relatable examples and anecdotes to illustrate his points, making the book accessible to a wide range of readers. Godin’s conversational tone and witty humor make the book an enjoyable read, even for those who typically struggle with self-help or business-oriented literature.


“The Dip” challenges readers to reassess their approach to quitting and sticking. The book inspires readers to be more strategic in their decision-making and to focus on the projects and pursuits that truly matter. By adopting Godin’s principles, readers can:

  • Develop the courage to quit the wrong things and focus on the right opportunities.
  • Overcome the fear of quitting and embrace calculated risks.
  • Recognize the dip and push through the challenging periods.
  • Make informed decisions about when to stick and when to quit, based on constructive feedback and a clear understanding of their goals.


  • Practical advice: “The Dip” offers practical and actionable advice that readers can apply to various aspects of their lives, from personal goals to professional endeavors.
  • Insightful insights: Godin’s observations and anecdotes provide valuable insights into the nature of success, failure, and personal growth.
  • Accessible language: The book’s language is clear and concise, making it accessible to readers who may not be familiar with Godin’s previous work or marketing terminology.
  • Useful frameworks: The book presents several frameworks and tools that readers can use to evaluate their situation and make informed decisions.


  • Limited scope: While the book offers valuable insights into the nature of success and failure, it may not provide as comprehensive a guide to personal growth or professional development as other books in these categories.
  • Lack of concrete examples: While Godin provides some examples to illustrate his points, the book could benefit from more concrete case studies or real-world examples to make the principles more tangible and relatable.
  • Not always practical: Some of the advice in the book may not be practical or relevant to every situation, and readers may need to exercise judgment and discernment when applying the principles.


“The Dip” by Seth Godin is a thought-provoking and insightful book that offers practical advice on when to quit and when to persevere. The book’s key concepts, such as The Dip, The Five Questions, and the Art of Quitting, provide valuable frameworks for evaluating situations and making informed decisions. While the book has some limitations, its strengths make it a worthwhile read for anyone looking to improve their decision-making skills and achieve greater success and fulfillment in their personal and professional lives.

Here are some additional thoughts on the book:

  • I found the concept of the dip to be very helpful. It helped me to understand why I had quit certain projects in the past, and it gave me the courage to keep going when I was facing a difficult challenge.
  • I also appreciated Godin’s advice on how to identify the dip and how to overcome it. His advice is practical and easy to follow.
  • Overall, I thought The Dip was a great book. It is a must-read for anyone who is looking to achieve their goals.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a practical and insightful guide to achieving their goals. The book provides valuable advice on how to recognize and navigate the dip, and challenges readers to rethink their assumptions about success and failure. However, if you are looking for a book that delves deeper into the subject matter or provides more detailed analysis, you may want to look elsewhere.

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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