The Dip – A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)


“Absolutely delightful, combining his wise aphorisms and anecdotes with Hugh MacLeod’s darkly brilliant business-card cartoons.”—Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail

THINK Review

I feel like giving up.

Almost every day, in fact. Not all day, of course, but there are moments.

My bet is that you have those moments, too…

Most of the time, we deal with the obstacles by persevering. Sometimes we get discouraged and turn to inspirational writing, like stuff from Vince Lombardi: ‘Quitters never win and winners never quit.’ Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. THEY JUST QUIT THE RIGHT STUFF AT THE RIGHT TIME.

As a serial entrepreneur and digital visionary, Godin is a noted thought leader on post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, leadership and, most of all, change as a constant catalyst. And he will join us for THINK 19 in Miami. We will review a few of Godin’s best books and recommend the ones you shouldn’t miss.

Seth Godin’s book “The Dip” according to Seth is a book on quitting. Others say this is more a book on being the best at something rather than on quitting. It is an amazing book, very short and something every person motivated at being the best should read. This book is such a short read, most people can read the entire book in a weekend, even if you are a slow reader.

It is a fascinating book because Seth Godin is so unconventional, he debunks and challenges everything many of us have learned through several years of formal schooling.

The concepts in this book can really be boiled down to a few impactful points:

Everyone quits. That seems obvious, but it’s true – everyone quits things that they’re not good at. In parallel to that, quitting something you’re not good at means you have more time to work on the things that you are good at. The people that do the best are the ones that give up the most – they give up many, many things in order to hone in on that one thing.

It pays to be the best at something. Why do that? The person (or small group of people) who are tops in a field always take the biggest share of the spoils. They get the recognition, the income, and the opportunities with being at the pinnacle.

There are three stages along the way to mastering something. The first is the initial stage, where the learning is quite fun and enjoyable and you’re excited by learning new things. The third stage is mastery and continual growth, where you feel very confident in your skills. “The Dip” refers to the period between the two, which is often a slog filled with lots of practice and hard work, but no sense yet that you are mastering what it is you’re working on.

If something’s worth doing, it has a dip. Any skill worth learning, any job worth doing, any business worth running has a dip involved. That dip is what separates the wheat from the chaff. I know there have been times when writing The Simple Dollar that it’s felt like a giant slog, but I’m always glad I’ve persevered.

Don’t be afraid to quit. There are a lot of reasons why people don’t quit when they should. Pride is a big one. A rigid adherence to the “winners never quit” mentality is another one (it’s a good motto, but it doesn’t apply – you’re not a “winner” yet if you’re in the dip).

At the same time, don’t quit too easily. Many people are habitual “switchers” – they jump to something else when the road gets rough. If you do that, you’ll never really succeed at anything at all.

There is a beautiful quote in the book,

Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to stop and drop out. You don’t want to be out there saying, “well gee, my leg hurts, I am a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy. I’m tired, and it’s cold and windy”. And talk yourself into quitting. If you making a decision based on how you feel at that moment, you will probably make a wrong decision. – Dick Collins(Ultra marathoner)

Enjoy this delightful, short read.

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