Steve Pollack Book Review | the dip by Seth Godin

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the dip by seth godin

“Quitting is not the same as failing” -Seth Godin

the dip by seth godin

The premise of this excellent book by author and entrepreneur Seth Godin, is that with any important endeavor you are attempting, at some point things are going to become so challenging you will ultimately face the decision to stick it out or quit. That critical point of decision is what the title "the dip” describes.


Most of us have heard the famous Vince Lombardi quote, "Quitters never win and winners never quit.” Coming from a football coach to his players before a game, that statement makes sense.

The truth is, there are myriad instances in life where winners do quit—but there must be a careful strategy around the decision to quit. Are you strategically quitting or are you reactively quitting? The answer to that question will determine whether you will be successfully quitting.

"Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most. Extraordinary benefits also accrue to the tiny majority with the guts to quit early and refocus their efforts on something new." -Seth Godin, the dip

Godin describes that critical point of deciding to quit or stick it out in terms of three metaphorical "curves."

Curve 1: The Dip

Godin asserts that most things in life worth doing will be controlled by the dip. At the beginning, the endeavor (start-up, position, relationship, etc.) is fun and exciting. Over the next few days and weeks, the rapid learning you experience keeps you going. That's when the Dip happens. The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery.

Note: Successful people don’t just ride out the Dip. They don’t just buckle down and survive it. No, they lean into the Dip. They push harder, changing the rules as they go.

Curve 2: The Cul de sac

This curve is a situation where you work and you work and you work and nothing much changes. It doesn’t get a lot better, it doesn’t get a lot worse. It just is what it is. That’s why they call those kinds of jobs where there is no change to look forward to dead-end jobs. Godin suggests when you find yourself on the culdesac, you need to get off of it, fast.

Curve 3: The Cliff

The Cliff is what Godin describes as an extremely rare situation where you can’t quit until you fall off, or the whole thing falls apart.

Godin contends that the cul de sac and the cliff are curves that lead to failure, and although there are sometimes opportunities to turn these types of curves into dips, the greatest obstacle most people will face in life is not having the awareness or the will to quit these curves soon enough.

It is in the dip, where winners are made. You will get everything you deserve when you recognize the reason you are in this curve, and if you treat it like the opportunity it is, you will not only survive it, you will find it to be the foundation of your ultimate success.

Godin insists, "If you are not able to get through the dip in an exceptional way, you must quit. And quit right now.

He then offers and spends ample time exploring three important questions you should ask yourself before quitting:

  1. Am I panicking?
  2. Who am I trying to influence?
  3. What measurable progress am I making?

The dip is a must-read for every entrepreneur who is looking to develop the foresight needed to stay calm and strategic during challenging situations. But, the insights provided by Godin are useful for all people who are faced with a critical decision to stay or quit.

Steve Pollack

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